Environmental Education Center Project in Cantalao Natural Park

Santiago, December 12, 2016 – A few months following the announcement by Pablo Badenier, Minister of the Environment, of the creation of an Environmental Education Center in the Cantalao Natural Park, located in the foothills of Peñalolen, it was announced that the design, investment and infrastructure works will be undertaken by the Fundación Cosmos. The foundation was awarded the contest and will begin its work in the summer months of 2017.

The announcement comes as part of the celebration of the International Mountain Day, which is celebrated every December 11.

“We are a country of mountains and we must stop turning our backs to them, by integrating them into the natural spaces that belong to us and that we must understand and care for. Therefore, we have coincided the announcement of the award of the project and its beginning, with the celebration of the International Mountain Day, which has –since 2003- rightly aimed to highlight the environmental and social importance that these have in the world, and of which our country is a great exponent”, said Minister Badenier.

“We are happy to be able to take charge of this project and contribute to the knowledge, valuation and conservation of the biodiversity that exists in the Andean foothills, enhacing the work that has already been underway by the Ministry of the Environment and the Asociación Parque Cordillera”, said Felipe Correa, Project Director at Fundación Cosmos. “We believe that, without a doubt, this public-private partnership will bring great social and environmental benefits”.

The Executive Director of the Asociación Parque Cordillera, Deborah Raby, stated that “with this center we will be able to further consolidate the environmental education work that we have been executing in the foothills, to value this ecosystem and promote its conservation”.

It is important to remember that the Environmental Education Center will be located in an area of great ecosystem richness – as are the mountainous buttresses – which is considered one of the 23 priority sites for the conservation of biodiversity in the Metropolitan Region. The project will involve the recovery and/or conditioning of some existing facilities, such as the army storage depots –to whom the park’s land belongs to- which formerly stockpiled weapons and ammunition. Now, these depots will become thematic rooms for audiovisual activities, workshops, individual and group work, demonstration rooms and/or museums. Likewise, in what used to be the stables and shed, will be located the reception, administration and services of the Cantalao Natural Park. In more open areas there will be a plant nursery or greenhouse, an organic garden, a recycling collection point and the recycling center. Complementary to this will be the improvement of the existing trails to enter the sclerophyllous forest that is prominent in this area.

Once the new Center has been delivered, an environmental education plan will be implemented, of which the Asociación Parque Cordillera will be in charge, and which will include the municipalities of the east side of the city, located in Santiago’s pre-mountain range: Colina, Lo Barnechea, Las Condes, La Reina, Peñalolen, La Florida and San José de Maipo. The plan’s strategy will be directed mainly towards educational establishments certified by the National System of Environmental Certification (Sistema Nacional de Certificación Ambiental – SNCAE) of the Ministry of the Environment.

The project will open its doors next year and will cost $100,000,000, which will be funded from fines imposed on companies that have caused environmental damage.