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.

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. The SciCo team travelled to Xanthi undertaking to run the project “Integration of Pomak students in Thrace through STEM environmental education” and through the trips conducted in the region, an effort was made to engage the local community through the application of the train-the-trainer model. Thus, in a 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

The project was implemented in collaboration with Athena Research Centre and with funding from National Geographic, Green Fund under the measure “INNOVATIVE ACTIONS WITH CITIZENS” and The Hellenic Initiative / The Venture Impact Awards 2021.