Saturday, July 24, 2010

New education manual outlines environmental issues & steps to identify practical solutions…

Armenia Tree Project has released a new edition of its innovative “Plant an Idea, Plant a Tree” environmental education manual. “Plant an Idea, Plant a Tree” was introduced in 2005 when ATP published Armenia’s first teacher’s manual for environmental education, compiled and written by Karla Wesley. It received approval from Armenia’s Ministry of Education and Science for integration into the secondary school system.

Plant an Idea, Plant a Tree” quickly gained in popularity among teachers and schoolchildren. Since 2006, ATP’s environmental education staff has trained hundreds of teachers in different regions of Armenia and the manual became an indispensable part of their classes.

Last year, ATP worked with teachers and experts from the National Institute of Education to make the manual fully compatible with official curriculum standards. The manual was enriched with lessons on climate change, starting a youth eco-club, and civic engagement. New lessons were drafted by Armenian educators and scientists, and the manual has a particular focus on forests and sustainable development. Of particular interest, the English edition includes an exclusive translation of Hovhannes Toumanian’s poem, “The Beetle School,” and a lesson on a unique breed of shepherd dog that is endemic to Armenia.

The OSCE Yerevan Office partnered with ATP to support the publication of the Armenian edition. Deputy Head Carel Hostra noted that he placed great value on the new manual. “The manual is important as it doesn’t dwell only on nature protection, but also emphasizes the responsibility of individuals towards nature protection. Let’s change the world starting with ourselves,” stated Mr. Hostra.

Environmental Education Program Manager Alla Berberyan pointed out that this was a completely new step for teachers in Armenia. “Teachers have taken a lead role in the elaboration of the manual, became deeply familiar with the modern methodology standards of education, and gained the relevant knowledge and skills to create a new teaching tool,” emphasized Ms. Berberyan at the launch of the new edition.