The Kronotsky Nature Reserve has been organizing a family environmental educational program for children from the villages of southern Kamchatka – Ozernovsky, Zaporozhie and others – for several years already. Participation is free for children, but there is a contest for enrollment. During this year's contest, it was, for example, necessary to show how the talents and skills of the participants can be applied in the field of nature protection.
The program takes place in two shifts, this year about 30 village children participate in it. The staff includes an ethnopsychologist, a regional scientist, specialists in environmental education of the Kronotsky Reserve and the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Reserved Crimea", an employee of the Nature Protectors School and reserve rangers.
The organizers of the program had the task to involve nearby settlements of our protected areas into ecotourism development. The kids have invented a hashtag for the program: #I #we #nature.
Researches, debates, master classes, hiking, nature observations, games, eco-films, poems, legends around the campfire, staging a play and even a visit by the governor of the Kamchatka Territory Vladimir Solodov – the program turned out to be very saturated!
In the study, the kids revealed the cultural code of the Ozernovsky villagers. Together with experts, using figures, facts and, of course, a creative approach, they created a psychological portrait of local residents: "Stubborn, fearless, good storytellers, love to visit each other, live mainly at the expense of their own farms and the gifts of nature, are not spoiled by the Internet (mobile Internet appeared here only in 2019). Their main transport is a helicopter, and the smell of fresh catch accompanies them every day."
"It is very important to affirm in local residents their self-worth, the importance and uniqueness of their culture and lifestyle. And on the basis of this, we could create some unique tourist offers, attract tourist flows to the villages, and integrate local residents with their knowledge and skills into the development of ecotourism," emphasizes Polina Kurasova, ethnopsychologist, specialist in environmental education of the Kronotsky Reserve.
Another practical goal of the camp was the development of skills useful for ecological tourism, the center of which is the South Kamchatka Nature Reserve. Children were taught how to make souvenirs from natural materials and beads: tourists will be able to buy them at the souvenir shop of the reserve. In addition, the kids learned how to conduct master classes for tourists, provide photo accompaniment for tourist groups, and work as guides. The camp participants will "test" the acquired knowledge on tourists this season.