Syunik, Goris—A winning project of the Environmental Education Micro Project Competition titled “Young Naturalists,” initiated by Ms. Lusine Shegunts, a teacher from #4 High School in Goris, and her environmentally concerned students took place in May 2016.
The primary aim of the project was to educate students to become aware of environmental and social problems, both local and global, and actively suggest and implement attainable solutions. The implementers of the project were 10th grade students from N4 High School in Goris.
The project’s activities provided theoretical and practical knowledge and skills to students. Two seminars were held on “Democracy starts from schools” and two held on the topics of “Natural balance restoration”, which taught students about the importance of collective input on social issues, acting in union.
Importantly, students visited the Goris municipality and met with the city mayor, Mr. Adunts, with whom they discussed the current environmental issues of the city while also suggesting possible solutions. The students also received permission from Mr. Adunts to clean the surroundings of the St. Hripsime chapel in old Goris territory.
During the final event, students with coordination of teachers cleaned the chapel area and placed waste bins and signs that read “thanks for keeping the territory clean”. This offered students the experience of directly participating in advancing solutions to their local community problems while collaborating with the municipality. Previously, there was no waste removal system in the St. Hripsime chapel area. After the students placed the signs and the waste bins, Mr. Adunts promised to organize waste removal from the chapel at least once a week.
“Children are so excited. They want to continue the project. They decided to initiate an action–take photos of the people who threw garbage on the ground instead of the trash or recycle bins. Afterwards, an exhibition will be organized to show people their ill behavior and prevent this type of behavior in the future,” Lusine Shegunts, the organizer of the project.
“Young Naturalists” project was one of the 10 winning projects represent the best from a pool of 130 applications from across the country. The competition was administered by the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. A selection team, comprising EEN members, reviewed and made the final decisions on the competition’s winners.
The competition was financially supported by the Norwegian Embassy Small Grant Program. The aim of the Norwegian grant was to develop environmental education capacities in Armenia, including the establishment and strengthening of the Environmental Education Network (EEN), a learning partnership between civil society, educational institutions, government, and international organizations.
The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA ACE), a research center at the American University of Armenia, promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. AUA ACE’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity and conservation, greening the built environment, clean energy, and energy efficiency, as well as information technology and the environment.