Regional Secretariat for the Environment and Climate Change renews Furnas Environmental Interpretation Centre exhibition
Oct. 26, 2023
The Regional Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change, Alonso Miguel, presided over the official opening of the new exhibition at the Furnas Environmental Interpretation Centre.
According to Alonso Miguel, "a network of Environmental Centres has been set up in the Region over the years, spread across the nine islands, with the aim of promoting Environmental Interpretation and Education for Sustainable Development. It provides substantial information on the natural heritage that is part of the regional network of protected areas and on the environmental phenomena that shape our landscape."
"The environmental interpretation centres in the Azores, managed by the Regional Secretariat for the Environment and Climate Change, are a fundamental tool for ensuring the growing environmental literacy of our populations and those who visit us. They are also an excellent tourist asset, a differentiating element in a Region that is internationally recognised as a nature tourism destination and was the first archipelago in the world to be certified as a 'Sustainable Tourism Destination' by EarthCheck, according to the criteria of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council," he explained.
The Regional Secretary pointed out that most of the environmental interpretation centres in the Azores are located in classified and protected areas, extending far beyond the respective buildings. In fact, they cover considerable areas outdoors, with relevant natural and cultural interest, which offer unique experiences of being in close contact with nature and reflect the way people live on the islands.
"This is precisely the case of the Furnas Monitoring and Research Centre, which was created with the aim of disseminating the ecological recovery actions carried out within the scope of the Furnas Lake Hydrographic Basin Management Plan, namely with regard to the redevelopment of the shores and the intervention of the Landscape Laboratory in the protection and recovery of ecosystems within the Protected Landscape Area. It also aims to disseminate the history and evolution of the Furnas Volcano, an area of high scientific, educational, landscape and economic value, which is one of the main Geosites of the Azores UNESCO World Geopark," he said.
Alonso Miguel added that "it is absolutely essential to upgrade and improve the network of Environmental Centres that already exists in the Region, further enhancing and differentiating the Azores as a tourist destination by promoting its natural and cultural heritage."
"In this context, a project was developed to renew and diversify the permanent exhibitions at the Capelinhos Volcano Interpretation Centre and the Furnas Monitoring and Research Centre," he said.
Alonso Miguel defended that the growing demand for visits meant that the Furnas Monitoring and Research Centre has received more than 100 thousand visitors since its opening. This clearly justifies the improvement of the information contents provided, with the creation of a new exhibition room and a name change for the Centre.
"With this refurbishment, the Centre now has five rooms containing information on this protected area, namely on the history and evolution of the Furnas Volcano. It is focused on biodiversity, geodiversity and natural and cultural heritage, as well as on the formation of our islands, especially the island of São Miguel, and also on the Furnas Lake Hydrographic Basin Management Plan," he said.
According to the Regional Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change, "the interpretation of all this heritage is now possible using a wide range of new technologies available at the Centre, which modernise the exhibition and provide an easier understanding and interpretation of the natural and cultural values of this Protected Landscape Area."
The Regional Secretary noted that "this project reflects the commitment of the XIII Regional Government of the Azores to environmental education and the preservation and enhancement of our natural and cultural heritage." The refurbishment of the Furnas Environmental Interpretation Centre involved an investment of about 162 thousand Euros, financed by PO2020.