Over the course of each year, ERA hosts a variety of Environmental Education and Awareness activities and campaigns. These programs include both formal segments, implemented through local schools, and informal segments that focus on ‘experiental’ learning. There are very few opportunities for youth and local citizens to learn about good environmental practices and sustainable development. Resources in this region are scarce and there still remains no component of environmental education included in the school systems or provided formally within communities.
ERA’s environmental education programs are designed either as day-activities at the Environmental Education Center, or excursions and oversnight trips with local youth (ages 8-17) to destinations in Rugova such as the Waterfall Trail, Hajla, and various peak locations. Educational themes include topics like “Signs of Wildlife”, “Leave No Trace (LNT)”, “Forest Preservation/illegal logging”, or sustainable development. In addition to cooperating with local schools and the municipality, ERA also works with other local and international organizations on many occasions – for example, partnering with UNDP Hot Spots in 2008 to host a series of environmental education programs for multiethnic youth.
Here is sample of the popular activities that we offer at the Environmental Education Center:
1. Felting- It is a procedure in which participants have to learn the process of how to make different items using only colored wool, and to get the feeling of how our ancestors have made our traditional clothes. During the process of felting participants get the feeling of how our participants used to make the traditional clothes.
2. Coloring- Participants have to color different illustrations which present different environmental and traditional elements such as: cycling, animals footprints, traditional food, sustainability, etc.
3. Planting flowers- Participants have outdoor activities and get information of how important the plants are to humans. They also help on rising the green spaces of our city.
4. Create your own animal- During this activity the participants create their own animals from materials called pom-poms, the importance of this activity is that the participants can learn more about the wild life and animals. The feeling that they get from this activity is that of the creator, and the protector of their own creation.
5. Into the Jungle- Near our center we have a garden, which looks like a small jungle. Participants study and look to insects in the garden. They learn to appreciate all living creatures and learn about the invertebrates.
6. Testing the water qulity- Come to test the water quality! Calculate the flow, analyze pH, nitrates, etc..
7. Other activities- Outdoor games, team building activities, movie screenings, treasure hunting , etc.