The Lake Baikal Foundation in 2019 supported the project «With a Backpack on the Trail» implemented by the Association «Great Baikal Trail». In the framework of the project scientists, ecologists and teachers showed children the wildlife of the Baikal region, explained its laws, interrelations in order to teach them a conscious respect for the environment.
261 children from low-income families, social and rehabilitation centers attended practical lessons which lasted from 1.5 to 3 hours. We asked Margarita Ushakova, teacher, psychologist, PhD in Psychology, to comment on the importance of outdoor activities for the formation of ecological consciousness of the child:
— The world of modern children is filled with a lot of important and interesting activities, but often it’s narrowed down to the screen of the phone or tablet. We are dealing with a paradox when students know more about distant countries than about the place where they live.
Increasingly, we observe the experience of natural interaction with the environment fall out of the everyday lives of ordinary girls and boys. Nature is studied in films, books, websites like something very far away.
In order that this far became close, clear and valuable, the conductor is essential. For a child, it is an adult who is ready to stand next to him and share what he sees in the world around. Sometimes even one meeting with such an adult who is ready to literally take your hand, show you a new world in a very close and seemingly familiar, is enough to change not only the present, but also the future. The very future where talks about ecology, finally, will cease to have any meaning because the care of the planet will be simple and understandable to everyone. So the value of the project «With a Backpack on the Trail» is very high. The child lives an hour in a way that it changes his future.