The Baikal Nature Reserve School

The Baikal Nature Reserve School

February 2021 – January 2022

Environmental education about sustainable waste management and preservation of water resources is highly relevant for Russia, especially for the Baikal natural territory. Eco-education allows any infrastructure, might be separated waste collection containers or water-saving system, to work correctly, helping the society and the environment.

Thanks to the Baikal Nature Reserve School, which was opened in summer in the Zabaikalsky national park, all interested visitors have an opportunity to learn how to treat resources carefully and diversify their touristic recreation with useful events. 

The Baikal Nature Reserve School is ongoing interactive space in the Zabaikalsky national park (Republic of Buryatia). There everybody independently from his/her age, social status and other characteristics is able to get holistic knowledge about cyclicity of wastes and hydrologic cycle, try their skills in compaction of recyclables, watch a chain of transformation of plastic bottles into clothes and even explore through the microscope water composition and benthal deposits from lake Baikal and other water sources!

The project has unique public outreach — all visitors of the Zabaikalsky national park are able to take part in the project. In 2019, 42 thousand people visited the national park. The audience of the Baikal Nature Reserve School may be divided into 3 subgroups depending on purpose and social status criteria: tourists, students and representatives of the vulnerable groups, e.g. people with special needs and elderly people.

Tourists, both children and adults, have opportunity to acquire profound ecological knowledge and get involved into the process of responsible and educational tourism, preserving environment. Positive emotional experience received during interactive class, along with theoretical knowledge, transforms into ecological habits after the visit to the national territory; the confidence in the ecological initiatives and scientific research will be increased.

Students from regional educational institutions receive an opportunity to participate in the practical eco-lessons in the western bank of lake Baikal, get ecological knowledge first-hand and make small discoveries themselves. They are able to become ambassadors of the ecological practices and knowledge in their communities, initiate the promotion of separated waste collection in various institutions and at home, join the ecology movement in Ulan-Ude and in other parts of the Republic of Buryatia.

The key value of the project is its inclusiveness and accessibility of the ecological knowledge for everybody. Space design and its equipment is thought for people with special needs and other vulnerable groups. Visit to the Baikal Nature Reserve School helps this group to integrate themselves better into the system of the inclusive education and be not kept out.

The project «The Baikal Natural Reserve School» allows to become close to the achievement of the national goals in the sphere of ecotourism and preservation of the specially protected natural areas.

Goal:

  • to develop responsible attitude for the environment in visitors of the Zabaikalsky national park through their involvement in the sustainable waste management and exploration of water composition in lake Baikal and other water sources.

What effect do we want to achieve?

  • to solve the problem of lacking interesting and useful lessons on recreation with parents for children and teenagers;
  • to meet the demands on interactive initiatives on eco-education;
  • to contribute into the formation of the sustainable partnership between the national park – knowledge centre on preservation of the unique natural heritage – and educational institutions;
  • to create inclusive and accessible educational space in the Zabaikalsky national park for representatives of the vulnerable groups: people with special needs, children from teaching and educational institutions and beneficiaries of different social funds.

Sustainability of the Project:

  • Possibilities of project replication on other specially protected national areas in the Baikal region, where visit-centres do not have interactive educational spaces yet (for example, the Pribaikalsky national park);
  • In the long term on the base of the Baikal Natural Reserve School develop educational course on water resources at the Zabaikalsky national park. In addition, mobile application for public monitoring of water quality and lake ecosystem will be developed. The interface will be easy enough even for children to understand. It will be possible to enter data and get useful information about water properties and characteristics, using the app.

The project is implemented with the support of  Presidential Grants Foundation



Environmental Education