EcosySTEM | Science bridges

Theo’s relationship with the National Geographic community began at a very young age, when, as a child, he would flip through the magazine of the same name featuring stunning photographs of wildlife and think about how much he would like to be part of one of its expeditions and projects.

Years later Theo has in his creative background a series of trips to 95 countries, but also years of experience in educational activities that promote STEM education, both through SciCo and individually. Never before Theo has felt so close to the vision and goals of National Geographic.

So it wasn’t long before he was accepted by the community as an Explorer, and received his first funding for the EcosySTEM | Science Bridges project in 2020. In collaboration with Athena Research Center and with funding from National Geographic, The Green Fund under the initiative “INNOVATIVE ACTIONS WITH CITIZENS” and The Hellenic Initiative / The Venture Impact Awards 2021, the SciCo team travelled to Xanthi and the nearby areas undertaking to run the project “Integrating Pomak students in Thrace through STEM environmental education”. Through trips to the region, an effort was made to engage the local community through the application of the train-the-trainer model. Thus, in the first phase, local teachers were trained, who in turn implemented the project in their classrooms.

The aim of the project was to create cultural “bridges” between the culturally and geographically isolated population of the Pomaks in Northeastern Greece and the surrounding populations, using STEM environmental education as a tool. With long experience in science communication and interactive education, the team spent time in the villages of Xanthi, got to know the local community, and implemented the project on STEM education for a period of 6 months. At the same time, a documentary of the experience was created in order to inform and raise even more awareness about the world of the Pomaks, which is unknown to a fairly large percentage of people.

Theo continues to be an active member of the National Geographic community as an Explorer to this day.

Photo credits: Panos Kafousias