More than 150 students from eleven schools of the Amalfi Coast participated this morning (May 31, 2012) at the first edition of the Francesca Mansi Award for the Environment dedicated to the young, 25-year-old woman who lost her life during the flood in Atrani on 9 September 2010.

At the auditorium of the Istituto Comprensivo of Maiori, the students presented their work to the public, focusing their attention on the hydro-geological instability and on the fragility of the territory declared as a world heritage, highlighting the continuous abandonment of the terraces.

The first edition of the Prize established by ACARBIO in collaboration with Italia Nostra and the municipality of Minori was, in addition to commemorate a young life taken away by the fury of a torrent, an occasion to talk about the condition of the Amalfi Coast, considered by the European Commission as one of the areas with the highest hydrogeological risk.

We have to make sure that our voices are heard by the institutions at different levels — said Andrea Reale, mayor of Minori, the city where Francesca lived — because we need the resources for the defense of the rocky cliffs that are a real danger for the inhabitants”.

There is a need for a greater attention from the municipal administration to avoid the risk that the Atrani flood becomes only an archived tragedy. In fact, Francesca’s father, Raffaele Mansi, also present at the event, pointed out with regret that “even a small sponsorship that would keep alive not only the memory, but also facilitate the intervention on the hydro-geological instability, was denied by administrations that do not engage in any initiative”. Those words seemed like an allegation to the authorities of Atrani and to other institutions which upon the heels of publicity had expressed good intentions that remained only on paper. However, Francesca’s father thanked the students for “the sensitivity and the affection that they have transmitted”.

The jury chaired by Michela Manzoni of Italia Nostra, Susy Camera d’Afflitto, the head of the delegation Fai Salerno, Giocchino Di Martino form WWF Amalfi Coast, Beatrice Benocci, a consultant of the Regional Park of Monti Lattari and a journalist Maria Rosaria Sannino selected three prizewinners.

The winner was the class IIC from the Staibano Secondary School of Maiori, with the following motivation: “The project composed of text and photographs and coherent power point presentation fits well with the proposed theme. The students show a vast understanding of the territory, in particular the theme of maceration and hydro-geological instability, of scientific experimentation and subsequent dissemination of the acquired themes“. The award will be a boat trip along the Amalfi Coast.

The second award went to the classes III B and IV A of the primary school in Praiano with the following motivation: “The knowledge of the proposed theme comes from the involvement of the whole community. Interviews, poems, memories, drawings and research make this project a small treasure box, a tool that allows returning to a discussion about the territory, its conservation and enhancement”.

The third prize was awarded ex aequo to classes IV and V of the primary school in Minori with the following motivation: “The project consists of a special number of the school newspaper and a good video. The students were asked to elaborate the knowledge acquired through two great tools of communication and information diffusion: written journalism and video. The result is extremely convincing.”; and the classes II A, III A, IV A, V A of the primary school in Cetara, with the following motivation: “The project from Cetara is built around the flood from 1910 and told by images and voice of the students of the primary school. The result is a collection of extraordinary thoughts and images, from which emerges the love for their land, the awareness of the dangers that it must face and the many responsibilities that fall to the people who live there.”

To appreciate the quality of the other works presented, special recognitions were given: “To the beautiful drawings of class I C and II C of the secondary school of the first degree in Scala; to the second poem of the III A and III B from the secondary school of the Istituto Comprensivo in Positano, and to the poem “Sadness” from the primary school of the Istituto Comprensivo in Tramonti.”

There was also a recognition to the wisdom of the last remaining peasants who care for the terraces of the Amalfi Coast: two special mentions to grandfather Giovanni” from Praiano and to Nicola Ruocco from Minori because “they care about our common good”.

It gives us the strength to continue along this path – said Raffaella Di Leo, president of Italia Nostra Campania section – the second edition will be strengthened and extended to the entire province“.  Susy Camera d’Afflitto, head of the Salerno delegation, Giocchino Di Martino from the WWF Amalfi Coast, and Beatrice Benocci, a consultant for the Monti Lattari Regional Park also took part in the ceremony.