Coin Nature - Green space
How to get to Aula verde:
Trip time: 5 minutes
Leave your car at the field parking lot at the sports field and walk down the road alongside the football pitch, towards the tennis court. In front of the low reinforced cement building where you can see the Gran Fontana spring, continue to your right for a few minutes to the entrance to R.A.N.A (Rispetto Ambiente Naturale Antey), meaning “frog”, the acronym the children at the Antey-Saint-André school have adopted for their Coin-nature.
What is an “aula verde”?
It’s an open space, measuring a few hundred square metres, that hosts a wetland area (the habitat with the highest levels of biodiversity), either an existing one or one specially created, fairly close to at least one local school.
The area, complete with panels that identify and provide explanations about the plant and animal life, is open to young students, offering them the chance to learn to take care of a natural, vulnerable microcosm present in their own local area, through interactive environmental education lessons aimed at teaching them about the plants and animals characteristic of marshy areas.
Here, children can discover “magical” plants and animals capable of surprising changes and transformations (such as the shift from water to land), or which turn the food chain on its head (with carnivorous plants that eat animals). This provides them with new stimuli and the chance to discover rare, mysterious living creatures.
The first “Aula Verde” in Valle d’Aosta was set up in spring 2003 on the suggestion of the School Body “Comunità Montana Monte Cervino 2” e and with the support of the Department for Agriculture and Natural Resources and the municipalities of Antey-Saint-André and Valtournenche.
Filey di Antey-Saint-André was identified as the ideal location for a wetland area to be used by schools for study and research purposes.
A small watercourse, the Fontana Grossa brook, runs through the area, the natural and morphological elements of which remain practically intact. The Office for Flora, Fauna, Hunting and Fishing of the Department for Agriculture took care of setting up the space, transplanting the first aquatic plants, such as the thread-leaved water crowfoot, shining pondweed and yarrow, later adding bushes and other plants supplied by the Regional Nursery of Quart, suitable to renaturalise the large “cliff” that is a distinctive feature of a part of the Aula Verde area.
In 2004, the visitor route was completed with the installation of explanatory and photographic panels, and the “Coin Nature” was finally ready to welcome the users it was mainly intended for: children
Coin Nature allows visitors to observe the water spider that scientists call Gerris Lacustris, a small insect that runs on the water thanks to the microscopic waterproof hairs that cover its legs and stomach. They can also follow the evolution of tadpoles, baby frogs, who live initially underwater, breathing through gills like fish and, after metamorphosis, breath with the lungs their gills have turned into.
With plenty of patience and a little luck, you may also see rarer and shyer animals like the salamander or water snake.
Enjoy your visit!
Fax:+39 0166. 548554