Black Sea Box teaches children and teachers to be environmentally conscious

01 Nov 2013

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An interactive conference devoted to a unique international initiative called “Black Sea Box,” was held in Odessa. Black Sea Box is an interactive tool that has united teachers, authorities, ecologists, school children, and environmentalists in 5 regions of Ukraine since 2011 to draw youth’s attention to richness and diversity of the Black Sea, explain what consequences consumer attitude to natural resources brings, and demonstrate how to treat the unique and extremely vulnerable ecosystem of one common sea.

The Black Sea Box conference gathered 30 representatives from five targeted regions of Ukraine: Odessa, Mykolayiv, Kherson oblasts, AR Crimea and Sevastopol. The conference was aimed at summarising the project results of 2013, activate future planning, and  share experiences g between conference participants.

"The Black Sea Box is a very flexible and convenient tool to use,” shares Zuzko Lyudmila, Vice-Principal for Education, Vilinskaya Secondary School # 1, Bakhchisaray region, AR Crimea, “Each teacher can include activities from the tool-kit  according to his or her class  class programme and level. At the same time, use of the Black Sea Box also depends on a school director, who is the gatekeeper of many processes in the school,” she added. Participants discussed strategic, administrative, didactical, technical, and information-communication aspects of the project as well as scientific challenges and proposed solutions.

"The uniqueness  of this project lies in its implementation by the participants themselves,” underlined Kurtmolla Abdulganiev, Programme Analyst of the UNDP Sub-office in Crimea. “This well-developed manual was issued just in time; now it is used in a large number of schools, and teachers successfully incorporate it to their classes. Our next step is to take the Black Sea Box outside of school, start working with parents. Also, we have agreed to create an online platform for sharing experiences, teaching materials, and news. All this will contribute to the better protection of the Black Sea in the long run."

Planning future activities focused on issues such as developing a network of the most advanced teachers and focal persons in each region, and creating a web-platform for storing the project results. The network of five regions was established during the workshop, and focal persons were nominated. The participants discussed the structure of the web-platform. Issues of monitoring were also discussed at the conference. The standards of output monitoring will be established by the project and disseminated in the regions.

The “Black Sea Box” is one of the educational components of the regional project “Every Drop Matters” undertaken with the cooperation of the UNDP and the Coca-Cola Ukraine Company.

The Black Sea Box is an innovative study kit that includes interactive materials for teachers and students.. During the first phase of the project, 1500 Black Sea Box tool kits were disseminated among more than 800 schools of Mykolayiv, Odessa and Kherson oblasts, Sevastopol and Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In 2013, an additional 2500 of the interactive manuals (2500) were published and shipped to the regional schools to maximize coverage in pilot regions. In addition, a number of activities aimed at informing the public on the Black Sea problems were performed.

Black Sea Box is a tool to draw youth’s attention to richness and diversity of the Black Sea, explain what consequences consumer attitude to natural resources brings, and demonstrate how to treat the unique and extremely vulnerable ecosystem of one common sea for our countries. According to scientists’ predictions, the Black Sea is already close to a moribund state – the marine flora and fauna is shrinking, the chemical constitution is changing, and pollution is increasing. This tool offers active interaction of school students and their teachers through educational games and entertaining assignments, directs their energy to perceiving the world around them, and creates the experience of interactive work in groups, which is important in development of social skills in young people.