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Project Description:

Sicily holds huge potential for rewilding actions. However, two essential factors are lacking: (1) a qualitative, up-to-date, open-access database for wildlife populations and (2) a ‘pro-rewilding’ culture practised by the public, researchers and decision-makers supporting rewilding in the long term.

Project Type: Kick Starter
Theme: Healthy Planet, Biodiversity
Mentor: Bruna Gumiero

Sicily’s Indigenous CyberTrackers

How to understand well the composition of the territory and its potential in terms of preservation, natural development and rewilding?

From this question and the desire to answer it, the Indigenous Cyber Tracker project of Sicily was born. The idea was to bring together all those who inhabit, work on, and live in the green territory with passion. From June to December 2023, a group consisting of the project team, trainers, and, most importantly, shepherds, hunters, and foresters collaborated to map the territory using the open-source Cyber Tracker technology. They formed a network of dialogue and reflections during this period.

Land mapping, as well as reflections on land management and future prospects, was grounded in the analysis of three factors: wildlife, wildfires, and human land use. These constituted the three pillars of the focus group, conducted at the end of July. They were also the focal points of the project, particularly the training session held at the end of October at the San Felice Hermitage in the Palermo area. This training, organized by the Collective and facilitated by Toni Romani and Georg Messerer, was centered around the interpretation techniques of tracks and signs. It included challenges, games, and the application of the theory learned.

The training was the best way to actively engage the actors in the field (shepherds, hunters, farmers, foresters and nature guides) and to allow for an exchange as equals that found its culmination in a beautiful final dialogue about how we see our territory and how we would like to see it in the future.

At CSI’s inaugural national conference held in Pisa from November 24-26, the project was showcased through both oral presentations and a banquet display featuring the techniques employed during the training.

The project received considerable acclaim from both avenues, attributed to the original and innovative method employed in data collection. This method involved commencing with the issues identified and discussed in the focus group, subsequently progressing to engage higher administrative levels.

Indeed, the project will reach its temporary conclusion during the policy and advocacy workshop scheduled for December 4th at the Ecomuseo del Mare in Palermo. The workshop will adopt a round-table format to address the three themes. Its objective is to collaboratively outline future steps, involving invited participants such as NGOs, policymakers, our target groups, and experts. The aim is to engage the local government in jointly envisioning how to respond to the needs of the island’s extra-urban territories.

The impetus provided to CSIs was crucial in providing strength and acceleration to the team and the network of allies, facilitating the consolidation of the network and the advancement of the rewilding process in Sicily. Only by strengthening the connection with the territory and involving citizen scientists, specifically the experts on Sicilian green territory, can the vision of a wilder Sicily be realized.