On the 25th September I participated to the ‘Notte dei Ricercatori’ (The European Researchers’ Night) at the Porto Antico area (the old harbour) in Genoa, with many other researchers from the University of Genoa. I organised a laboratory for children in collaboration with Claudia Parola (TerraMare) and another one for families with Andrea De Caro (Giovani Urbanisti- Fondazione Labò).
It all started at 5.00 pm and it finished around midnight (a long day!). I was at the stand with Claudia with fresh plants from the rocks around the Lighthouse with botanical books and keys to identify them and papers, glue and pencils to make herbarium’s sheets. The laboratory was open to children (the average age was 3-12 years old), I did a poster with some information about John Ray and Francis Willughby, their European travel and the plants collected around the Lighthouse. At the end I put three vedute of the St. Benigno promontory to see the landscape changes through time.
A first interesting point is that almost all the visitors never went to the Lighthouse, the iconic symbol of the city of Genoa so they were glad to hear that around 6.30 there would have been a tour around it with me and Andrea De Caro.
I noticed a lack of botanical knowledge in the majority of the children but they were all really keen in making the herbarium and touching all the plants we had (the little ones were of course more interested in the colourful ones like Valeriana officinalis L.).
At 6.30 I headed to the Lighthouse with a small group of families and Andrea De Caro: he gave a tour of the history of the Pharos itself, whilst I linked the laboratory the children just attended to the actual landscape where those plants were collected and where some still live today. There were some interesting questions, both from the parents and the children, then I went back to the children laboratory at the Porto Antico area, where I left Claudia on her own for a while (when I arrived it was full of children so still a lot to do!).
At the end of the day the table looked like a battle field but we were so happy about the activity! Andrea joined us to help putting all the materials away and we all agreed we have to repeat this laboratory at the Lighthouse!