Background of the project
“Pupils experience nature in Europe’s protected areas”
“Every school child should experience a national park at least once in his or her life“, according to Bavarian Minister-President Dr. Edmund Stoiber, speaking at the 25th anniversary of the Berchtesgaden National Park. This statement kicked off the project “Pupils experience nature in Europe's protected areas”, which is funded by the Environment Fund of the Bavarian Ministry for the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection and organised by the EUROPARC Federation in cooperation with the PAN Planungsbüro für angewandten Naturschutz (Consultancy for applied environmental conservation) GmbH.
The project has two sub-sections which each have their own objectives:
- The development and testing of an attractive visit to a protected area in different cross-border national parks as part of a school trip.
- Establishing a comprehensive internet platform for environmental education programmes in Bavaria and its neighbouring countries, primarily for the target groups of school children and protected areas.
Model Project: School trip to protected areas
In the model project EUROPARC is developing a programme together with ten cross-border national parks in Germany (Bavaria), Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic for a 5-day school trip in each of the parks. The target group are school leavers of grammar schools, secondary schools and general schools as well as vocation- oriented schools of the upper secondary level. During their stay in the protected areas the pupils will be able to live and experience nature and gain an insight into the objectives and the philosophy of a protected area. The aim is to sensitise their awareness and spur their enthusiasm for nature and the environment. The programme also offers the opportunity to venture beyond national borders and visit the respective neighbouring park. The experiences and results from the school trips will be evaluated and taken as a basis for preparing recommendations for school trips of the "new generation".
School classes that are interested can apply to take part in the model project shortly after the new school year commences. Their end-of-school trip to one of 10 national parks in the early summer of 2008, implemented according to a specially developed programme, will be supported with 500 € per class.
Internet platform for environmental education programmes
In addition to the existing sites, an internet database for environmental education programmes is being developed within the scope of this project. Here it is possible to place and scan offers according to different criteria and free of charge. These extend from one-time short events to group events lasting several days. This is also where the programmes offered by the protected areas under the model project and further offers for school trips can be found in future.
The platform is aimed at all organisers of events who wish to provide an active nature experience and interesting information, e.g. local operators and active players such as nature conservation associations, environmental education institutions, beekeepers, hunters or fishermen.
To search for such events the scan options have been aligned to a maximum degree to learning contents with regard to the target group of pupils. Then again, the search should also be able to focus on the location of the events and other target groups so that teachers, pupils, children and youth groups, and also families and adults can selectively search for interesting events offered in the region of their home town or even at their holiday location.
The new website is expected to be launched at the end of August with the first programme of events. This internet presence will be open to environmental education programmes offered in Bavaria and its European neighbours, also after completion of the model project.