Besides the standard volunteering projects to help us build trails, GBT also conducts educational projects in partnership with other groups. These projects include wider programs, each of which may vary depending on the wishes of each individual organizational partner. As a result each project has different goals. Our educational projects are offered in the following areas:
These projects are conducted for students who wish to combine practical experience in ecology, biology, geology, geography, landscape design, tourism, and other specialties, along with the actual construction of the trail. This is usually made for student groups who wish to help develop the necessary infrastructure for eco-tourism in the larger Baikal region. On such projects, it is possible for participants to conduct research, and meet with scientific officials from national parks and natural reserves. Each participant lives with Siberian families in homestay situations, and becomes immersed in the local culture through special programming (museum visits, village tours, etc.). We also frequently meet up with foreign groups visiting or studying Lake Baikal.
During the school year, our Great Baikal Trail volunteers often visit classes in schools, most recently in the villages of Vydrino and Tankhoi in the Republic of Buryatia, and the villages of Bolshoye, Maloye Golustnoye, Meget, and Listvyanka here in Irkutsk Oblast. Volunteers prepare lessons in an entertaining way, using translated educational materials as well as traditional educational games. We have developed programs that connect a series of lessons on one theme for everyone’s enjoyment.
For example, the program “The World that We Make Ourselves,” is devoted to the protection of nature, and embodies an active role for the child to play in society, while living in harmony with the environment and with their peers. The program “Ecology and the Environment” includes a series of interactive lessons on various ecosystems – such as our forests, wetlands, and lakes. As a result of lively, playful classes, the children form a holistic appreciation of the living world around them, and come to respect and understand the importance of nature. In carrying out these class visits, as a rule we work closely with a non-profit partnership called: “Defend Baikal Together.”
If you are a educator or school teacher, and are interested in helping us prepare for these kinds of classes, then please contact us here at GBT. If you are fluent in Russian, want to take part in one of our educational projects, you must apply for a project 5-6 months before the start of the summer season, so that we may organize this opportunity for you. If you don’t think you fit under any of the above-mentioned three categories, but you would like to participate in a GBT project with an educational slant, we would be happy to consider your request and offer options for such a camp, if possible.