VILLA CARLOTTA, WHERE ART AND NATURE MASTERPIECES LIVE TOGETHER IN A PLACE OF RARE BEAUTY

© Photos by SR.M. LUISA ALBORGHETTI

Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo (Lake Como, Italy) is really a place of rare beauty, where masterpieces of nature and art live together in perfect harmony in over 70.000 square meters of gardens and museum.

The beautiful Villa was built at the end of 17th Century in a natural basin between lake and mountains, facing the dolomitic Grignas and the peninsula of Bellagio.

The architect created for the Clericis – a noble and powerful Milanese family – an important but sober building, with an Italian garden decorated with sculptures, stairs and fountains.

In 1801 Gian Battista Sommariva, famous politician, business man and patron of arts, bought the villa. Thanks to him, the villa attained the summit of its splendor and became one of the most important halting-place of the Grand Tour with its collections of art – as the masterpieces of Canova (Amore e Psiche), Thorvaldsen and Hayez – and its fascinating romantic garden.

In the Museum, at ground floor, we may visit the Marble Room, the Plasters Room, the Cameos Room, the Palamede Room, The Wicar Room, the Magdalene Room, the enchanting Eros and Psyche Room, the Romeo and Juliet Room, the Views Room, the Napoleonic Room. At the second floor, we admire the Gallery, Princess Carlotta bedroom, the Red Parlour, the Tapestry Room, the Empire Style Parlour, the Empire Style dining-room, Georg II Room and the bedroom.

In the second half of the Century Princess Marianne of Nassau bought the villa and gave it as a present to her daughter Carlotta in occasion of her wedding with Georg II of Saxe-Meningen. Georg was passionate about botany and made a lot of improvements and new additions to the park that became more and more famous for its botanical richness and the rhododendrons and azaleas spring flowering. They are more than 150 varieties giving an extraordinary flowering which is known all over the world.  In the park we may admire the beautiful Terrace and the Italian Gardens, The Camelias, the Theatre of Greenery, the Rock Garden, the Ferms Valley, the Azaleas, the Rhododendrons Wood, the Bamboos Garden, the Old Garden, the Museum of agricultural tools and a Tower (XIX Century). 

VILLA CARLOTTA FROM THE LAKE

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FUERTEVENTURA (BIOSPHERE RESERVE) SAYS “NO” TO CENTRAL GOVERNMENT’S DECISION (SPAIN) TO ALLOW OIL EXPLORATION IN THE SEA

© Photos by ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

Fuerteventura is one of the islands wich make the Canary archipelago, a set of islands whose climate, geological, marine and botanical peculiarities have set apart as an area of exceptional natural interest. In order to protect it, a law has been passed, the Law of  Natural Areas in the Canaries, limiting human activity in certain zones. These zones are divided into Nature and Rural Parks, Nature Reserves, Nature Monuments, Protected Landscapes, and Areas of Scientific Interest. In Fuerteventura these areas are the Corralejo, Lobos and Jandia Nature Parks, che Betancuria Rural Park, the Malpais de is Arena, Montaña de Tindaya, Caldera de Gairía, Cuchillos de Vigán, Montaña  Cardón and Ajuy Nature Monuments; the Maipais Grande and Valebrón Protected Landscapes, and the Playa del Matorral which is an Ares of Scientific Interest.

Fuerteventura is now facing central government’s decision (Spain) to allow oil exploration in the Canary Islands. The debate is open. And local people and associations are raising protests.

Natalia Evora, Environment and Trasports Councillor in Fuerteventura, said to “Fuerteventura Magazine Hoy” : “First of all we must remember that in 21st Century we must speak of energies that do not pollute and we therefore think oil has become an obsolete industry… We must take into account the great damage and risks that this would create in our marine element, for biodiversity and for tourism…The Islands that are Biosphere Reserves, such as Fuerteventura, are creating another energy model and not one that is already being eliminated in many countries because of the problems it has created… An oil spill would immediately close the desalination plants that provide the water we consume”.

Greenpeace told that the planned oil spill – located in deep waters, at 3000 meters – would required 500 boats to act immediately in order to contain it. Fuerteventura doesn’t have the structure to be able to defend itself immediately against such a disaster…   

PLANNING FOR THE BIG DAY

 

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen LaBrosse, Co-Author, CAPM®

 

When a wedding invitation comes in the mail, my gut instinct is to leave it in the mailbox and have the mailman take it away to someone else who might actually want to attend. This is my thought for about two seconds, before logic sets in and I realize that wedding guests are not so replaceable, that I must reply to this RSVP either way, and that I better have a pretty good reason if I plan to reply with “not attending.” Now don’t misunderstand me, I love my family and friends, and wish nothing more than to spend time with them and celebrate their biggest moments in life. But going on my 30th year of attending weddings, quite regularly mind you, I have had quite enough of the chicken dance, bad cake, sloppy best man speeches, and most of all, the poorly planned wedding that causes frustration and boredom for all involved. That was my view on weddings, up until this last summer. A co-workers daughter invited me to her wedding and I prepared myself for the usual wedding scene, bringing along with me my iphone (for unexpected delays), some mints to share with the other guests as the night and the drinks wore on, and my sense of humor. To my surprise and relief, the wedding was the most smoothly run event I had been to in years! And the biggest shocker

of it all is that it went off without a hitch…in the middle of a hurricane! It was so much fun I completely lost track of time and danced the night away.

While I attributed my evening of surprising fun to great companions, a fantastic band, and amazing food, I also think the success of the event relied solely on the expert planning by all involved. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that any big experience that I had that was fun, adventurous, and successful sprouted from detailed and accurate planning. The concept of “planning fun” can sometimes be hard for those of us out there who like to “live in the moment” and who generally get nervous if too much planning takes place (you know who you are!). But the moment that you invite others to “live in your moment”, as you do while planning any sort of event, is when you need to make sure that good planning takes place to produce an event that is fun for all. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your big day, whether that be a wedding, job interview, holiday party, work retreat… or whatever!

Develop a scope statement. There is one thing worse than not planning at all, and that is planning for planning’s sake, without an end result or goal in mind. To keep this from happening, at the very beginning of planning your big day, develop a scope statement that focuses your planning efforts on one main goal. For example, let’s say you’re planning a work retreat for your company to improve communication and morale. Your scope statement could read: “Gather all current employees for a one day retreat to be held before the end of the year. Also, create a detailed 8 hour schedule of team building activities with the end goal of increased communication among employees, as measured by project success rates, and improved morale, as measured by employee satisfaction surveys.”

Select the planning team, and deliverables for each person. One of the best things about wearing a project manager hat is that once you define your project tasks, you don’t have to go at it alone. Master the art of delegating through your PM powers of influence and negotiation, and define a team that will help you with your planning. Develop a Schedule. Decide when your big day will take place, and work backwards from there to see what you will need to make your big day a success. Remember, you are not a machine, so make it easier for yourself to remember due dates of deliverables by creating a calendar and setting reminder alarms to go off on your phone. Also, ensure that everyone on your project team is accountable for their deliverables as well by publicly displaying the schedule (Google calendars, or a company’s shared workspace) so that there is no confusion over who is responsible for what.

Develop a Budget. Nothing sucks the fun out of planning (yes, planning can be fun!) like running out of money when half the deliverables are accomplished. Develop a budget that prioritizes the activities that “must be done” first, leaving secondary items for money left over. For example, when you are preparing for a job interview, it might be “nice” to get your hair cut and colored before you go to your interview, but it is a “must have” to have

appropriate clothing and your resume printed. Save the nice-to-have’s for last to make sure you are planning for success.

Risk Planning. The last thing that you want when planning for a big day is what could potentially go wrong. But that is exactly what needs to happen before your big day. To do this, use your imagination, your team members, friends, and coworkers to get a good idea of what could happen if things don’t go as planned, and then come up with ways to mitigate these risks. For the wedding I attended that took place during a hurricane, the risk plan included getting umbrellas that complimented the wedding party’s dresses and to make sure the wedding facilities had back up plans if the electricity went down.

Have Fun! All that planning can be stressful and time consuming, but the payoff for your big day makes it all worth it. Do your big day the right way, with good project management planning. Before you know it, even the most klutzy of guests (like me) will be dancing the night away!

 

About the Author:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 30,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world. Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and Web sites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network is carried by more than 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton.

 

Check out Cheetah PHAST – a great new quarterly magazine

 

http://www.cheetahphast.com/?page_id=17

 

GREEN IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT

There are many ways to kick-start green initiative at work and operate business in an eco-friendly and sustainable way

 

 

Co-written by Michelle LaBrosse (Founder Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power) and Erica Edmond (Capm, Cheetah Green Team) 

Once upon a time, the act of saving the environment seemed to be limited to a yearly celebration called Earth Day where, like New Year’s Eve, people made resolutions that they wouldn’t necessarily keep.

 For decades, the idea of saving the environment and contributing to a healthier world seemed like a great idea, but it was either too big a task for one individual to handle or a seemingly time consuming activity that would cut into money-making time.

 Then things started to change at work, at school and at home. From unthinkable gas prices and a tough job market to skyrocketing health care costs, many folks came to a similar conclusion: to become more resourceful and live better.

 There has been a rise in eating local, for example. Not only does it taste better than the grocery store, but buying local and eating what’s in season saves money and the resources that it costs to transport food to one-stop-shopping nationwide.

Businesses are looking more closely at their waste — paper, energy to power an office 24/7 and throwing dollars away on everything from disposable coffee cups to plastic packaging for products.

There are many ways to kick-start your green initiative at work and operate your business in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. At Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power, we are committed to growing virtually with all of our employees working out of their homes. It’s saved us tremendously on real estate costs and also made our carbon footprint smaller. The good news is that there are many ways to be greener. Let’s take a look at how other businesses are doing it.

DOING IT AND DOING IT WELL

To get your juices flowing, here are six businesses that are doing it and doing it well. These multinational businesses received Natural Health Magazine’s “Green Choice” Awards in 2009 for their excellence in leading by example across the globe.

Wal-Mart: although many have been skeptical of this retailer’s green practices in the past, Wal-Mart now has a very large-scale environmental plan of action to power each of their stores with 100 percent renewable energy. Wal-Mart plans to set aside $500 million a year to increase fuel efficiency within their truck fleet, decrease energy consumption in their stores, decrease solid wastes from their stores, and a number of other environmental endeavors.

Starbucks: with the company’s “bean-to-cup” motto and approach to business, Starbucks uses environmentally savvy methods at each stage of production. Made from post-consumer goods, Starbucks’ recycled cup-sleeves saved more than 78,000 trees in 2006.

Verizon: its HopeLine initiative saved more than 5.6 million cell phones from ending up in landfills and were, instead, used to fund more than $6.3 million in cash grants to domestic violence agencies. Verizon has played a leadership role in encouraging customers and shareholders to choose paperless options. In addition, Verizon Wireless signed agreements to deploy smart power grids and continues to upgrade its fiber-optic network with equipment that is four times more efficient and reduces cooling costs. This is equivalent to keeping as many as 16,000 cars off the road annually.

Whole Foods: this organic food chain was the first company to buy the amount of wind-energy credits to compensate for 100 percent of the electricity they consumed. Whole Foods has eliminated their use of disposable plastic bags and replaced them with reusable bags for customers. These reusable bags are made from recycled plastic bottles.

Aveda: this natural-beauty product manufacturer uses primarily organic rather than man-made materials in their products. Aveda also employs wind power in their manufacturing facility to reduce electricity consumption, and they use 100 percent recycled packing materials. On top of these commendable business practices, Aveda funds wildlife preservations, and since 1999 has raised $8 million for environmental causes.

Discovery Channel: this company is not only green in the information it communicates through its many environmentally informative television shows, but through its company actions and practices. The Discovery Channel has compensated for their carbon dioxide emissions through making equal contributions to environmental feats and projects and using energy-efficient lighting, architecture, and water systems in their company headquarters. In August, Discovery Channel took over the leading environmental lifestyle website, treehugger.com, as part of their initiatives to inform people about important environmental issues. Most impressive of all, the company set aside $50 million to create green television programming, beginning with a show entitled Ten Ways to Save the Planet.

 

SMALL STEPS FOR A LARGE FEAT

I often hear people talk about the enormity of being green, and then the Project Manager in me comes alive and I have to remind them that anything is possible with a project plan that can break the most monstrous goals down into doable and realistic parts.

Develop a “Green Business Check List” to get your company thinking about ways it can behave in a greener and more sustainable manner. Here are a few areas to consider with a sample question to get you started. There are plenty more for you to go through, but this can serve as a useful thought starter.

Corporate and Environmental Social Responsibility

Do you only invest in environmentally conscious companies?

Use your investment portfolio to only support business organizations or industries that operate in an environmentally conscious way.

Energy, Water and Heat

Do you make use of natural light by keeping windows and skylights clean and clear? Don’t turn lights on in the middle of the day if you have sufficient natural light coming into your office.

Do you regularly check and fix any leaking taps?

Over the long term a leaking tap can waste a significant amount of water. Post a number to call near sinks so someone may fix it right away.

Do you keep radiators free of office furniture?

Make sure that furniture does not block the radiators as otherwise the heat will be wasted.

Environmental Policy

Have you set up a ‘Green Team’ or ‘Eco Champions’ team in your company? By getting your employees involved and part of the greening process, they will feel valued.

Housekeeping

Do you have a collection point for Aluminum, Glass, or Plastic?

Information Communication Technology

Do you have a green IT infrastructure?

There are now over 1.1 billion computers in operation worldwide, collectively producing about one billion tons of CO2 through their electricity requirements. Also contributing to the earth’s pollution are outdated computer equipment, mobile phones and electronic gadgets that make up 5% of the world’s garbage. Considering our continuing demand to have the latest and greatest in multitasking phones and so on, that’s an alarming amount of products to be tossed aside each year.

Office Supplies

Do you have a printer that can print on both sides?

If you don’t have a printer that can print on both sides, then consider investing in one once your lease for the existing one is up for renewal or when your existing one no longer works.

Travel and Transportation

Rather than traveling to meetings have you invested in suitable technology for conference calls? It is worthwhile investigating alternatives such as using iChat or SKYPE for meetings that require face time.

 Wildlife and Biodiversity

Have you created a wildlife area around your office?

Even if you only have a concrete courtyard you can still create a wildlife area by planting some native plants and flowers in plant pots. This will be beneficial to the planet and much easier on the eyes than sterile office files.

 

GET WHAT YOU NEED

 Opie, you haven’t finished your milk.  We can’t put it back in the cow, you know.” ~Aunt Bee Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show

 Taking what you need or making use of what you have is an easy place to begin your journey to contributing to a greener you. How do you see your organization becoming more resourceful with materials and money? How will you continue to evaluate its progress towards being an eco-friendly company that you can feel proud of? Take a small step towards this victory…and then another small step…and then another. Each step is for the generations that follow us. Walk on!

  

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

 

Michelle LaBrosse, MSME, PMP, Founder Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power 

Michelle LaBrosse is an engineer and an entrepreneur with expertise in both aerospace and mechanical engineering. She started her career as an Air Force officer in the field of aircraft structures and vibrations; a challenge that resonates today with some of the technical challenges encountered with wind power.  

For her mechanical engineering master’s degree thesis project, she participated in a Department of Energy grant to help older factories become more energy self-sufficient.  

Michelle has been creating courses using accelerated learning principles for the past 15 years. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, a firm of over 100 people worldwide that specializes in combining accelerated learning and project management to help people achieve their goals faster than they ever before imagined.  

The Project Management Institute recognized Michelle as one of the top 25 most influential women worldwide in Project Management. Her company, Cheetah Learning, was named the 2008 Project Management Institute Provider of the Year in recognition of its accelerated learning in project management education.  

Michelle is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner President Management Program. She is also the founding board member of the Center for Advanced Learning Concepts (CALCO). She brings all of this experience together to help herself and others become energy self-sufficient. 

 

Erica Edmond, CAPM, Cheetah Green Team 

A marketing intern for Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power, Erica is Cheetah’s go-to resource for all things green. She researches and writes the Cheetah Power newsletter and is also a research assistant for a communication professor at the University of Portland.  

In 2008, Erica began her first Cheetah internship and wrote an ongoing green feature article for the monthly Cheetah Learning newsletter, as well as educational green articles that showed Cheetah employees how to become more energy efficient in their offices and at home.   

During the summer of 2007, Erica worked on a catamaran in Haines, Alaska, as a deckhand/purser. Prior to that, she was appointed by Alaskan senator Ted Stevens to work as a senate page in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.  

Born in Soldotna, Alaska, Erica has traveled to Costa Rica through an AFS exchange program to take Spanish language and culture classes. She also attended a summer session at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. 

A senior at the University of Portland, Erica is majoring in organizational communication. When she’s not studying or working for Cheetah, she can be found exploring with Rambo, her Chihuahua. 

PLANTS HAVE EYES. THOSE OF CHILDREN

A great success for an activity launched to Italian schools by the Flower Council Holland: students invited to draw “The plant I like”.

Flower Council Holland – through Okay! monthly magazine – has asked the Italian schools to draw “the plant that I like”, flower plants and indoor plants. The outcome was better than expected. About 3.000 the drawings sent to promoters, confirming that the invitation launched by the Flower Council Holland has turned into an opportunity to look around, discover and learn about the wonderful world of plants that offer color, comfort, serenity and well-being, to people, to environment and to our homes.

A mass of colored drawings tell us that plants talk and caress us with their discreet presence. And now, with these thousands of drawings, we may look at the plants through the eyes of children. And also plants have eyes. Those of children.

In this page, some beautiful drawings made by Italian students.

 

“BEING GREEN” IN OUR DAILY LIFE

 

Being Green is not just Kermit’s theme song anymore. It’s every one’s. Green tips are top of mind, everywhere we turn. So, when we think of project management, how can we apply some “green thinking” to our projects?

 Here are our top five ways to bring some green ingenuity to your every day project management.

 1 Green Materials Maven. Are you using materials that have been recycled and are you recycling the materials that you’re currently using? Regardless of what industry that you work in, just a little research can make a big difference, in your project’s carbon footprint.

 2 Packing Green. Packing materials for products can produce a lot of waste. Can you use recycled materials for packing like old newspapers? There are also biodegradable packing peanuts and environmentally friendly soft foam.

 3 Green Team. There are hundreds of ways to make your office greener here are just a few to get you started:

  •  Use coffee mugs instead of paper or Styrofoam
  • If you are a small or home-based office, you can produce your own energy. Visit www.cheetahpower.com for more information.
  • If you can’t produce your own energy, look for a supplier that is producing green energy in your area.
  • Put automatic timers or sensor lights in your bathroom, conference rooms or spaces that are not occupied the majority of the day.
  • Use as much natural light as possible in the design of your office space.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Switch off computers, photocopiers and other equipment when not being used.
  • Buy office equipment with the best energy ratings.
  • Use green materials when building out a new office, like bamboo instead of wood flooring
  • Use refillable vs. disposable pens
  • Buy green products for your office – everything from toilet paper to recycled paper for printing
  • Promote a “reuse” mentality and lead by example
  • Promote “think before you print.”
  • Use environmental or natural cleaning products.
  • Support and buy the products of other vendors and suppliers who are eco-friendly.
  • Support virtual office employees or support car-pooling and ride sharing if in a suburban area.
  • If you’re in a rural area, can you create a wildlife trust around your company’s property?
  1. Make a Commitment to Green. When you make green more than a passing fancy, you show your team, and your customers that you mean business.You’re not just being trendy; you’re making changes that impact the world around you.

             PR with heart & soul. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of bad news out there. Your customers do want to hear about the good things that you’re doing. So, if you have a green initiative or a project with a green heart and soul, talk about it. Get the buzz going. Green PR is only bad, when it’s insincere.

 So, when it comes to greening up the planet, who better to lead the charge than Project Managers? Who knows better than you about tackling something large with small milestones that make a big difference! So, Kermit, it can be easy being Green. Just bring a project manager on board to get it done.

About Michelle LaBrosse, MSME, PMP, Founder Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power

 Michelle LaBrosse is an engineer and an entrepreneur with expertise in both aerospace and mechanical engineering. She started her career as an Air Force officer in the field of aircraft structures and vibrations; a challenge that resonates today with some of the technical challenges encountered with wind power.

 For her mechanical engineering master’s degree thesis project, she participated in a Department of Energy grant to help older factories become more energy self-sufficient.

 Michelle has been creating courses using accelerated learning principles for the past 15 years. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, a firm of over 100 people worldwide that specializes in combining accelerated learning and project management to help people achieve their goals faster than they ever before imagined.

 The Project Management Institute recognized Michelle as one of the top 25 most influential women worldwide in Project Management. Her company, Cheetah Learning, was named the 2008 Project Management Institute Provider of the Year in recognition of its accelerated learning in project management education.

 Michelle is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner President Management Program. She is also the founding board member of the Center for Advanced Learning Concepts (CALCO). She brings all of this experience together to help herself and others become energy self-sufficient.

 About Erica Edmond, CAPM, Cheetah Green Team

 A marketing intern for Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power, Erica is Cheetah’s go-to resource for all things green. She researches and writes the Cheetah Power newsletter and is also a research assistant for a communication professor at the University of Portland.

 In 2008, Erica began her first Cheetah internship andwrote an ongoing green feature article for the monthly Cheetah Learning newsletter, as well as educational green articles that showed Cheetah employees how to become more energy efficient in their offices and at home.

 During the summer of 2007, Erica worked on a catamaran in Haines, Alaska, as a deckhand/purser. Prior to that, she was appointed by Alaskan senator Ted Stevens to work as a senate page in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.

 Born in Soldotna, Alaska, Erica has traveled to Costa Rica through an AFS exchange program to take Spanish language and culture classes. She also attended a summer session at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

 Asenior at the University of Portland, Erica is majoring in organizational communication. When she’s not studying or working for Cheetah, she can be found exploring with Rambo, her Chihuahua.