Introducing… Greenrope, Italy

Tell us more about your SUPKids school…

We love to say that our SUPKids school is a dynamic SUPKids School. We are “nomads” because our activities are not based only in one place. GreenRope is an NGO that operates in the South of Italy since 2013 and since 2015 we realize awareness initiatives all round our coasts and we use PaddleSurf in order to share love for nature and increase awareness and knowledge among people and over all kids. That’s the meeting with SUPKids and we have decided to be part of this amazing network since the first day we met Linzi. Our main base is Bari but we operate in Lecce, Taranto & Policoro as well.

What does a typical day for you guys look like…

Our days are based on 2 important moments: water sessions in order to make kids enjoy and fall in love with the sea and a scientific moment where our biologists will play with the kids to share knowledge with them about biodiversity, conservation and preservation of Mother Nature. We do all these activities in collaboration with several SUP Schools and Conservation Centers, the main one with which we collaborate are: ASD Kite Surf Taranto, ASD Big Eye, Jonian Dolphin Conservation and WWF Policoro. With all of them, many activities will start in a few months and we can’t way to begin!

What’s your favourite non-SUP related activity in Bari?

Dolphin Watching, Caring about Sea Turtles’ nests, beach clean up. This is what our coordinator Stefano Bellomo does as a main activity of his life. As a marine biologist, he works studying and preserving cetaceans and sea turtles and the whole amount of GreenRope volunteers support these activities supporting the work of several rescue and research centers.

Do you have many problems regarding ocean plastics where you live?

Yeah, plastic is a huge problem here on our coasts. Taranto and Bari a lot, maybe Policoro a bit less. We find less amount of plastic over there but in Bari, in our last beach clean up, we have collected 27 kg of Plastic in 30 minutes. We need to change this, for real. Now.

Do you give back to your local community? If so, what do you do? 

We are a real grass-roots NGO and we operate among youngsters, involving them in our many activities due to our participation in the ERASMUS PLUS programme. Our youngsters travel abroad for educational projects and once they go back, they are really active and happy to operate together for our local community in several activities, related to nature and social issues. Our goal is to share our strong participation of youngsters and people with all the local small NGO that need help in their activities.

What are the typical animals that you come across in the ocean in Bari?

We don’t have an ocean in Bari but our humble Mediterranean Sea is among the richest spot on Earth for biodiversity. In Bari and Lecce we have the Adriatic sea and in Taranto and Policoro the Ionian Sea. 2 completely different seas and different biodiversities. What we love more are sea turtles and cetaceans. 3 species of sea turtles live here (Loggerhead, Green and Leather Back) and one of them, the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) makes nests as well during summer and we make monitoring activities in order to preserve their nests; 3 species of cetaceans live always in the Gulf Of Taranto (Ionian Sea): striped, bottlenose and risso’s dolphins but other species, like the sperm whale, have been spotted.

How good are Italy when it comes to recycling?

Being honest, not so much in the South of Italy but I want to be positive and I can tell you that several projects realized by the efforts of some municipalities are going to change the way we live recycling nowadays.

Any recommendations of where to go paddling if we were to come to Bari?

On the coast of Bari, I suggest you a visit in the caves of the amazing Polignano a Mare and along the coast of Taranto and Policoro, I suggest you to paddle at the sunset because you will enjoy the best sunset ever!

We know that you love the ocean and are super passionate about taking care of it, what types of activities do you get up to in order to keep your oceans clean and protected?

GreenRope runs several campaigns in order to preserve biodiversity and we implement as well several projects in order to increase awareness and knowledge among youngsters. Local initiatives are TURTLES GUARDIANS, the campaign that we realize in order to support the “PROGETTO TARTARUGHE” of the WWF in order to preserve nests of sea turtles and rescue injured animals. Stefano, coordinator and founder of GreenRope is one of the marine biologists of the Jonian Dolphin Conservation and he studies these amazing animals in order to preserve them and involve tourists in several dolphin watching activities during summer.

If we were to visit Bari, what restaurants would you recommend going to?

I am not a big fan of restaurants. I prefer to create a friendly night with friends at home and cook together so I cannot properly answer to this question. I do suggest that you get lost in the old town and look for typical food that will make you fall in love with the South of Italy.

What time of the year would you say is the best for SUP’ing in Bari?

Everyday! Summer time is of course the best, but maybe September is really the best because there are less people on the beach and you can enjoy the sea, the beach and the waves much more better with your crew.

As well as SUPKids, tell us a bit about what other activities you get up to…

We collaborate with ECOSURF, an ngo based in Brazil, in order to share the love for surf and preservation of the sea and in order to create a big international network. We fight for the stop of the captivity of cetaceans, because these animals suffer and die, and the importance of these animals living free in the oceans and seas worldwide is huge instead to live suffering in these marine circus’. “Sharks alive” is our other campaign focused on the preservation of sharks worldwide, because they are among the most important key species of our planet but they are so badly close to the extinction.

Tell us more about the turtle conservation you do…

We support the WWF in their “PROGETTO TARTARGUHE”. Stefano works with these animals since 2011 and now the whole GreenRope supports this cause and we have realized TURTLES GUARDIANS. Our volunteers patrol the coasts at sunrise in June, July and August in order to look for the tracks of the sea turtles that make nests and, once we find them, we can preserve the nests and waiting for the hatchlings and save hundreds of sea turtles every year.

Tell us more about your Plastic Pirates project…

Plastic Pirates is our campaign to fight plastic pollution and it is based on games for kids in order to make them enjoy a problem, in this way, they will love to fight it. Everything started one night among friends, we realized this campaign in a few months and it is extremely close to the goals of SUPKids and it is another reason more for which we felt in love with SUPKids. Every kids play being pirates in their life, no? Imagine all of them looking for a treasure on the beach, not made by gold but by plastic. The more plastic they collect (together during our camps or with their parents) the more points they win during our contests and then, big surprises for them!

Ok, say we had 24 hours with you in Bari… what adventures would you take us on?

Only 24 hours? Is not enough! Let’s start with a dolphin watching boat trip to make you enjoy our cetaceans, then a visit to the sea turtles and wildlife rescue centre in the Oasi of WWF Policoro where we are going to see several activities with SUPKids, and than an amazing sunset paddling session. In order to finish in a great way, a lovely good typical dinner.