ELENA is a trans-European cooperative project of partners from Germany, Hungary, Romania and Georgia with the aim to promote the awareness of nature and the responsibility for nature.
The main idea of the project is to introduce living animals into the classroom (animal-assisted education): they can assist teaching and co-supervised responsibly by students. Living animals are "a heart openers" and therefore increase pupils' motivation and interests in the learning process, while experiential learning methods contribute to carrier competences. This approach was highly successful in the model project "Tiere live" of the Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL, Germany) and is now adopted to the partner countries needs and situations.
Our three-year-long project (2013-2016) starts with a baseline study in the participating countries, and a development of a Competency Framework – and based on their results teaching modules – will be adapted and developed as well as teachers trained and encouraged to use the method in the classroom.
A trans-European project
ELENA is a trans-European cooperative project of partners from Germany, Hungary, Romania and Georgia with the aim to promote the awareness of nature and the responsibility for nature. The Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL) is leading the project.
The technical and educational approaches were already tested in the highly successful Bavarian model project "Tiere live" in practice: on this occasion, living animals are used in teaching and are co-supervised responsibly by students. The aim is to bring this experience to our European neighbors for application, to develop them and promote "Tiere live" internationally.
How can responsibility for nature be taught sustainably? How can experiences of life be given in the lessons? How can we guarantee that this responsibility based on positive feelings extends to the way of life and work later? And how can a successful takeover of responsibility be measured in the course of a human life? These are the difficult research questions faced by the research project ELENA-Experiental Learning and Education for Nature Awareness: Experiental learning and education for the support of nature awareness.
Enthusiasm knows no age limit. Brigitte Sturm shows animals live at the ELENA-prelude - here the hedgehog "Hedgy".
Photo: Wolfram Adelmann, ANL.
The know-how is based on the bavarian methods of "Tiere live"
The Bavarian academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL) has taken guidance of the project as lead partner and provides the technical and pedagogical basis from more than ten years of experience with "Tiere live". Living animals are integrated into the school lessons and are supervised by the students themselves, raising their interest in biodiversity and a responsible way of life for the protection of biodiversity.
Whether amphibians, snails, butterflies, hedgehogs or recently also chickens, students should experience enthusiasm in direct contact with living animals, but also overcome reservations and finally take responsibility for their charges. Guided by the monitoring folder to "Tiere live" with more than 15 animal chapters and more than 70 individual actions described in detail, a comprehensive basis is available for teachers for the concrete implementation.
The partners are renowned research institutions, schools and teacher training centers. For Hungary the Juhász Gyula Teacher Training Faculty of the University of Szeged and the Rogers Foundation Budapest take part. In Romania the University of Sibiu, the Sibiu County School Inspectorate and the Gymnasium 21 Sibiu are involved. In Georgia the organization Bird Conservation Georgia and the National Teacher Training Center of Tbilisi are involved. Germany is represented by the Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL), the Academy for Teacher Training Dillingen and by the Rottmayr-Gymnasium Laufen.
ELENA kick-off meeting: Participants from four nations consult on the beginning of ELENA.
Photo: Wolfram Adelmann, ANL
• Project budget: around 400.000 Euros funded by the European Union Lifelong Learning Program LLP, Comenius
• Participating countries: Germany, Hungary, Romania, from outside the EU: Georgia
• 9 partner organizations from four countries
• Approximately 70 participating scientists and practitioners: educators, education developers, researchers and nature conservationists.
• The aim is to develop and test local moduls and practices in approximately 50 classes based on „Tiere Live" know-how, ans share the experiences and methods with 1200 teachers. The development is preceded by a situation analysis, and there is a constant feedback of experiences into the development process.
• Term: November 2013 to October 2016