Postbank and Mastercard® successfully implemented the second phase of the socially responsible initiative Green Classroom on the territory of Vitosha Nature Park. As a result, a connecting educational walkway was built between the innovative amphitheatre, located in the area of the Bear Museum and the Arboretum area to allow tourists to move safely between the two sites without using the main thoroughfare. The walkway is part of a joint project between the two companies in partnership with the Vitosha Nature Park Directorate, and was launched in the summer of 2021 with the establishment of a creative outdoor learning, play and entertainment space for visitors of the mountain.
Nearly 100 employees from both companies, together with representatives of the Vitosha Nature Park Directorate, participated in the finishing works of the project. Special guests were again Radina Kardzhilova and Deyan Donkov, who were also involved in the first phase of the project in 2021. The volunteers placed signs along the connecting path to orient visitors to the mountain, varnished and finished educational boards with interesting information about tree species that can be found in the Arboretum area and the birds of Vitosha, varnished several Vitoshki-type of tables, a gazebo and an existing bridge in the area. A completely new recreation area is located along the pathway, including several benches, a table with a built-in board game and an interactive board with movable elements for the youngest visitors of the mountain, who will have the opportunity to learn interesting information about the animals depicted on it by arranging them correctly. Volunteers helped to varnish and paint the newly created children's facility with an art installation of a nest, as well as to refresh a second children's playground in the area, which also included a large wooden puzzle. The participants had the opportunity to take part in the completion of a special Library in the Mountain, which was installed in the creative corner of the amphitheatre stage, and to bring their own book to leave it there. The employees and their children took part in a number of additional activities – a bird houses making workshop, which they then installed along the Alley, expanded their green knowledge by participating in an "Ecology Minute“ by ASRDI (Association for Social Responsibility and Development through Innovation), and an impressive moment for all was the educational talk given by "Green Balkans“. The experts introduced the attendees to the topics of nature pollution and how it affects wildlife, gave valuable advice on what each of us can do for the benefit of nature, the children had the opportunity to see live and take pictures with real birds, and the culmination of their presentation was the release of two birds of the buzzard kind.
Many children took part in the green adventure and had a rich entertainment programme with games and walks along the Arboretum's alleys. At the end, young and grown-ups relaxed with a music workshop with group drumming and specific percussion instruments. Using the power of rhythm and focusing the group's vibe through non-verbal communication techniques, the participants had the opportunity to build on their relationships by feeling the energy of a more confident and cohesive team.
"The second edition of "Green Classroom“ is a continuation and proof of our aspiration to be among the most active corporate citizens in the country and to continuously give knowledge, work and efforts to the environment that surrounds us. At our bank, we are united in causes that leave a positive impact in the natural environment and add value in nurturing a greener self-awareness, respect and team spirit. They are part of our active ESG strategy and corporate social responsibility policy. We are delighted that our joint project with Mastercard® and the Directorate of Vitosha Nature Park has once again brought us together in a favourite place – the mountains, and helped us make the space even more attractive for its future visitors,“ Postbank commented.
"Green Classroom“ is a significant project for Mastercard® and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be part of its implementation. The company is strongly committed to its ESG policies and we have all prioritized the opportunity to blaze green trails on the path to a sustainable future. We will continue to do this through meaningful causes and initiatives, such as "Green Classroom“, because we believe that they have a tangible impact on people's quality of life,“ said Vanya Manova, Country Manager of Mastercard® for Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo.
"We are happy that big companies with active corporate social responsibility policies such as Postbank and Mastercard® support us every year to improve the mountain and build creative spaces to educate the youngest visitors to the mountain. What we are seeing with our team at the Park Directorate is very positive – more and more businesses and companies are engaging in green initiatives that actively involve their employees. We thank all the volunteers and look forward to seeing them charged with good emotions for our next joint project“, added Dr. Eng. Anna Petrakieva, Director of Vitosha Nature Park.
The Green Classroom project is part of the active social responsibility policy of Postbank. It builds on the series of green projects that the financial institution has been implementing together with Vitosha Nature Park Directorate over the last few years, as part of the internal programme "Green Together with Postbank“. Building a green consciousness is part of the bank's corporate policy and the aim of these projects is not only to improve the environment, but also to motivate as many people as possible to take conscious action to protect nature. During the first edition of the initiative, a creative amphitheatre area was created that welcomes visitors to the mountain of all ages, provides rich opportunities for learning, games and fun, and educates respect for the animal and plant species found on Vitosha thanks to alternative approaches of learning through experiencing nature.
More information about the Green Classroom initiative can be found here, as well as additional photos of the event.