For the past six months, Phoenix has been continuing its fight for people’s minds trying to conserve rare animals and their habitat by educating local population. We believe that most people get their first knowledge about ecology and develop a sense of respect and caring for the natural environment during their first few years of life, then at primary school they are taught to be responsible towards nature, and shape lifelong attitudes, values, and patterns of behavior toward natural environments. And, educators play a critical role in shaping such attitudes. For many years, the Phoenix Fund has been helping educators to improve their knowledge on local nature and promote nature conservation among children. Children, in their turn, share knowledge they got at kindergartens, schools and eco-centres with their family members.
In view of the above, the environmental education and outreach programme of the Phoenix Fund includes classes with children and youth as well as lectures with adults including educators. Moreover, staff members of the Phoenix Fund take part in various workshops, seminars, conferences in order to share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues.
In 2013, the Phoenix Fund and regional social rehabilitation centre for disadvantaged and at-risk children Sail of Hope established close relationship aimed at raising environmental awareness of children from unprivileged families, cultivating a healthy sense of pride and responsibility for preservation of natural resources, and involving children in nature conservation actions. Often, children from unprivileged families are not taught properly and do not get sufficient knowledge from school programme, not to mention extra-curriculum information on ecological issues. And such children sooner or later become ignorant towards the environment, do harm to nature, and bring their kids up the same way. Our goal is to show the children the beauty of our nature and make them willing to save natural resources for next generation. From May to November 2013, about 85 children attended the eco-lessons given by Phoenix at the centre. Besides eco-lessons for children, Phoenix also held a series of lectures for 35 young specialists working in orphanages and rehab centres all over Primorye. The centres and orphanages were provided by hard copies of reference materials such as “Amur Tiger and Biodiversity of the Ussuriiskaya taiga”, “Nature Is Our Home” and many digital educational materials.
In September-November 2013, Phoenix held three workshops for teachers of Biology/ Geography and of primary school and kindergartens in Nakhodka. About 85 specialists attended the workshops devoted to conservation of local nature and regional materials on ecological education.
On October 29, coordinator of Phoenix’ ecological education projects Alexandre Vrisch consulted the staff of the eco-centre in Luchegorsk; on October 30 he held a workshop for 24 teachers in Birobidjan, Jewish Autonomous Region; and on October 31 Alexandre held a training for 15 teachers in Kukan village, Khabarovsky krai.
Between May and November, Phoenix continued working with eco-centres in Krasnoarmeisky, Pozharsky, Terneisky, Lazovsky and Khasabsky districts of Primorye.
We would like to thank all our sponsors, namely David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Whitley Fund for Nature and others, who kindly provided their financial support for our ecological education and outreach projects.