The Cantalao Natural Park is located in the foothills of the borough of Peñalolen, Metropolitan Region, and covers an area of approximately 37 hectares. Well-conserved native Mediterranean forest is present in the area, which houses an abundance of biological diversity. In fact, just as the rest of mountain area buttress, this park is one of 23 priority sites for the conservation of the biodiversity of the Metropolitan Region.
Due to the natural richness of its sclerophyllous forest – which is the main exponent of Mediterranean climate vegetation of the country’s central zone – and its location at the foothills of the Andes mountain range and within the network of peri-urban parks of the Asociación Parque Cordillera, the Cantalao Park is a strategic site for environmental education in the Metropolitan Region. For this reason, in 2016 the Ministry of the Environment launched a tender procedure for the project entitled “Cantalao Natural Park Evironmental Education Center” (“Centro de Educación Ambiental Parque Natural Cantalao”), through which it plans to implement adequate infrastructure to promote knowledge of the native forest of the area. The project was awarded to our Foundation, and in December 2016 we began its development.
The Cantalao Natural Park Evironmental Education Center 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. This means that about 700 students will be able to enter free of charge every year.