The project “Small Rivers – Big Challenges” - ecological lesons for schools

At the end of April, schools in three districts of Vitebsk region will launch a series of ecological lessons on ways of performing chemical analysis of water resources. Already in the middle of May, during expeditions along the small rivers of the three districts, the students will be able to apply their knowledge.
The lessons will be organized specifically for the participants of 15 school ecological clubs that had been established as a result of the project “Small Rivers – Big Challenges”. It has been realized in Glubokoe, Postavy, and Sharkovschina districts of Vitebsk region, northern Belarus, thanks to financial support from the European Union.
Each eco-club has a compact chemical lab that contains reagents to detect detrimental elements in water, such as phosphates or nitrates. During the lessons, those students who have never used the labs before, will get a chance to study their characteristics, while more “experienced” students will be able to improve their skills in conducting chemical analysis of water from small rivers. In addition, the lessons will concern more general topics, including the role that small rivers play in bigger water systems that sometimes span several countries.
In  school No2 of Sharkovschina, an ecological lesson “When there is a river, there is life” was already conducted
It is expected that around 30 such lessons will be held. Just like other classes at Belarusian schools, they will end at the end of May. This is not the first series of such lessons within the framework of the project “Small Rivers – Big Challenges”. Last year, more than 100 of them touched upon the topics of importance and susceptibility of small rivers. The lessons helped to attract active students to the school ecological clubs.
And in May 16, this year, the eco-clubs will set off on new expeditions along the small rivers of the three districts participating in the project. The students will study the chemical composition of the water (these data can be then viewed on the special website and collect garbage along the banks of the rivers. Unfortunatelysome previous expeditions demonstrated that there is an abundance of such garbage. Forinstance, in October 2014, during only three expeditions,their participants managed to collect more than 50 bags of garbage, the volume of each was 220 liters!
It is worth noting that the expeditions on May 16 will be mounted within the framework of and thanks to financial support from the Week of Sustainable Development 2015. The support was gained on a competitive basis, which means that the initiative “Small Rivers – Big challenges” has appreciable importance to the preservation of water resources of Vitebsk region.
The Week of Sustainable Development is organized by the Johannes Rau Minsk International Education Centre and the Support Programme of Belarus of the Federal Government of Germany, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, Scientific and Research Institute of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus.  



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