Connecting Protected areas with local schools

Published: 12 February 2020
Last edited: 12 February 2020

Cooperation between PAs and local schools had benefits for both sides. PA staff implements education activities according to their management plan and gets a strong partner in local schools for promoting PAs natural and cultural values to the local community. The schools get the chance to implement outdoor activities and enrich the extra curricula activities in the school. 

 

Cooperation between the PA and the schools includes: 

1. Ambassador school project teams in cooperation with PA focal point develop a detailed program for the school project. The program includes specific activities and a timeline for implementation.

2. Implementation of project activities is from December to May. Activities can be implemented in the school (during winter months – workshops, surveys, art work) or outdoors in the protected areas (during spring months) and should include as many pupils as possible.  

3. Ambassadors schools promote the values of the PAs and their project results to the local media.

4. Each project team writes the final report and submits it to WWF prior to the final event. 

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

1. Protected areas have integrated educational activities in their management and annual plan.

2. Schools have to be informed about the program on time in order to integrate the activity into the annual school plan.

3. PAs and schools have to plan activities on time in order to have enough time to implement them during school year.

4. All students need the consent of their parents/legal guardian for the participation in the project as it involves activities outside of school and usage of photo and video materials.

Lessons learned

  • It is important that each Protected area has a dedicated contact person for educational programs.
  • If PAs don’t have trained staff for implementing educational activities, find or organize additional trainings for them (nature interpretation, outdoor activities, experiential learning).
  • Include 2 teachers from each ambassador school as it can easily happen that one of them is absent for a longer period. This ensures a continuous project implementation. If possible include teachers from lower and higher grades.
  • Organize a visit of the Ambassador school project team to the PA immediately after the training in order to start the cooperation and develop the project activities together.
  • Organise mandatory visits of project coordinator to each Ambassador school during the academic year.
  • Involve students from lower grades in order to keep them actively involved in the school for several years – this encourages peer education and develops leadership skills.