Nature, first and foremost!

Since 2003, the abandoned school of Vlahi, a small Bulgarian village, is living again thanks to the action of the Nature School Foundation. A restoration in the very heart of the wild!

Environment and Biodiversity

Vlahi, Bulgaria

Stefka Chaoul

€10,000 to the Selection Committee at 2011/06/28

Project leader

Nature School Foundation

"This project is inspired by the great idea that teaching 7 to 16 year old children to live in harmony with nature while conserving its resources will help them become conscious and responsible adults with regard to the sustainable development of the planet."

Stefka Chaoul

Vlahi, a village in southwestern Bulgaria, 160 km from Sofia, enjoys a privileged geographic situation.Vlahi stands at the foot of the Pirin national park, which is included in the UNESCO world heritage, and not far from the Tisata natural reserve, a mecca of biodiversity, where rare and endemic habitats and species specific to the Mediterranean climate are protected.So the Nature School FoundationBulgaria, a foundation that fosters nature conservation, quite naturally decided to install a Nature School in the old abandoned school premises.

Between 2003 and 2010, the school buildings were refurbished by 200 volunteers from across the world, using traditional techniques and natural materials (wood, stone and chalk).A large scale project including the restoration of the first and second floors of the school, the roof, as well as the installation of a photovoltaic facility and solar panels for the lighting and hot water needs, a system for rainwater recovery and drip irrigation of the garden, the installation of waterless toilets, composting points and various other environment-friendly processes that could be used in everyday life.

Traditional techniques and natural materials

The Nature School Foundation now wants to switch its educational programs to energy efficiency.This means designing the heating and thermal insulation of the building (roof, walls, windows) where the biomass heating plant will be installed.Educational and even practical activities will also be proposed to the children of the neighboring schools, to the local population, and to tourists.The installation of a ceiling, the insulation of the roof, will also be included in the topics of the various workshops.

The Design and Projects Department of Dalkia Bulgaria is contributing to the project by conducting a feasibility study of the biomass heating plant, and the local teams have pledged to supervise the worksite and to assist the installation of the plant, and even to supply the boiler and its accessories.

The Veolia Environment Foundation is participating in this splendid energy education project.