First stepsThe first GreenFriends seed planted was holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum) at Las Majadas in Arenas de San Pedro (Avila province). Two years later Brahmachari Shubamrita planted Hindu holy basil on behalf of GreenFriends at the retreat in Bustarviejo (Madrid province).
In June 2008 a group of enthusiastic Barcelona volunteers carried out their first activity in nature and created the first GreenFriends blog.
In August 2009 Amma spoke in Amritapuri (India) about one of her most cherished projects: the preservation of Mother Nature. Her message gave us new momentum. At that time many people were becoming concerned about environmental issues in various parts of Spain.
In September of that year an initiative was developed in the group in connection with the recently opened Amma Center in Piera. Numerous activities were undertaken:
· 200 trees and shrubs for hedges planted at El Jaramillo in Aranjuez
· Cleanup work at Las Majadas in Avila after the fire in the summer of 2009
· Urban activities at El Jaramillo and El Remanso in Aranjuez, in addition to private homes and a secondary school: potted plant garden, school garden, seedbeds, aromatic herb spiral, biodynamic preparations, use of effective microorganisms, contacts with seed networks
· Entry into GreenFriends Europe, the new European project that unites twelve European countries in a network
· Planting oak trees in Olatzi, Vitoria
· Monthly Mother Earth day event in Amalurra, Bilbao
· Creation of a team to coordinate activities at the Amma Center, activities in Spain and communication with Europe
The Amma Spain Center will have much to say from now in because very interesting projects are being developed there, such as forest recovery, organic solutions for olive trees and building a bee sanctuary.
Our presentAt present Spanish volunteers are organized in groups according to geographic proximity and focused on campaigns that unite us under a single purpose while allowing us to maintain our independence.
· A campaign to plant “The 108 trees of Amma”. Plantations in various parts of Spain that have involved collaboration with institutions and have carried out activities like the following:
- Plantations in rural and urban areas in Vigo, Palencia, Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Avila, Tarragona, Asturias, Navarre, Madrid and the Basque Country
- Collaboration on forest trails in Alozaina (Malaga province)
- Restoration of burned areas in the Gredos Sierra (Avila province)
- Planting the Saint Teresa Forest in Avila at the CITeS center and at the Universidad de la Mística in Avila
- Regeneration of Montgó Nature Park (Alicante province)
· A campaign to plant Holy Forests (Govinda Project) in several towns in Segovia province
· Christmas campaign, “Plant your Christmas tree”
· Yearly awareness campaigns in primary and secondary schools about the importance of bees and tree planting (InDeed campaign)
· Volunteer program for the restoration of Iberian elm groves (European Union LIFE Programme) in Aranjuez
Our futureWe continue our current campaigns and projects and are expanding them with new initiatives.
· Consolidating the Plant your Christmas Tree campaign
· Planting new holy forests in Tenerife, Segovia and Granada
· Developing our commitment to the EU LIFE Programme, planting 9,500 elm trees over the next five years in Aranjuez
· Collaborating with AYUDH, the Amma youth group in Spain
· Maintaining continuity in the awareness campaigns in primary and secondary schools