Activists open a recreational trail in Novoaidar community

February 15, 2022

The material was published in the Civic Space (Hromadskyi Prostir)

Residents of Novoaidar in Luhansk Region will now be able to take walks down a modern trail with QR-code and infographics. And thanks to this initiative, younger schoolchildren will have interactive excursions after the holidays and learn about animals, birds and plants of their home region.

Local teachers, some schoolchildren and even a few parents worked on the trail, Vchasno News Agency reports.

The trail was built in the “Pine Park”, not far from the school. Four benches, garbage bins, as well as seven information stands were installed in the recreational area.

According to Iryna Kozlovska, project manager, the highlight of the project is the information material: “We have collected data on animals, birds and plants of our region. Including those listed in the Red Book. It came out quite informative.”

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Support matters for the initiative to live and grow

In 2021, Iryna Kozlovska and Viktoria Koshman from the NGO “Green Palms” (Zeleni Doloni) as part of the Mentoring Program 2.0 received support from an experienced mentor organization ICO Environment People Law (EPL) and mentor Olena Kravchenko

According to Iryna Kozlovska, Ms. Olena adjusted their work during the cooperation period and provided practical advice on the activities: “We also received methodological assistance from her in holding and informing our activities to improve environmental education. We plan a lot of such events, because we decided to work and advocate for decisions in our community on the topic of environmental education. So now we are making long-term plans for the activities and summarizing them in one table, accumulating knowledge and allocating resources”.

At the same time, Olena Kravchenko speaks well of the organization’s initiative: “My mentees are very assertive and open, ready to work on themselves, absorbing all the information. I’m glad that the environmental initiatives will be implemented in Novoaidar (Lugansk Region) and they benefited from our experience”.

Mentor-mentee teams were able to conduct a survey and analyze the attitude of residents to environmental issues, as well as to enter into a dialogue with the authorities on environmental security and agree on cooperation.

The opening of the recreational trail became a logical continuation of the activities of Green Palms NGO, which were supported by international partners. Recreational trail “The Green World of Novoaidar” was created by the activists as part of the project “From the Ecology of Nature to the Ecology of Soul”. The project was implemented under the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Program with the financial support of the governments of Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden.

The community is actively involved

“Our team consists of young teachers and educators, we engaged schoolchildren in our work, we were helped by their parents”, says the project manager. “We sketched the stands – three life-size figures and four information ones. Then we looked for where we could order them and it turned out to be not so easy. We prepared information for the stands and worked on their design. There were a lot of difficulties, because we were facing some issues for the first time, but it was interesting. It was an important experience for all of us”.

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“The plan is to have high school students who worked on the exhibits give tours to the kids”, said Iryna Kozlovska.

Valerii Ryzhkov, 11th grader of the Novoaidar Regional Sanatorium School, told journalists why he joined the creation of the recreational trail.

“I am taking part in the activities of the NGO “Green Palms”, says the student. “It’s interesting, helps diversify school life, and gives you a chance to learn a lot of new things. My classmates and I worked on creating the trail. We helped design posters and banners. We helped set up the stands. And now I walk my dog there every night. And I like it very much that now there are benches where you can have a sit and stands with a lot of interesting information. It is not boring, but very entertaining with QR-codes, infographics, unusual images. It’s very cool”.

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According to the organization, teachers also worked on the stands: QR-codes were created by a computer science teacher, and the design was done by a fine arts teacher.

“We received a lot of positive feedback”, says Iryna Kozlovska. “Everyone was thanking us strangers, residents of Novoaidar. When we were installing the stands, people would come up to us, asking what we were doing, offering their help. Their gratitude is the highest appreciation for us”.