Environmental education in Romania
The ideas and first beginnings
During the winter semester of 2010/2011 and also during the summer semester 2011 the seminars “Umweltbildung in Rumänien” took place at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. These seminars have been initiated by a students association for development assistance “StAgEz e.V.”. This association was founded by Brunswick geoecology students. Due to contacts to Romania StAgEz had the idea of organizing an environmental education program in a rural school for one week. The program should be lead by German and Romanian students. But the big question was how to deal with the financial support.
The in 2006 established college tuitions was the answer to this question. The request for financial support in order to establish the seminar, which was back then innovative for the Technische Universität Braunschweig, was approved from the decision makers. With the purpose of not only creating the concept but also implementing it, there had to be organized some money to enable a field trip to Romania. Therefore, it was brought forward a motion to the European Union, which thanks to the program “Youth in action” supported such ideas. This request was also granted immediately.
Successful implementation on site
The goal of the seminar in winter semester 2010/2011 was to create a concept, in which environmental educational programs with topics of soil, water, air and garbage/recycling could be developed. The aim was to bring the Romanian children closer to the topics in a playful but also scientific way. For this reason the Romanian students and the teacher of the school were involved in the creation of the concepts. It was easier for them to transfer the knowledge to the children. It was also a very new experience for the leader of the seminar Christine Székely, but she mastered it brilliantly. Because at the end of the semester there was an entire concept for each topic written in English. The concepts have been realized in a German school to be able to optimize them later. Now, we were ready to start the realization in Romania.
Between March 23rd and April 1st 2011 twelve German and eight Romanian students met in Maureni. It is a little village in the historical region of Banat. There has been an entire week in which the students worked every morning with the pupils from grade one to four. In that time we installed a school garden, built a compost und realized experiments. During the weekends the students were able to make field trips, because that’s a part of the “Youth in Action” program. That is the only way to support intercultural experiences – next to working on the environmental educational programs. The trip was a big success for everyone involved – the students, the seminar leader, the pupils, the teachers and of course, the village.
To be continued with new ideas
Because of the huge success we were sure that this is not supposed to be done with one trip. Right after the realization we handed in an additional application for a second seminar in the summer semester 2011. It was granted without any trouble. Christine Székely could be allured a second time as seminar leader. As a consequence of new seminar participants, we could create a lot of new input. This time we concentrated on “renewable energy”. For this topic we created the subtopics of “solar energy”, “biomass”, “wind energy” and “hydro energy”. We took the trip from September 21st to September 30th 2011 and worked with students from grade five to eight of the same school as before. Together we built a windmill, produced biogas, experimented with solar panels and played games. At last we enjoyed a week filled with new impressions and experiences.
All in all, we can say that the project was really successful. After the projects ended, a partnership between the school in Maureni and an elementary school in Braunschweig has been initiated. The Romanian students are now working together to develop their own project. Additionally we should not forget the development of every participant’s cultural experience. Because of the positive feedback we could establish a new environmental seminar in the winter semester 2012/13. But this time we will be working with Turkish students and pupils.