The partners of the Alpine Space project YOUrALPS met on February 14th and 15th in the Burgenland to learn from different practices, knowledge and techniques on environmental education.
In the context of a project steering group meeting, the YOUrALPS partners from France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia had the possibility to gain some inspiring knowledge about education practices in the Austrian partner land.
One of the impressive stops was the nature lab in Bad Sauerbrunn, the so called „Werkstatt Natur“, a non for profit institution which was founded by the regional hunter‘s federation. Today, the lab hosts more than 10 000 kids per year which participate in one of the pedagogical programs. There is a wide range of programs according to the varying season and the institution allows also individual programs which are elaborated in cooperation with the teacher of a class. Hence, some programs focus more on re-connecting youngsters to nature by simply bringing them out into the forest and experience the forest according to the very season while others identify a specific topic such as «wildlife and traffic» were they get to know how wildlife perceives and reacts on traffic lights or the „creek hike“ were children discover the role of different living organisms of the water world and may fish for fish. The next stop was dedicated to the use of nature’s ressources such as wild herbs. Uschi Zezelitsch a herb expert and hedge witch introduced the group to some of her childrens’programs and creative nature interpretation methodologies. Herbs are a perfect tool to introduce children to the world of natural cooking, taking nature’s ingredients and smelling what nature has to offer. Many of the herbs can directly be picked in nearby meadows, others grow easily in the home gardens or inside a plant pot. This way, children and adolescents can try out making their own herbs salt, herbs bread or even a herb „strudel“. Moreover, delicious juices can be easily prepared with wild mint and ginger for example.
Some of these ideas might be included in the contents of the Alpine school model, one of the major YOUrALPS project outputs, aiming at re-connecting youth to their natural environment. Since September 2017, 14 pilot sites have been carrying out activities on education for sustainable development in order to validate the theoretical model and be certified as « Alpine school ». The Alpine School model will be presented at the conference: “ Learning and networking for sustainable development in the Alps. The Alpine School & Our Alps network.“ on May 14 and 15 in Morbegno (Italy)
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