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Frontpage News 2015 Developing young environmentalists

Piotr Łagocki (left) and Sebastian Bogacz are learning about renewable energy in their classroom in Wroclaw, Poland.
Piotr Łagocki (left) and Sebastian Bogacz are learning about renewable energy in their classroom in Wroclaw, Poland. Photographer: Christophe Vander Eecken

Developing young environmentalists

  • “We teach children and young people how to take care of nature so that they will take responsibility for the environment when they grow up”, says project manager Joanna Handziak-Buczko from Wrocław in Poland.

    In a classroom in the school complex number 4 in the Polish city of Wrocław the students are in deep concentration. They are carefully studying and operating small models that are producing solar and wind power.

    “One day we will run out of resources. Renewable energy will be the solution to generate heat and electricity for our daily lives,” says Sebastian Bogacz (18). Together with his classmate Piotr Łagocki (18) he is checking the solar panel model. Outside the window on the roof of the school real size solar collector is producing energy to heat up the water in the school.

    “I want to work with renewable energy because we need to change to this type of energy to save the planet,” says Piotr Łagocki.

    Practical environmental knowledge
    “At school, the children learn about biology, but they often do not get enough practical knowledge about how to take care of the nature and to protect the environment. That is where we come in,” explains Joanna Hadziak-Buczko from the life-long learning centre in Wrocław, who is managing the project on behalf the municipality of Wrocław

    With support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, Handziak-Buczko and her colleagues are contributing to increase the quality and effects of education in biodiversity and protection of ecosystems in Poland.

    Through the project ‘My green home’ more than 1000 children and young people aged 3-18 from three schools and one kindergarten in Wrocław get the chance to learn more about the importance of biodiversity, the economic value of ecosystems and the use of renewable energy sources.

    “We show them for example how to sort garbage and what new products can be produced from recycled waste. We visit parks, forests, the botanical garden and the zoo. For young people it is easier to understand how their behaviour influences the environment if they go out and see it for themselves,” says Handziak-Buczko.

    See more photos from the project in our media library.

    Understanding the importance of biodiversity
    Poland has an exceptionally rich nature and landscape. The country is a natural habitat for rare species on Europe-wide scale making it particularly responsible for the protection of natural heritage. According to economists, each year the EU lose €450 billion, due to the loss of biodiversity.

    “To get long-term results, we think it is important to start educating children about the importance of biodiversity and protection of the environment from an early age. Then we have a better chance to create behaviour and attitudes that they will bring with them into adult life,” says Handziak-Buczko.

    Two years ago, Wrocław city made it obligatory to recycle household waste. However, it takes time before the habit is established.

    “Wroclaw wants to be greener and take care of its environment. This project is helping us to achieve that,” said Joanna Gondorek from the Municipality of Wrocław

    Renewable energy in practice
    Back in the classroom in in the school complex number 4, the teacher Maciej Popenda is showing and explaining how the solar collector is working. After the school installed the renewable energy equipment, students from other schools are coming here to learn about renewable energy.

    “Before we got the grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, we could not teach anything else than theory as we had no devices. Now the education is much more practical and it is a great improvement,” the teacher says.

    More information
    The project ‘My green home’ is supported by a grant of € 528,254 from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the Polish programme for biodiversity and ecosystem services.
     
    In Poland, the three donor countries also support the reduction of greenhouse gas emission and air pollutants and increasing the use of renewable energy as well as the improvement of environmental monitoring.

    Read more about the project ‘My green home’

    Read about the ‘Biodiversity and ecosystem services’ programme in Poland

    Read about the ‘Energy efficiency and renewable energy’ programme in Poland
    Read about the ‘Improving environmental monitoring and inspection’ programme in Poland

  • Country:

    Poland


    Project title:

    My Green HOME

    Project number:

    PL02-0043

    Priority sector:

    Environmental Protection and Management

    Grant:

    € 528687

    Status:

    In Progress

    Project promoter:

    community Wroclaw

    Type of Institution:

    Regional or local authority

    Project duration:

    34 months

    Project cost:

    € 635,787

    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    My Green HOME aims to increase the quality and effects of education in the field of biological variety and the protection of ecosystems in Poland. It also aims to increase social awareness of biological diversity and to promote education on climatic changes and the economic value of ecosystems. The project objective is to broaden knowledge on the use of renewable energy sources and to increase social awareness of environmental protection in Poland. The increase in knowledge and awareness is expected to lead to the widening of some protected areas of nature, to a greater involvement of local communities in matters related to the planning of infrastructure, and to a change people’s lifestyle priorities. The participants in the project will have the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in the field of natural sciences through direct and active participation in the planned educational activities. The activities include workshops, special activities groups, trips to environmental centers, eco-picnics, and lectures on pro-ecological subjects. The support is intended for kids and youths at the age of 4-19 including some wards of a kindergarten in Wroclaw.