A Textbook in Informal Ecological Training and Hundreds of Trained Students as a Result of IECS Project Man, Technology, Environment

This month ended the two-year project Man, Technology, Environment. Through education for sustainable ecological development in Ruse and the Region of the International Elias Canetti Society. Partner of the IECS on the German side were: The Haus am Maiberg – The Academy for Civic and Social Education and on the Bulgarian side – Club of the Friends of Nature Park “Rusenski Lom”. The activities were realized with the financial support of DBU – The German Federal Environmental Foundation and with the co-financing of the Agapedia, Liebenau, Renovabis and St. Francis Heiligenbronn.

The project was dedicated to the ecological changes and their consequences for people and environment, which might be very serious for societies undergoing economical and social transition, such as the Bulgarian one. The Man, Technology, Environment project covered a wide network of participants from Ruse and the Ruse region. One thousand children from the primary schools were taught and 120 students from secondary schools became multiplicators of informal ecological training, 100 young people (over 20 years old) and 50 adults, working in the sphere of education were also trained. The project included also  those, who tend to remain outside the sphere of action of NGOs – socially disadvantaged children and youths, people from the minorities and the elderly.

A focus in the project was the acquiring of new knowledge through interactive learning techniques which can change the whole attitude to environmental protection. The youngest participants in the project took part in the Children’s Eco Club “Ela”, in which they worked during the school year, as well as in the eco academies at the Regional Library “Ljuben Karavelov” during the holidays. In a series of educational games and creative activities the children learned more about biodiversity and recycling and worked with natural and waste materials to prepare exhibitions on ecological topics. The alumni of the Eco Club “Ela” won the national children’s art competition Danube Art Master on topic Be Active, Save the Rivers under the auspices of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River.

The elder students took part in the Eco Academies and could choose among the three main research areas – Eco Technology and Innovations, Eco Politics and Media and Eco and Social Entrepreneurship. This educational project is really innovative. One of the most important results of the project was the creation of a textbook in Informal Ecological Training, which is now available in all schools in Ruse, as well as in the Austrian Elias Canetti Library. The textbook contains fully-developed school syllabi, techniques for interactive teaching illustrated with pictures and diagrams from which teachers could get new ideas for their work at school or which they can directly apply in their praxis.

We managed to prove that the students in Ruse are interested in ecology and that informal training methods could be really successful. The further development of ecological responsibility is in the hands of the young people, their motivated teachers and the specialists from the NGO-s and the government institutions.