7.5 Preservation and education at Mineração Serra Grande
Mineração Serra Grande's Ecology Preservation Centre is an important link between the company and the community. Set within the more than 5,000 hectares of native woodland neighbouring its metallurgical plant near the town of Crixás, in the State of Goiás, in Brazil, the centre conserves both indigenous fauna and flora species, and promotes and provides environmental education.
Both adults and children drawn from the company, private and public schools and the local community are able to experience the company's Environmental Education Programme, with more than 1,400 people having visited during 2004. The programme incorporates guest lectures by environmental specialists, theatrical group presentations and the distribution of textbooks. Besides watching educational videos and visiting plant nurseries, visitors can learn how to grow indigenous plant species and learn about the conservation of animal and bird life.
It is the only environmental centre in the region certified by the Environmental Federal Regulator Agency
- IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources) for raising birds native to Brazilian fauna. An on-site veterinarian is responsible for caring for the birds housed in seven aviaries, and which include among them toucans, macaws of several different plumages and parakeets. The centre also has a plant nursery, a feeding place for wildlife and an exhibition hall for sculptures made from recycled materials.
The plant nursery has produced more than 35,000 indigenous plants within 10 years for rehabilitating land disturbed by company operations and as donations to the local community. Amongst the specimens grown are rare trees such as
jatobá, purple and yellow ipê, sete copas, acacia, sibipuruna, jambo and pau pombo, besides many other different species. Natural fertiliser, such as humus and manure, is also produced on site.
More projects are planned for the future. Among them is increasing the number of wild fauna species at the centre, and the development of new environmental education activities.
The Crixás local authorities frequently request that seedlings be donated for use in the local township. During the Environmental Week celebrations, which took place in June 2004, the company donated and planted (with the help of local schoolchildren) about 300 seedlings within the local community.
Celebrating Tree Day
National Tree Day - celebrated in Brazil on 21 September 2004, was a highlight of the annual events calendar for the Serra Grande Environmental Preservation Centre.
"We invited 45 4th year pupils from nine local private and public schools within Crixás to form the Tree of Unity," says Luiz Bento, a Safety Technician at Serra Grande, and a member of the Motivation Committee, the group responsible for organising the event. (The Motivation Committee is a voluntary group of employees who organise events and activities to promote safety and environmental awareness both amongst employees and in the community.)
"The Tree of Unity was selected as an icon to represent the day as it symbolises that each individual must play a part in preserving the environment. Each school had to compile information on a native tree species found in the Crixás region. The results were presented on Tree Day. Each company department sent two or three representatives to the event."
The work done by the youths has become a textbook with information on ipê, tamboril, jatobá, angá, angico, jang-ada, jequitibá, manguba and flamboyant.