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Environmental education and awareness (EEA) in the City of Prague

(the text below is based on the chapter Environmental education and awareness (EEA) in the City of Prague published in yearbooks Prague Environment 2006, Prague Environment 2005 and Prague Environment 2004)

 

toulcův dvůr

Environmental education and awareness (EEA) (herein after as the EEA) is a system, which leads to the acquiring of knowledge, skills and habits, forming hierarchy of values and life style necessary for environmental protection towards sustainable development at local as well as global scale. It accentuates the direct contact to nature and practice, completely understood issues, utilisation of the most modern findings for their solution, and locality-specific features. The EEA is focused on the whole population, which is further subdivided depending on specific objectives and means into main target groups as follows: personnel of public administration, children and the youth, private enterprises, and the general (lay-by) public. Special stress is put on the EEA in children and the youth because the whole life attitudes and habits are formed at the early age.

 

Fundamental documents at national and international levels

logotype of eea in the czech republic

The EEA implementation is anchored within the valid legislation (namely the Act No. 123/1998 Code on the right for environmental information as amended by the following regulations – amended by the Act No. 132/2000 Code, the Act No. 114/1992 Code on nature conservation and landscape protection, the Act No. 17/1992 Code on the environment, and the Act No. 561/2004 Code on the pre-school, elementary, secondary, higher professional, and other education (the education act)). In general, the EEA is also based on international documents (Directive 2003/4/EC of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and cancelling the Directive 90/313 EEC, Aarhus Convention, and Agenda 21).

The fundamental conceptual documents at the national level in the EEA field are the State Programme of EEA of the Czech Republic (SP EEA CR, the document approved by the Decision of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 1048 of 23 October 2000) and the following action plans (the current one is the Action Plan SP EEA CR for 2007 to 2009 (approved by the Decision of the Government of the Czech Republic No. 1155 of 11 October 2006)). The strategic objective of the SP EEA CR is the application of sustainability principles in practise of the whole education structure of the society. Following to the aforementioned conceptual documents the preparations of regional systems and concepts of the EEA have been carried out in respective regions.

In 2001 the Ministry of the Youth, Education, and Sports of the Czech Republic issued the Methodical Instruction on Environmental Education and Awareness at Schools and Educational Facilities recommending the establishing of EEA school coordinators. Environmental education is also dealt with in the Decree No. 317/2005 Code on further education of pedagogical workers in wording of the following regulations.

In 2005 the UN declared the Decade of Sustainable Education and in March the same year the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) adopted by acclamation the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development at the High-level meeting of education and environment ministries in Vilnius, Lithuania. At present the National strategy of education for sustainable development is being developed under the supervision of the Ministry of the Youth, Education, and Sports of the Czech Republic

 

Implemented through the Prague City Hall and organizations established by the City of Prague

The City of Prague is active in this area following to the aforementioned national conceptual documents, effective legislation, and international documents. The EEA issues also form a part of the Programme Declaration of the Council of the City of Prague for 2002 to 2006. In 2002 the Council of the City of Prague (hereinafter as “the Council”) approved, in its Decision No. 1741 of 22 November 2002 “Objectives and major tasks of the EEA on the territory of the City of Prague” following to the State Programme of the EEA of the Czech Republic.

In 2004 the Regional Concept of the EAA in the City of Prague (RC EEA) was developed within a project implemented by the team of the Centre for Community Planning of Central Bohemia (CpKP Střední Čechy) and Regional Environmental Centre of the CR (REC ČR). The main outcome of the project – “Regional Concept of Environmental Education and Awareness on the Territory of the City of Prague” – was approved by the Decision of the Council of the City of Prague No. 0121 of 1st February 2005. The concept should become the basic strategic document in this area till 2015.

For the territory of the City of Prague the following vision was set: “In 2015 the inhabitants of the City of Prague shall be aware and have high quality information on EEA, shall act in accordance with sustainable development principles and shall be aware of their responsibility for environmental protection”. In order to achieve this vision coming true a functional integrated EEA system shall be created which shall uniformly cover the whole territory of the city of Prague.

The priority areas of the EEA concept are the following:

  • education, training and expert support to the EEA;
  • providing of information on activities of environmental education and awareness;
  • system for financing of environmental education and awareness activities;
  • positive motivation of environmentally sound behaviour and promotion of EEA activities;
  • communication in the area of EEA;
  • number large enough of areas for the EEA implementation.

 

Following the aforementioned decision the OOP MHMP initiated in August 2006 the assembly of expert working group, which worked out the Action Plan of RC EEA of the City of Prague for 2007. The given action plan was approved by the City Council in its Decision No. 1322 of 29 August 2006 and includes fundamental priority activities in the EEA field for 2007.

A number of partial activities of EEA have been implemented by respective department so Prague City Hall for a long time. The EEA issues are namely within the scope of activities of the Department of Environmental Protection – OOP (till 30 June 2005 the Department of the City Greenery – OMZ), Department of the City Infrastructure – OIM (transferred under the OOP by 15 March 2006), Department of Education – SKU, and Department of Informatics – INF.

In 2004 employees of these departments and sections participated in the development of the RC EEA. The party ordering on behalf of the city of Prague was OMZ, which coordinated and provided for the whole preparation process. Representatives of the OIM and SKU departments were members of the Steering Committee, which played the role of a reviewer to the Project Party Ordering.

 

The most important activities of the Prague City Hall departments in the field of EEA in 200¨6:

Department of Environmental Protection of the Prague City Hall

The Department deals with agenda related to grants to support projects improving the environment in the City of Prague, which are declared by the Prague City Hall. EEA is also one of the thematic areas thereof. The Department also provides for preparations of information and educational materials and events on environmental protection (especially focused on nature and city greenery conservation and waste management themes.

Selected activities in 2006:

Nature trails – opened a new NT in the premises of ES Bártlova and renewed NT Roztocký Groove – Tiché údolí (Calm Valley) on its original route; installation of information boards on the ongoing reconstructions of Prague’s lakes and water courses, their history and nature values of their immediate surroundings (Lake Velký Počernický, Lake Čimický, reservoir “Černý most”, Little Stream in the Royal Game Preserve, lake in the Game Reserve Hvězda – installing of five lakes); continuing preparations and installations of new information boards into specially protected areas (installed in 8 SPAs); expert guided tours to small surface area SPAs (admission free, under guidance of professional guide); pasture of sheep and goats on specially protected areas in Prague (this event is to support awareness of biological diversity importance in landscape and on ways of its protection have been run already for sixth year); every-year-held event on the Children Day in the Royal Game Preserve Stromovka organised in cooperation with the civil association Antioch.

 
Department of Education of the Prague City Hall

The Department deals with agenda related to City-wide programmes on education support, which are every year announced by the City of Prague. Projects on EEA can also be submitted within these programmes.

Selected activities in 2006:

The implementation of the project “Creating and evaluating of programmes for education and awareness for sustainable development at elementary and secondary schools of Prague (shortly called “Eco-literacy”) within the use of financial resources from Structural Funds of the European Union (JPD3) has running since October 2005. The project is co-financed by the European Social Fund, State Budget of the Czech Republic, by the Municipal Budget of the City of Prague. The project objective is awareness of sustainable development and support to environmental education, and awareness in the network of 31 Prague’s schools (out of them 11 elementary ones, 11 grammar schools, 7 secondary professional schools, and 2 higher professional schools) by means of trained methodologists of EEA. The partners of the project Eco-literacy are the Faculty of Education of Charles University in Prague, Club of Environmental Education. The tow-year-long project has allocated finances of CZK 17 million.

 

Department of the City Infrastructure of the Prague City Hall

(by 15 March 2006 transferred under the OOP)

The Department deals with EEA concentrated especially on the field of waste management. In cooperation with other organisations (Pražské služby, a. s., EKO-KOM, a. s., ECOBAT, s. r. o., České sběrné suroviny Co., authorities of City Districts of Prague, and others) prepares information materials for citizens on waste management in the City of Prague distributed to households and to schools and kindergartens and to non-governmental organisations within the framework of support to various projects and events focused on waste. The materials are available at the Information Centres of the Prague City Hall, at City District Authorities, and at certain Prague’s libraries and at certain organisations established by the Prague City Hall (Zoological Garden, Botanical Garden, Observatory and Planetarium).

Selected activities in 2006:

An environmental education event for pupils of first grade of the Prague’s ESs (February 2006, games and information materials concerning issues of waste management and the City cleanliness, the event running already for the third school year, 219 ESs involved); series of lectures for teachers of Prague’s elementary schools (March 2006, theme “Issues of waste generation and its sorting”; 80 teachers of 71 elementary schools participated); Information campaign on waste for the public within the Earth day celebration (already for the second year within the Earth Day celebration, that year at 14 City Districts); competitions in collecting at Prague’s elementary schools and kindergartens (12. competition under the name of “Great Prize of Nestlé and Czech Raw Material Collection Co.”, 117 schools participated); leaflet on the paper sorting into all Prague’s households (June 2006).

 

Department of Informatics of the Prague City Hall

The department provides for routine operation of the Prague Environmental Information System, which includes, among others, preparations of the Yearbook Prague – The Environment, internet applications for the public as the Atlas of the Environment, PREMIS, and the City internet pages on environmental issues (ENVIS).

Selected activities in 2006:

The publishing and distribution of the Yearbook Prague – Environment 2005, distribution CD-ROM Prague – Environment 6, periodic updating of the Atlas of the Environment (waste management, nature conservation and landscape protection, etc. and putting under operation of internet applications Prague for Cyclists (www.praha-mesto.cz/cyklo).

In 2006 the City of Prague joined in active manner the Pan-European project named European Mobility Week, which was held in September 2006. The project included events of the Day of Prague’s Railways (exhibition, Municipal Line extended from Libeň to Hostivař, deployment of modern vehicles), Day of Prague’s Public Transport (exhibition, open door day, presentation of the fleet), Car Free Weekend (Smetanovo Embankment, Křížovnická Str. – temporary pedestrian zone, exhibitions, street cafés), Cycling Day (exhibition, opening of new cycling route in Braník) and Race against Time (public municipal transport compared to car and to bicycle).


Among the basic pillars of the EEA system on the territory of the City of Prague there are schools and educational facilities.

 
Kindergartens:

The implementation of environmental education in kindergartens in the Czech Republic has been performed on the basis of the Framework Programme for the Preschool Education, which accentuates also the environmental education and awareness. The aim is to establish in children namely elementary awareness of surrounding world and its events and human impacts on the environment. A portion of kindergarten in the City of Prague is focused on EEA, others use only some of the elements thereof (Note: Since the school year 2004/2005 there has been the Environmental Kindergarten Little Seed running on the premises of the Centre of Environmental Education of the City of Prague Toulcův dvůr). Kindergartens include into their education programmes thematic circles of activities leading to the understanding of relations in between human, natural, and social environment, environmental protection, and building of positive relations in the form of various fine art or work activities. Hey also perform away trips to school in nature, visits to centres of environmental education on the territory of he City of Prague, environmental competitions, paper collecting, etc. A portion of kindergartens participates in the projects focused on the EEA, for example, as “M.R.K.E.V.” (Methodology and Implementation of Comprehensive Environmental Education), or projects close to EEA as “Healthy Kindergarten”.

 
Elementary schools:

The extent and implementation of EEA at elementary schools are affected by the chosen educational programme (National School, General School, Elementary school) and other factors as especially intensive preparations for the adoption of the Framework educational programme, in which EEA is given a great attention. Since the school year 2007/2008 elementary schools shall implements the own school education al programmes which EEA shall be a part and parcel thereof. EEA shall go through the whole education at both levels of the elementary school and also forms a number of school and out-of-school activities. The Scope and methods of EEA are developed into educational plans of respective subjects.

The MEYS CR recommendations includes also the establishing of the school coordinator of EEA are respected by majority of elementary schools. As of yet only 11 school coordinators of Prague’s elementary schools attend the accredited specialised study for the school coordinators organised by the Club of Environmental Education within the programme “Eco-literacy”.

Almost the half of the Prague’s elementary schools is involved into long-term projects (international or national) concentrated on EEA (project M.R.K.E.V., SSEV Web, projects GLOBE or ECOSCHOOL of the Association for the Environmental Education TEREZA, project On tour after NATURA of the REC CR etc.) or close to EEA (project Healthy School organised by SZÚ) or are members of the Club for Environmental Education (KEV). Schools also utilise environmental education programmes offered by centres of environmental education (Association for the Environmental Education TEREZA, Eco-centre Mycelium, Centre of Environmental Education of the City of Prague Toulcův dvůr, etc.). In 2006 all ESs in Prague received multimedia aid for teachers and pupils of the 2nd level called the Green Package (project of the REC CR).

 
Grammar schools

At grammar schools the educational content of EEA is implemented in numerous subjects and partly applied also in the secondary professional education. Quality and intensity of EEA depend first of all on the approach of school management and teachers to the issues. The situation is expected to improve in relation to the implementation of the prepared framework education programmes for secondary schools.

The position of the school coordinator has been established at some of secondary schools so far and the specialised study has been passed by school coordinators of grammar schools and secondary professional schools with the project of Eco-literacy.

21 secondary schools in Prague are members of the CEE and majority of them participate in project of Eco-literacy. A part of secondary schools participate in long-term projects (national and international) concentrated on EEA (for example, projects GLOBE (6 schools), Eco-school (3 schools), Do not be afraid of waste (10 schools), Landscape behind the School (6 schools), Three Steps to Active Teaching (7 schools) of the Association TEREZA. Students also participate in fine art and literature contests and the environmental conference of secondary schools organised by the CEE. In 2006 the Prague Olympics in Ecology organised by the Club of Environmental Education in cooperation with the Prague City Hall and the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Science of the Charles University in Prague for all Prague’s secondary schools was held.

Teachers have the opportunity to participate in professional seminars organised by the below mentioned organisations, courses for the school coordinators, specialised studies for the school coordinators of EEA arranged by the Club of Environmental Education, and other events organised by the National Institute for Further Education.

Other organisations falling under the responsibility of the City also perform EEA activities as, for example, the Prague Botanical Garden, Prague Zoological Garden, Observatory and Planetarium of the City of Prague, House of the Children and Youth of the City of Prague. An important part of the activities is focused on the adult public as well.


Implemented by means of other organisations

Universities

Universities: At present there are 26 universities active on the territory of the City of Prague. The faculties preparing future teachers dedicate their activities to issues of environmental protection, sustainable development and the EEA at various extent within the preparations of pedagogical staff, namely Faculty of Education of the Charles University and Faculty of Science of the Charles University, which also participate in the delivery of the project of the JPD3 “Environmental literacy” (creating and evaluating of programmes for sustainable education and awareness at elementary and secondary schools of Prague). Majority of universities participates in the education of experts focused on environmental issues and sustainable development at various extents and various concentrations on. Detailed information can be found at Internet pages of the respective universities.

On the territory of the City of Prague there are numerous professional institutions falling into the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (MEYS CR), which are active nation-wide (National Institute for Further Education, Institute for Children and the Youth of MEYS CR, Pedagogical Research Institute in Prague, National Institute of Professional Education).

 

Activities of non-government, non-profit organisations (NGOs)

the earth day, prague 2004The non-government, non-profit organisations have been implementing an important part of activities in the EAA field focused on the public, children, and youth. In Prague there are 26 national or local organisations active dealing with the EEA in children and youth either as their core activity or one activity of their activities portfolio. A special group of NGOs important for the EEA in Prague are centres of environmental education and eco-centres. In Prague there are several professional organisations specialised in the EEA – members of the national Association of SSEV Web (Eco-Centre Mycelium and Environmental Centre/Centre of Environmental Education of the City of Prague Toulcův dvůr), eco-centres of the CUNC (Association of Young Nature Conservationists and its Centre for Children and the Youth, and other accredited eco-centres of the CUNC) and the Association Tereza.

 

Selected activities of in Prague in 2006
(organisations are in abecedary order):

The Eco-Centre Mycelium: The civil association offers to the elementary and secondary schools of Prague especially environmental education programmes on over 30 interesting and updated issues and also seminars for teachers, were they may acquire practical skills and inspiration for the implementation of environmental education at their schools. In 2006 2,000 children passed the educational programmes and the seminars were attended by 40 teachers.

Educational events for the public, so-called “eco-days“ (the Earth Day in cooperation with the CD Prague 12, the Tree Day along with the Association Tereza and the CD Prague 13, We are Not Lazy in Greenery in cooperation of the BC the CUNC Koniklec); environmental education programmes for elementary and secondary schools in Prague and surroundings (100 programmes for approx. 2,000 participants); series of seminars for teachers on “Interactive Methods in Environmental Education” and “Animal Protection”; and are partners to the Association TEREZA in projects “Three Steps to Active Teaching” and “Landscape behind the School” concentrated on the support to introduction of motivating and innovative methods into the school education.

The Club of Environmental Education is a national professional civil association of schools and teachers, which vast majority of activities is focused on professional and methodological improvement of competence of teachers for the EEA. At present it has already 35 members in Prague coming from elementary and secondary schools (and furthermore the National Institute for Further Education, Institute for Education and Consultancy of ZU, and other approximately individual members). The CEE is accredited by the MEYS CR as environmental educational facility, has the accredited study programme and a number of respective events – seminars, courses, and tours within the system of the further education of teachers.

In 2006 8 out of 18 accredited courses were implemented with participants coming from Prague and the whole Czech Republic. In 2006 the CEE organised also events for pupils of elementary and secondary schools (fine art and literature contests on the Charter of the Earth, environmental conference for secondary schools, third year and first time for elementary schools). It also awards its members the title of the Sustainable Development School on the basis of complete evaluation (in 2005 this title was awarded to 5 schools, in 2006 it was awarded to 12 schools).

Association TEREZA: The Association TEREZA offers to teachers at kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools concrete programmes (education al programmes, long-term projects, teaching materials, worksheets, …) for the implementation of environmental education at schools. In 2006 this offer was used by over 500 schools of the whole Czech Republic, out of that number 100 were from Prague.

Events for the public: Earth day (1,000 participants), Tree Day (300 participants); long-term schools projects: international – Eco-School (16 schools in Prague) and GLOBE (11 schools in Prague); national – Forest in School – School in Forest (11 schools in Prague) and For the Mystery of WOOD (10 pilot schools in the Czech Republic), Prague’s events – Do Not be Afraid of Waste (10 schools), Landscape behind the School (10 schools), Three Steps to Active Teaching (10 schools); about 30,000 pupils in the Czech Republic participated in the projects, out of that number about 5,000 pupils were in Prague; teaching programmes for schools in Prague and the surroundings: 300 mostly three-hour programmes for 6,000 pupils (80 elementary schools and 10 secondary ones plus 10 kindergartens participated); seminars for teachers: 60 seminars for approx. 1,000 teachers of the whole Czech Republic.

The Centre of Environmental Education of the City of Prague “Toulcův dvůr”: Historic premises and eight-hectare large nature premises of the Hostivař settlement of Toulcův dvůr, which is the property of the Prague City Hall, is administered and full of varied activities of an association of non-profit organisations. Their objective is to bring up all age groups of the Prague population by means of experience to friendly relation to our environment.

In 2006: educational events for the public, workshops, excursions – in total approx. 10,000 visitors (Earth Day – 900 visitors, 13th Biomarket and Harvest Fest (along with the League of Ecological Initiatives) – 3,000 visitors, and others), environmental education programmes for kindergartens, elementary schools, secondary schools of Prague and surroundings (over 500 educational programmes for approx. 10,000 children) seminars for teachers, Prague Conference on Environmental Education, hobby groups, the Mother’s club, and many other activities.

 

Schools and other organisations from Prague use services of some other centres and organisations focused on the EEA and residing out of Prague (for instance, CEE Chaloupky, SEVER, Dřípatka, etc.). Important activities focused on public awareness were performed by, for example, the Green Circle (Public Information Centre/Ecoline, the campaign Game for the Earth, etc.) and the Association ARNIKA. The EEA forms and important part of the activities and focus of the Czech Ornithological Society (ČSO) residing in Prague 10 - Hostivař.

Administrations of protected areas in the vicinity of Prague (APLA Český kras, APLA Kokořínsko, and APLA Křivoklátsko) have also been contributing to the out-of-school EEA of the children, youth, and adult public in an important manner.

More information on NGOs activities in Prague can be found on the Internet pages of respective organisations.


The EEA funding in the City of Prague

Tab. - Grants to support projects for the improvement of the environment in the City of Prague (the agenda is organised by the OOP MHMP)

Year Total number of
projects submitted
Total number of accepted projects / number
of projects accepted in the EEA field
Total resources allocated / allocated
resources – projects on the EEA [CZK]

2003

145

74 / 34

7 495 100 / 2 916 100

2004

138

78 / 41

8 626 000 / 4 652 000

2005

116

83 / 40

9 740 000 / 5 118 000

2006

123

78 / 41

 9 500 000 / 5 390 000

Note: The subdivision of projects into the EEA projects and other projects is just approximate.

Source: OOP MHMP 

 

Tab. - City-wide programmes to support education on the territory of the City of Prague (the agenda is administered by the SKU of the Prague City Hall)

Year Number of EEA projects accepted Resources allocated to the EEA projects [CZK]

2003

3

234 250

2004

3

296 400

2005

1

500 000

2006

2

616 000

Source: SKU MHMP

 

Note: A portion of the EEA projects implemented on the territory of the City of Prague has been financed and/or co-financed also from other sources (grant programmes of respective City Districts, tenders of the MOE CR for the support to projects submitted by civil associations and general benefit companies, grant programmes of foundations, financial gifts from companies and individual persons, a UNESCO project, etc.).


Centre of environmental education of the City of Prague “Toulcův dvůr”

logotype of toulcův dvůrThe Centre of Environmental Education of the City of Prague “Toulcův dvůr” (formerly Ecocentre) has been built in Prague - Hostivař since the end 1994. The Association of Toulcův dvůr, which is responsible for its administration and development, concluded with the Prague City Hall the fifty-year agreement on the Administrations and Use of the Premises of Toulcův dvůr (Toulec’s Manor) on 4 January 1996. At present the Association has four members – the Basic Chapter Botič of the Brontosaurus Movement, Association SRAZ, 4th BCh of the CUNC, and since 2004 the Kindergarten Little Seed, g. b. c. The objective of the member associations is to build premises for environmental education in Toulcův dvůr, which will serve for practical application of environmental education and the increasing of environmental awareness. In 2004 the association activities have been broadened which encompass environmental education programmes for schools, conferences and workshops, as well as events focused on active spending of leisure time of children and families. The Maternity Club Mateřídouška (Thyme) has been under operation for several years and on 1 September 2004 the Kindergarten Little Seed launched its activities. In the second half of 2004 the association began closer co-operation with several secondary schools and universities. Students visit the Centre, first of all, to acquire additional professional practise.

centre of environmental education of the city of prague “toulcův dvůr”

The facility of Toulcův dvůr may be operated only owing to the understanding and support it has been receiving from the Prague City Hall, appropriate ministries, foundations, and other sponsors as well as volunteers.
The premises of Toulcův dvůr has had rich history. On a plot of 8 hectares there is a set of buildings protected as historical monuments (Gothic granary, Baroque stable), interesting natural communities (wetland, alluvial forest, rock outcrop, maple woods, and herb-rich meadow), and green areas under human management (orchard, field, and organic garden). Farm facilities form a part of the premises where Hucul horses, a cow, sheep, goats, and other livestock are kept. The premises are accessible to the public for free every day from 8.00 do 18.00 o’clock.

Detailed information is available at: www.toulcuvdvur.cz.
Print 21.6.2007 | Jiří Stach | Read: 52666 x
 
 
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