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Promoting Environmental Conscientiousness and Sustainable Practices through Community Engagement during the DREFF

August 15, 2016

In an effort to promote sustainability and to engage Dominicans to take action, DREFF will put on several community activities during the week of the festival, from September 13th to the 18th. These activities will range from exploratory walks to workshops to social media competitions. DREFF aims to allow Dominicans to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of their homeland while simultaneously encouraging them to take a part in planning for its sustainability. In accordance with this year´s slogan “Yo soy sostenible”, these activities will emphasize the importance of taking an active role in conservation today to live sustainably in the future.

To start the week, Dominican kids from different schools will participate in a recycled art workshop taught by conservationist and environmental educator Kate Wallace in which they will learn how to make their own binoculars out of toilet paper rolls. The interactive workshop on recycling cardboard aims to raise awareness among children on the importance of managing waste and how they can make eco-friendly crafts. They’ll then put their binoculars to use on the birdwatching walk led by Wallace the next day at the National Botanical Gardens of Santo Domingo.

On this walk, Wallace will guide the kids in identifying the endemic birds that live on the island while also teaching them about the importance of preserving these animals’ natural habitat … and the importance of having some fun in the process! In the middle of a city with a metropolitan area of over two million people, the lush grounds of the National Botanic Gardens span 2 sq km and include vast areas devoted to aquatic plants, orchids, bromeliads, ferns, endemic plants, palm trees, a Japanese garden, and much more.

Another of the highlights of the week will be the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Whale Sanctuary Banco de la Plata and Banco de la Navidad. This is a protected area within the Dominican territorial waters that with Bahia de Samaná cover 33,000 sq km. It stands out for hosting each year the largest breeding of humpback whales in the North Atlantic and for being one of the first whale sanctuaries in the world, established with a Decree in 1986. DREFF will join the celebrations by organizing a daylong seminar with experts from the Dominican Republic and abroad. On Thursday, September 15th, there will be screenings of Jean Lemire’s movies and, to close the day, a special screening of the film Sonic Sea at Funglode’s headquarters.

To raise awareness on the importance of reducing pollution, DREFF will also join efforts with the Centro Cultural Perelló to clean up Las Dunas of Baní. By creating a decorative mural made of recycled materials collected during the cleanup, local students and volunteers will beautify the area and raise awareness about sustainable waste management practices. Driven by ReCreate program coordinator Bertha Santana’s motivation and creativity, participants will learn the importance of practicing the 3Rs of solid waste management: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

LandFill Harmonic in the New Community La Barquita
As part of an urban development and environmental rescue plan of Cuenca Ozama, the neighborhood La Javilla, in Santo Domingo North, recently inaugurated a new community, La Barquita), where thousands of families that lived in vulnerable conditions in the bed of the river have been relocated. This project includes sustainable practices in the community’s daily lives and has had a lot of support from the government, private sector and civil society. DREFF wants to celebrate this initiative with the support of our sponsor and friends from Centro Cuesta Nacional (CCN) – whose president Mr. José Miguel González Cuadra, was the Director of the Commission that lead the development of the project – will share the message of the film LandFill Harmonic with the members of the new community, helping this way in the process of creating a new, uplifting and positive mindset.

National Social Networking Competition “Yo soy sostenible”
Until August 25th, DREFF will be accepting submissions for the National Social Networking Competition “Yo soy sostenible”. Participants will share photos or 15-second videos of their favorite nature spot in the Dominican Republic on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and invite their followers/friends to meet there. The photos and videos must highlight an action promoting the environmental protection of the chosen spot (beach cleaning, recycling, etc.) with the hashtags #YoSoySostenible and #DREFF, and make reference to @MuestraCine and @DominicanaOnline. The winners will be announced during the festival.

About the DREFF:
Since its creation in 2011, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF)- an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode) – has been providing Dominicans with a platform of knowledge and debate on the environment and sustainable development, along with its challenges and best practices while celebrating the unique beauty and wealth that is the Dominican Republic’s natural heritage.

With a diverse selection of films and numerous panels, workshops, seminars, and community activities, the DREFF promotes dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and experience, inspiring Dominicans to adopt actions that contribute to the appreciation, conservation, and sustainable use of their environmental resources.

More information:

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DREFF’s Programs
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Since the inception of the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) in 2011, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) has created and developed 6 year-round programs that make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic.

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