School Networks in Protected Areas

The first out of three trainings within the regional project “School Networks in Protected Areas” was held from 7th till 10th of May in Morović, Serbia with participants from six protected areas from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.

Protected Areas included in project are: 

  • Protected Areas in Canton Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • „Hutovo blato“ Nature park, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • „Lovćen“ National park, Montenegro
  • „Skadarsko lake“ National park, Montenegro
  • „Obedska bara“ Special nature reserve, Serbia
  • „Stara planina“  Nature park, Serbia

And six schools:

  • Public Institution „Second Primary School“, Ilidža/Hrasnica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • „United World College“, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Primary School „Dušan Vukasović Diogen“,  Kupinovo, Serbia
  • Primary School "Milan Vukotić“, Golubovci, Montenegro
  • Primary School „Njegoš" Cetinje“, Montenegro
  • Primary School „Vuk Karadžić“, Pirot, Serbia

The training was dedicated to persons responsible for educational programs in protected areas and teachers from schools in the municipalities where protected areas are located. The activity is a part of the project “School Networks in Protected Areas”, implemented by WWF Adria and Park Dinarides.

In the first training we were focused on the topics of didactic methods in learning, critical thinking and experiential learning, while showing the participants several practical examples of learning about nature in nature. Together we defined challenges and difficulties they have in their work and in cooperation with protected area management or schools. These information will be significant for modeling next two courses, the work between and after trainings, but will also give a framework for preparing the manual on how to establish School Network in other PAs”, says the project coordinator Jovana Dragić May.

Lecturers were Alice Thinschmidt and Emil Benesch from Austria, who collaborate with Austrian WWF and have a wide experience in implementing educational programs in protected areas, and Bojan Savić, a pedagogue with years of working experience in the educational system of Serbia.

The course gave participants motivation to be creative and to spend more time in the nature with pupils, also they will be able to use in their work shown examples of learning about nature in nature. Important value of the training was possibility to exchange ideas and experiences with colleagues from the region.

During the course, participants had the opportunity to visit Special nature reserve “Obedska bara”, which participates in the project. Ivana Lozjanin from “Vojvodinašume”, together with her colleagues, presented the natural values and unique characteristics of the area. They also organized educational walk, bird watching, sailing with catamaran,  panoramic sightseeing of the reserve and a visit to the bird colony, rich with different species of migratory birds in this time of the year.

The goal of the project is to empower the cooperation between local schools and protected areas, to include teachers in creating and promoting educational programs of protected areas, which in time will bring to better understanding of the importance of nature protection among youth and their active participation in that field.

Each one of six protected areas, which are part of the project, consists of a team of management representative and two teachers. The goal is to upgrade this collaboration through establishing School Networks in Protected Areas, which will in long term enable active participation to the larger number of local schools in planning and implementing educational programs in protected areas.

One of the expected results of planned activities is a manual for establishing “School Networks in Protected Areas”, which will include the experience of the parks in implementing educational programs.

In order for that experience to spread out, the manual will be distributed through “Parks Dinarides” to the protected areas which wish to start cooperation with local schools.

The next training will be held in the Park “Škocjan caves” in Slovenia in September 2018. This year Park “Škocjan caves” will celebrate 15 years of School Networks which gathers seven schools in the park area. This will be an opportunity to share their experience with our participants on how to establish and develop network, how to develop educational activities which can be implemented in the protected area. Among the representatives of the “Škocjan caves” Park management, the teachers from local schools will also present their experience.

The project “School Networks in Protected Areas” will run until June 2019.