May – September 2018
Preservation of Baikal environment is impossible without upbringing careful attitude towards nature, above all in younger generation. The project «With a backpack on the trail» is aimed at carrying out practical lessons in nature for vulnerable groups of children in order to increase their level of knowledge about nature of their native region and to stimulate careful attitude using thematic tools and materials gathered in a backpack. The Interregional Public Organization «The Great Baikal Trail» is the partner of the project.
The project is socially significant, because it is aimed at development of eco-culture among vulnerable children – those from low-income families and children without parents. The main target audience of the project is children aged 7 to 12 years. Participating in the lessons of the project «With a backpack on the trail», 100 children will receive practical knowledge about the environment, the nature of the region they live in. After passing with a backpack on the trail, the children will broaden their horizons and will be able to answer such questions as: «Why is the grass green?», «Where do clouds float?» or even «How does a squirrel look like?». With the help of an instructor, children will conduct their own research, learn teamwork in the framework of the tasks and most importantly, increase their ecological culture; learn how to protect animals and how to prevent the destruction of plants from a careless human’s attitude to nature.
The project «With a backpack on the trail» was the winner of the competition of the President grants of Russian Federation for the development of civil society in 2017 and received support for implementation in 2018. In the first year, lessons will be conducted for 100 children. It is planned to expand the project and increase the number of children (minimum 500 for three years).
- to increase children’s knowledge about the nature of their native region;
- to stimulate careful attitude toward nature.
- to work out a lesson program and didactic materials for the students;
- to work out methodology for the instructors and the maps of the route;
- to work out a schedule for the lessons; approve the number of groups according to the arrangements made with reserves and representatives of children’s groups;
- to make lessons for minimum 100 children in 2018.
What has been done:
- we conducted lessons for more than 100 children aged 5 to 17;
- the organizers made 100 sets of workbooks and purchased the filling of 50 backpacks (binoculars, bird and plant identifiers, color pencils, magnifier glass, weather detector, a touristic seat, a ruler-tracer, a compass, a roulette);
- the schedule for the lessons was made and the number of groups was confirmed.
- in June-July 2018 there were 9 lessons for 132 children and teenagers aged from 5 to 17. First lessons took place in Botanic garden of Irkutsk State University and in Baikal State Nature Reserve. The students were children in ward of charitable foundations and other organizations: Center for Assistance for Children Without Parental Care, foundations «Obereg» and «Children of the Baikal», Irkutsk Railways club «Ecolyata», mountaineering camp for children «Angasolka». The prime attention was given to collaboration with the organizations working with vulnerable groups of children but in future the project will involve all children;
- during the lessons with the help of the instruments from the backpack children went deeper in knowledge of nature of their native region. They learned how to get bearings with a compass, learned the forest rules and tried to identify birds’ and animals’ sounds and trees’ smell with eyes closed. All discoveries were recorded in workbooks which the students kept after that mini-hike. Each child also got s colorful book «Baikal. Crystal Wonder of Our Planet» by Alexander Tkachenko, which would become a memory about wonderful time of the hike and would also make children think once again about the necessity of careful attitude towards nature of their native region;
- we received feedbacks from the institutions which took part in the project. All partners of Lake Baikal Foundation gave the highest grade to the content of the lesson, its format, level of organization and they expressed their willingness to continue their participation further;
- the wards of Center for Assistance for Children Without Parental Care, Sverdlov District, Irkutsk, sent their pictures of the classes they attended to the Foundation. Kids of different ages – from 9 to 16 – shared their impressions and emotions about the outdoor classes. In these pictures there is everything children have seen, learnt and perceived thanks to the project: there are the Baikal pines, woodland birds, sunset and mountains of the Baikal region. It is extremely important that kids saw the beautiful Baikal nature and learnt to preserve it;
- there are plans to develop the project and to increase the number of children (up to 500 in 3 years).
The project is implemented with the Presidential Grants Foundation support