The Lake Baikal Foundation supports the project «With a Backpack on the Trail» of the Great Baikal Trail Association. From April to October 2019, 261 children took part in environmental lessons, exploring the nature of the Baikal region in practice.
The organizers of the project «With a Backpack on the Trail» shared their impressions of the results of this year’s program.
- Elena Chubakova, project manager of the «Great Baikal Trail»:
Our organization «Great Baikal Trail» since 2005 visits the villages and towns of the Baikal region with various educational projects. We tell children about animals, about nature protection, about forest fires, etc. Such lessons are very interesting for children, because many of them quite rarely go to other regions and even cities.
After a while we came to the format of the educational program «With a Backpack on the Trail». You need to take a lot of materials with you if you want to take part in practical ecological classes but there is nothing to carry them in — with the awareness of this problem, the idea of the project was born. When I told the Director of the Lake Baikal Foundation Anastasia Tsvetkova about such a program, she was very inspired and we started our cooperation. In the first year the project won the Presidential Grant (by the Presidential Grants Foundation), which let us buy the filling of backpacks: binoculars, compasses, magnifying glasses, notebooks and other necessary items.
We organize practical lessons in the warm season, approximately from May to October and they last from 1.5 to 3 hours. Classes are aimed primarily at children from low-income families, social and rehabilitation centers. In September, we went to Severobaikalsk, where we found a great response from schools. Also we organized trips to children’s camps and showed children the other side of nature.
This year, the testing of the project was completely completed. It was attended by even more children —261 — than we had planned despite the natural disasters in the Irkutsk region this summer.
The project fully justifies itself. Now we are deciding how we can develop its program. For example, we consider creating a winter version of the project. We see great interest from partners who want to know about our future plans and programs in order to participate in them.
The Lake Baikal Foundation is well aware of what environmental education is, so we are very interested in such cooperation. Thanks to the Foundation, we will learn what other activities of a similar orientation are carried out in the region. When there are trust and opportunities, it is an ideal partnership.
- Evgeny Marianov, project coordinator in the North of lake Baikal:
I was directly involved in the project on the spot and watched the reaction of the children, asked them about their impressions. I can say that the project is interesting and practically directed. 16 children from the village of Baikalskoe, in 40 kilometers from us, well involved in the work, and, even though they quite well know the wildlife in general, said that they learned a lot of new and entertaining.
I believe that the project should be supported. Why was I interested in the Zabaikalsk part of the project? Teenagers, some from disadvantaged rural families, began to spoil the trail that was laid in the area. And we restored a good passage. Teachers in Zabaikalsk were also satisfied, the classes were very successful. Children were instantly involved in a variety of practical tasks in nature, they had all the necessary devices for this. That’s great!
Now I am one of the organizers of the «Great Baikal Trail» previously worked as the Director of the Tourist Ecological School on lake Baikal. So it is close to me, I understand, as a teacher, what is well given to children.
Thanks to the Lake Baikal Foundation for supporting the project! We are currently planning activities for next year and it would be great if our cooperation continued.