The active summer vacation is coming to an end and schools are ready to start again. The Uzhhorod Department of Education organised the educational conference “Innovative experience for future” and invited European Wilderness Society to take part on 27th of August. The European Wilderness Society presented its exhibition “Human-Nature Coexistence” and trained 27 educators on this topic in a separate workshop.
Amongst the participant were very active and enthusiastic primary and secondary school and nursery teachers. Teachers from Biology, Chemistry, Health, Physical education, and Music, but also school Counsellors and physiologists participated to increase their knowledge and awareness on human-nature coexistence.
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Discover Wilderness in your country
The teachers first tried to explain how they understand the important role of Wilderness. They also shared how they can support Wilderness through their work. Some keywords that were mentioned during this short brainstorm exercise: immortality, “cradle of life”, primeval, non-intervention, revival, harmony and beauty, and self-sufficient ecosystems.
After that the participants discussed where Wilderness and large protected areas are still available in the Ukrainian Transcarpathian region. Most of the teachers did not visit these beautiful areas yet, like the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, National Nature Parks Synevyr, NNP Zacharovanyy kray and NNP Uzhanskyy. Some participants were surprised to hear that there is Wilderness in the majority of these protected areas already. The Partners from the European Wilderness Network in this area already include for example Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh Wilderness, Uholka-Shyrokyy Luh WILDForest, Shyrokyy Luh WILDRiver, Velyka Uholka WILDRiver, Mala Uholka WILDRiver, Kuziy-Trybushany WILDForest, Zacharovanyy Kray Wilderness, and Zacharovanyy Kray WILDForest.
What many participants also did not know, is that these four Protected Areas contain primeval and old-growth forests that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”.
Understanding human-nature coexistence
You can find Wilderness usually in core zones, covering often not more 10% of the protected areas. Consequently, Wilderness thus covers only a fraction of a whole region. This way it allows human activities like traditional grazing, agriculture, mushroom and berry picking. Even recreation can take place, outside the Wilderness. Nevertheless, people should try to respect the nature and treat it with care. Not only because of its economic, but also because of ecological and aesthetic values.
When people better understand nature, its processes, plants and animals, this can lead to a positive change in attitude towards nature. Especially with large carnivores, this can help the protection of species and nature. And teachers are not only educating future biologists, but also economists, engineers, lawyers, businessman and particularly decision-makers. Therefore, their knowledge on sustainable human-nature coexistence is very important. For example, the participants discussed the current situation in Svydovets, where potential ski resort threatens valuable area.
Joint educational plans
The European Wilderness Society also presented more information about our projects and educational materials, such as the well-known Wilderness Journal ‘Wild 5’. The participants were all very interested to continue joint educational activities with the European Wilderness Society. Together we planned the exhibition to travel around the region until May 2019. The exhibition will visit different schools and institutions.
The exhibition consists of life-size Wolf, Bear, Lynx, Golden Jackal printed on wood. A collection of informative banners supports these animals. In addition there are banners on effective herd management, European Wilderness Network, and the European Wilderness Society. Together with local partners, European Wilderness society will search for ways to support the travelling exhibition financially.
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