Lake Baikal Foundation announces the continuation of cooperation with «Great Baikal Trail» Association in the framework of promoting environmental education in Russia. In 2019, the Foundation will allocate a grant to the Association in the amount of 538 thousand rubles for the development of the project «With a Backpack On the Trail».
The project «With a backpack on the trail» is aimed at environmental lessons for children in order to increase knowledge about the nature of the native region and enhance respect for it with using of thematic tools and materials which are collected in a backpack. Before the lesson, a child receives a backpack containing the necessary materials and tools for the lessons, and together with the instructor goes on a trip along the eco trail to the natural park. In a gamified way under the guidance of instructor, within the framework of team and individual work, a child expands and increases knowledge about the world, learn to listen to the sounds of nature, experiment with a magnifying glass, a tape measure, a compass, a determinant of the weather. Children put observation into a workbook, learn to navigate on the map, recognize birds’ traces and see the plants diversity. Learning of environment at the young age through direct contact with the world allows to form a careful attitude to environment.
The project was launched in 2018 with the support of the Presidential Grants Foundation. The target audience of the project are children from low-income families, as well as children left without parental care. These vulnerable groups of children require additional attention. In the framework of the project 9 lessons were held for more than 100 children and teenagers in the Irkutsk region aged 7 to 15 years. As a result of the launch, the project «With a backpack on the trail» became the winner of the competition «National Environmental Award Named after V. I. Vernadsky» in the nomination «Environmental education for sustainable development».
In 2019, Lake Baikal Foundation will provide financial support to the project through the funds of private donors and «The World around You» Foundation. The decision to continue cooperation with «GBT» Association is consistent with the principles of Lake Baikal Foundation in forming sustainable partnerships to create long-term projects that contribute to protect Baikal and reflect the principles of sustainable development. It is expected that at the end of the project the coverage of children and teenagers of vulnerable groups will reach at least 200 people, the project area will also expand, lessons will be held in the Irkutsk region and the Buryat Republic. However, the main result of the cooperation between the Foundation and the Association in 2019 will be a well-developed and improved teaching materials of the project, which will further scale up the best practices of the project for all young naturalists, both in the Baikal region and beyond.