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Children — our future. Ecological education

© WWF Central Asia / Yurij Chikin
© WWF Russia / Viktor Lukarevskij
© WWF Russia / Olga Pereladova

While planning and starting implementation of any field projects, the main attention of WWF is addressed not towards just today’s effect of using money. Neigther preparation of any instructions and plans is an end of itself for us -even if these plans can be very important and correct. They won’t be useful, if there is no clarity who will implement these plans — and where from the funding for that can arrive. The most important goal of our work — is to make common people understand, that taking care of their own nature — it’s their own concern. In fact we don’t pretend to come up with something new: unity with nature is one of the deepest national traditions of the people of Central Asia.

It’s a pity — but a lot of these traditions are partly forgotten — or not used in practice. But it happens not because something really better exists — but because some easier way exist, which were invented — and to which people got used within the previous half a century.

So, how to revive old national traditions, how to renew commonality of people, living on the land — and nature?

There different ways to achieve this goal — and we try to use all possibilities. It includes direct work with local people — personal discussions, training seminars — and efficiency of this work is proved by our leopard conservation project.

It includes lots of publications — in national newspapers, special leaflets and booklets, radio and TV broadcasts… All of them are aimed on arousing national pride of the beauty of Turkmen nature — and on feeling responsibility for it — not somebody’s, but personal responsibility of each person, living on this land.

We consider training of children to be one of the most efficient activities of this type of work. Our project participants, the staff of state zapovedniks, as well as teachers of schools conduct special lessons; carry out concourses of paintings, compositions and even poems, put on the stage performances, in which main heroes are animals, inhabiting surrounding landscapes. Children come for excursions — to the museums of the zapovedniks and to the wild nature, where experienced teachers explain them how lot of miracles exist around — in the habitual surrounding landscape. There lots of forms of such activities — and children’s summer camps (rallies) proved to be one of the most efficient. The first «ecological camp» was organized some years ago in Uzbekistan. Since then they became practically every-year events and were very successful in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, planed in the nearest future in Kyrgyzstan. We invite children and adult trainers from different regions of the country, from different ecological clubs — to participate in them. But the possible number of participants is for sure limited — and in order to be included, children need to prove their deep interest, their sincere love to the nature. This is one of the reasons to organize widely concourses — of paintings and handicrafts, compositions and poems. Winners come together. And further on programs can be different. Children altogether learn the basis of ecology in Tajikistan, while in Turkmenistan they are divided into " families» — deer, kulans, leopards…(in accordance to the species’ projects, on-going in the country). There are common lessons and exercises — for all participants. But partly each «family» lives its own life — try to go into details and to understand the needs and the difficulties of the life of «their» species, to understand natural laws which determine the rules of this life. After the teams tell each other all they have learnt. And then, after parting which never happens without tears — children bring this knowledge and understanding of nature into their own families, villages and schools, to the soldiers on the border posts. So, we are not just working with some limited number of children — but we conduct training of trainers — so that this knowledge and understanding is further on widely disseminated. And we are absolutely sure, that these children when grown ups will love, understand their nature — and do their best for the next generations to see their motherland even more beautiful.