WWF Nature Academy – cooperation of schools and protected areas in Serbia

People

1

Money

50 000€

Time

2 years

Organization

WWF Adria

Country

Serbia

Location

5 protected areas and wider area

Protection level

Achievements
5 protected areas with educational programmes and cooperation with 2 local schools.
214 WWF ambassadors trained.
59 teachers from 10 schools participated.
1097 children included in school project activities (from 7 – 17 years) of the WWF Academy.
Results of the mini project WWF Ambassador:
Films and theatre performances on the topic of nature conservation
Construction of mini protected areas in the schoolyard
Design and production of promotional materials
Photo exhibit

Problem/opportunity

Problem
Lack of good quality classes in nature.
Lack of educational programmes in protected areas.
Teachers have no guidelines or recommendations (curriculum, work plan) for teaching outdoors.
Most parents feel that nature excursions are not safe or cannot finance them
Opportunity
Developing new competencies for teachers and pupils
Familiarisation with protected areas in which they live. Raising awareness of the importance of protected areas (PA) and nature conservation.
Creating cooperation between schools and PAs
Schools, teachers and older pupils become PA ambassadors.

Planning

Partner roles
Role of the protected area – host, mentor, source of information. Cooperation with schools, presentations in schools, and participation in designing school projects.

Implementation

Project key stages
Gathering a strong team of educators
Familiarising the PA focal point about the WWF Nature Academy and its role
Starting and promoting timely competitions for the selection of schools
Selection of training sites (Petnica research station)
Establishing good cooperation with the PA and the school
Monthly progress monitoring of the implementation of school projects
Presentation of results
Short e-publication on the results of each generation

Changes

Positive economic and social changes
Public sector (local, national):
Social: School ambassadors were connected and exchanged experiences. Cooperation initiated with education sector and Education Ministry.
Protected area manager:
Social: cooperation with new schools in the vicinity with which there was not previous cooperation. PA as an education polygon for local children.
Local population:
Social: Local schools connected with nature and the PA in their vicinity. Increased awareness of the population of the importance of the protected area in their region.
Education of teachers and pupils in protected areas for better nature conservation. Local residents become ambassadors of the PA.

Replication and recommendations

Recommendations
In addition to coordinators involved 100%, an assistant on 50% time would be necessary
Include up to 2 teachers (and not just 1 as up to now) from each ambassador school
Organise mandatory visits of project coordinators to each ambassador school during the academic year
Larger budget for didactic materials received by the ambassador schools
Larger donations for schools (each school received €100 for material costs, this should be increased to €300)
When planning multiple generations of ambassadors, it is necessary to plan a meeting of all generations of ambassador teachers and pupils at the end of the project.
Advantage of working with teachers (grades 1-4) in WWF Academy contributes to greater inclusion of parents and grandparents to project-related activities.
Project coordinator should adapt the approach to each PA and PA focal point.
The invitation for school cooperation should not only be intended for biology teachers. The classes in nature should be interdisciplinary.
We recommend that during replication that schools working with disabled children also be included, as they can successfully participate and implement all necessary activities in line with their possibilities.
Sustainability
Perseverance of ambassador schools (teachers and pupils).
One person dedicated to the project.
Work plan of the WWF Academy, approaches and methods become part of the work plan for participating schools, thereby making the programme sustainable.

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