Nature-Watch Baltic Report

WWF (2006)

Nature-watch Baltic is an environmental education project for students. The main target group is 13-16-year old students but primary class students and even kindergarten kids have participated. It was launched by WWF Sweden in 1991 and is coordinated by WWF sister organizations around the Baltic. WWF Sweden financed the project in the Baltic States and Poland until they became members of the EU in 2004. Russia still receives some support. The project started with common questionnaires (coast, stream and lake) to investigate water-plants and animals, and to do chemical analyses. The materials for studying forest ecosystems and society – “Watch 21” - were developed later. In its peak year - 2001 - over 20,000 students from around the Baltic Sea participated. Besides the practical outdoor activities for students, the teacher-training courses have been a very important part of the project. A number of international camps, conferences and meetings were organized in different countries. The project has been a major step in raising young people’s environmental awareness, encouraging them to act in a more sustainable way. Curious students, devoted teachers and coordinators have established a strong and effective network. Now, in 2007, Naturewatch goes on! To our previous programs we are adding P-STOP, an outreach activity for teaching and learning about eutrophication. Another component will encourage students to be informed about, and advocate for, use of phosphate-free detergents and better sewage cleaning in their local towns and shops.