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Knowledge generates awareness.

Everything started with this simple idea, and the desire to give something tangible back to the area hosting us – the Straits of Cocciglia – something that the location deserved and that generated a positive experience for visitors.

From this idea, the ECOlab project has gone beyond its original brief, becoming the not-for-profit arm of Canyon Park, enhancing the experience of the local area and promoting a greater appreciation of the values of mountain life.

The aim was to provide visitors with more in-depth information about the area mixing environmental awareness, technology and art in this open air location.

The Nature Trail in the Straits of Cocciglia

This was ECOlab’s first project.

The project exists both online and offline. Within the park, there are 6 information panels which provide visitors with details of 6 specific topics, revealing some of the magic of this special place.

Each panel has a web version with further information about its plant and animal life, history and geology.

The ECOlab information panels

The illustrations are original and hand-drawn by the artist and art director Alessandro Rabatti (the visual concepts of CamminoLento, ECOlab and Canyon Park were all conceived by him and his design company).

The trail features beautifully crafted panels made from chestnut wood, where history, illustrations and QR codes for further information are displayed. The aim of ECOlab is to educate visitors about environmental awareness, sustainable development and ecology using a multi-sensory, multimedia resource.

Alessandro Rabatti’s illustrations.

The chestnut wood panels and roofs were created by a local carpenter (and father of one of our staff members), Franco, affectionately known to us as the Michelangelo of the Garfagnana. He’s from Pieve di Fosciana, known locally as La Pieva.

One of the information panels – Geology of the Canyon

The project was conceived and coordinated by a visionary, educator and environmental expert, the architect Jacopo Bardi, with a team of scientific consultants including geologists, biologists and the precious contribution of the Bagni di Lucca section of the Lucca History Institute. ECOlab has received support from the Region of Tuscany and the municipality of Bagni di Lucca for its socially beneficial work. It is entirely funded by Canyon Park.

Activities at the park are also involved in the ECOlab project. The outdoor experiences are integrated with ECOlab, providing an excellent point of reference for outdoor educational activities for schools, accompanied by the park’s Nature Guides.

Participantsin SUP activities are provided with maps of the straits to identify the locations of natural spring water sources and links to underwater videos. The instructor in charge of the activity will provide further information and reveal some of the Canyon’s secrets.

The high wire route features panels with QR codes (visitors are provided with a pouch for cell phones) linking to interactive videos showing (for example) the river at its fullest, or award-winning underwater videos and photos of the canyon. Satisfy your curiosity: why is that tree bent over? Why is the water such a stunning blue colour?

Park maps
QR hotspots along the route

Completely new signage has been created across the park (we call it Wayfinding) for orientation and locating key points of reference.

Map of the park and various activities.

Nerdy technology

To make all this possible whilst adhering to the strict environmental guidelines we set ourselves, we consulted specialists in remote satellite connection technologies who work in cooperatives in Africa setting up latest generation PV panel installations. During the setup process we had more engineers onsite at the park than NASA…we miss their totally incomprehensible conversations!

A huge thanks to Mi.Ce Media, located in Brussels. 

As a result, at the park we have a server, energy and data traffic without having installed a single wire, tube or utility connecting us to civilisation. The only ‘bridge’ is the historic Ponte Nero – and that’s the way we like it. Technology can sometimes be part of the solution, rather than the problem.

We’re out in the wild, but we’re tech savvy too!

For further in-depth information on the various ECOlab topics:

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