06.05.2014 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Education for Sustainable Development in Protected Areas and Biosphere Reserves

© Lemur12 - View of the city of Amfissa in Phocis, Greece

The summer school on Education for Sustainable Development in Protected Areas and Biosphere Reserves will be held on 6-19 July 2014 in Amfissa, Greece. It is jointly organized by the UNESCO Chair and Network on sustainable development, management and education in the Mediterranean and the University of Athens.

The school is addressed to postgraduate students and structured within the framework of the ERASMUS Intensive Programme on Education for Sustainable Development in Protected Areas and Biosphere Reserves for post-graduate students.

The school will provide high quality intensive training to post-graduate students to effectively apply Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in various types of designated areas among which Biosphere Reserves, National Parks and Natura 2000 sites.

The summer school ultimately promotes Designated Areas and especially Biosphere Reserves as "learning laboratories" ideal for applying education for sustainable development. It does not come as a standalone initiative but is yet another step in a long lasting fruitful collaboration of a team of partners engaged with the promotion of ESD in designated areas.

The content and methods of the school are based, to a large extend on the UNESCO publication entitled "Education for Sustainable Development in Biosphere Reserves and other Designated Areas: A Resource Book for Educators in South-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean" that has been developed in 2013 as a training material for ESD experts and trainers.

The school will be based on the main ESD principles and methods including critical thinking, participatory processes, interdisciplinary and systemic approaches, as well as skills enhancing employability. There will be provision during the design/development phase of the school so that all sessions will be learner-centred, task-driven and group and/or peer work. The content is based on the aforementioned book and will be enriched with real scenarios: e.g. learners may compare management plans of Designated Areas and draw conclusions; interview staff of DAs on the educational activities applied, etc.

All sessions will include 3 parts: (i) a type of introductory - formative activity to elicit students’ knowledge and skills on the session’s topic; (ii) the basic theoretical presentation/lecture; (iii) the implementation activity (workshop) during which the students will apply the new knowledge i.e. issue analysis, problem solving exercises, future scenarios, case studies, etc. Furthermore, the school will include sessions devoted to field work and the use of ITs. Participants will be evaluated frequently using various tools (short questionnaires, games, peer-evaluation, a reviewing exercise, etc.) not only to assess their progress, but also in order to indicate whether some session should be adjusted to meet their needs. On the last day of the school, students will participate in an evaluation session where they will have the opportunity to reflect on the school in its totality.

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This activity is organized as a direct follow-up to the ESD training seminar organized from 19-20 October in Canada, within the framework of the EuroMAB 2013 Network Meeting, and during which a Working Group on ESD related activities was established with the purpose of contributing, among various tasks, to the organization of training opportunities.

The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), will support the attendance in this summer school of 10 young experts nominated by their MAB National Committee and already involved in educational activities in Biosphere Reserves, coming from Bulgaria, France, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


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