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#newME. Workshops for youth workers in Macedonia.

How to use good environmental practices in youth work? What is a sustainable approach in everyone’s life? These and other questions were explored by youth workers during the second day of workshops as part of the #newME project.

On the second day of international workshops for youth workers, #newME project partners put on the table two important topics.

Firstly, they were jointly developing ideas on how to use identified good practices in youth work related to environmental protection or raising public awareness of global climate issues

Secondly, they discussed the concept of sustainability and how important it is to understand its relevance to tackling global environmental problems.

The project #newME is implemented by a team of 5 organizations from 5 countries with different backgrounds: Germany, Poland, Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Czechia. With this variety of perspectives, they managed to develop a couple of ideas to take away and use in the local surroundings.

The workshop for youth workers will last 3 more days to prepare youth workers for being promoters of environmental storytelling at the local level.

Project #newMe is co-financed by the European Union.

The end and the beginning

Yesterday we reported on the ongoing two-year project “EKO-Journalists” in Lesko High School and parallel at Gabijas Gymnasium in Vilnius. Let’s Save the Earth Together.” This is a symbolic end, but also the beginning of the journalistic journey of the students of Lesko High School and our friends from Gymnasium Gabijas in Vilnius.

Why ECO-JOURNALISTS?

The ECO-JOURNALISTS project was created with our planet in mind. Knowing how much the climate is changing and how it affects the environment, as well as the future of our planet was the motivation to get involved in promoting environmental awareness in the school and local community. Involving young people in the role of journalists, conveying knowledge about the dangers, but most importantly about what we can do as individuals seemed crucial to us – it’s their future….

The main goal of the project was to expand the educational offer of participating schools through the implementation of an interdisciplinary educational program called ECO-Journalists, combining elements of English language learning, journalism, and ecology.

2 years of experiences

A lot has happened during the two-year project. Lesko and Vilnius youth were involved in creating an environmental portal, but most importantly in developing their own skills, exchanging experiences, sharing culture, and creating a cool time for themselves. It was a clash with the difficult journalistic reality, requiring commitment, passion, skills and knowledge.

English Lanugage Workshops

The project began with the creation of a program of language workshops focused on journalistic and environmental vocabulary. This was a necessary introduction so that the young people involved in the project could work together in English in later journalism and ecology workshops. The classes were held locally at Lesko High School and Gabijas Gimnasium in Vilnius. At this stage, the project participants did not yet know each other.

Students working on the language workshop

First meeting – first steps into journalism

In November 2022, students and teachers met in Lesko for a 5-day study visit combined with a basic journalism course. These were very intense days of learning, working, playing together, getting to know each other, integrating and making friends.
The program of the visit included repeating the English language :), visiting the Solina Dam and taking a cable car ride, climbing Korbania mountain, making “pots” out of clay, baking “prosciutto “proziaki” [a regional type of bread from flour, sour milk and soda], practicing calligraphy, or visiting the Bieszczady National Park Museum. There was also plenty of casual get-togethers, conversations and time to themselves.

Observation tower on Korbania Mountain

The most important, however, were the journalism classes, which, while very intensive, introduced the young people to various aspects of the journalism profession.
The program was created in cooperation with two journalist-practitioners who brought their journalistic experience to the classroom. Young people discussed civic media and its role, features of journalist work and and what it means to be a journalist. They were introduced to the basic principles of a journalist’s work, like how to gather information, how to expose fake news. The principles of 5W1H, or creating a news story, were explained, and the creation of catchy headlines was practiced. Participants also learned how to prepare for an interview and how to create questions to give the interviewee space to speak.

A surprise for everyone was the work with the voice – this is a journalist’s superpower, on which the success of the material sometimes depends. One of the lecturers – Piotr Balazs, a journalist at TOK FM radio and Radio Zlote Przeboje – presented a sizable set of exercises with which we can improve the sound of our voice and diction, and also revealed the secrets of sound editing in the application.

In turn, Joanna Zwolinska from Life-Project, who specializes in online media, conveyed the principles of writing for online-media to gain “clicks” and keep readers on our portal. It was 3 days of very intensive journalistic work, which the participants used during the project by working on extracurricular activities and creating materials for the online magazine. Each participant received an editor’s ID card for the portal www.the4elements.eu and a starter kit for a young journalist. 😉

“I plan to use the skills and knowledge I’ve gained in the future, as I’m interested in the journalism profession. I also use them almost every day while working at the school radio station.”

Comments one of the girls participating in the project.

The journalism washtat program has been made available on the sub-page of the portal www.the4elements.eu under the RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS tab for teachers to use in extracurricular activities.

Eco-awareness – the key to success

We all know about the importance of climate change awareness and real action to improve the environment. What can we – ordinary people – do in this regard? We can certainly make our contribution. In March 2023, project participants met in Lithuania to explore the topics of ecology, biodiversity, wastewater treatment, energy production and climate change. Of course, there was again plenty of room for learning about Lithuanian culture, visiting historical sites and team-building

In addition to visits to a local power plant or sewage treatment plant, the workshop program in Lithuania included hands-on activities in a Vilnius University laboratory, during which water samples were tested for microorganisms, and water purification filters were created on their own.

It was another 5 intense days that gave a broader view of the environment that surrounds us.

We may wonder, what do such activities bring when we are small in the big world of business and politics? Certainly the realization that we have an impact, as journalists, as young people, as citizens of the planet. Students commented, among other things:

“I’ll probably pay more attention to simple things like not wasting water, recycling and making sure I’m not harming the environment.”

“This knowledge is valuable for our future, as it equips me and others with an understanding of the problem and the skills needed to address global environmental challenges, and opens the door to various opportunities, such as active participation in international initiatives, supporting a sustainable and connected community.”

The jouralistic journey – www.the4elements.eu web portal

The above mentioned activities were aimed at giving young people the skills and knowledge to create an ecological portal www.the4elements.eu. It took almost a year for the editorial board to meet regularly in Lesko and Vilnius. The editors were headed by female teachers also participating in the project.

Over the course of the year, a lot of material was produced, street polls and surveys were conducted in friendly schools. Journalists met with experts, conducted interviews. Sometimes the motivation dropped, but only sometimes. 😉 🙂 Certainly, there was an increased awareness of what journalism entails, how much time and commitment it requires, and what satisfaction it brings.

What next?

The result of these two years of the project is a whole set of teaching materials for teachers that can be used in any classes. These include:

  • a program of language workshops
  • a program of journalism workshops
  • a program of activities raising environmental awareness – inspiration for organizing a study visit
  • instructions for using the portal
    The materials are available on the subpage of the portal RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

For young people, too, we have prepared several sources they can use when starting their journalism adventure.

Impressions and lessons for the future

From the perspective of the project organizers, we think it was a good two years. They taught us cooperation, commitment, patience. They allowed us to exchange experiences, openness to what is different. This is how the director of Lesko High School Anna Ceparska-Bąbel comments on her participation in the project:

“I have gained new experiences and some new ideas about school management and protecting teachers from professional burnout. There are several things that we need to change
in school and in teaching English (which I do) – I was inspired by my Lithuanian friends. from them I also received new tools and ideas for raising environmental awareness in our environment.”

Another teacher, on the other hand, looks from the perspective of implementing an EU project:

I improved my competence in planning project activities, gained experience in planning and implementing international project activities.

We also collected some statements from young people who collaborated and created the portal before these two years. We collected them in anonymous surveys. Here are sample opinions:

  • “Jurnalistic skills will help me understand society better in the future and show me why I should pay more attention to ecology in the future.”
  • “I will use my new skills in writing articles, conducting interviews, the knowledge can be useful for projects at school and in life; also the ability to work in a group is very beneficial.”
  • “I will use my speaking skills at school, at work and when traveling, I will use my journalistic skills when talking to people, and I will use everything I learned about ecology in my daily life to live a sustainable and good life.”
  • “This project has helped me develop my social skills, and I hope to use them in the near future.”

You can also listen to students’ feedback on the project in the video and join our journalistic adventure.

author: J.Z – Life-Project

Ecology for everyone – about cooperation between Polish-Lithuanian youth.

In November marked the end of the Eco-Journalists project, which supported the youth of Lesko and Vilnius in developing journalistic skills and expanding environmental awareness.

Students of the Secondary School named after Gen. Władysław Anders in Lesko participated in the Erasmus project. It allowed us to explore the topic of journalism and ecology, develop communication skills in English, and integrate and make new friends with students from Lithuania.

The result of several days of workshops and joint work was an ecological portal – www.the4elements.eu, run in three languages: Polish, Lithuanian, and English.

The main goal of the portal was to raise awareness of recipients and sensitize them to the problem of environmental pollution. Articles written by young people focus on the most important issues related to ecology – they present problems affecting climate change, contain advice on what to do to contribute to the problem as little as possible and educate through street surveys and interviews with interesting people from our environment.

“We believe that we will be able to show as many people as possible that anyone can be an ecologist and that we will be able to make them interested in the topic and inspire them to take care of our planet.” – says the participant of the program.

Karolina Bober

Renewable energy

Types of renewable energy: solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass.
Benefits of using renewable energy: environmentally friendly, does not emit greenhouse gases,
endless access to energy sources (sun, wind), new jobs, economic development

Trees in Poland

Trees and forests are a very important part of our planet. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release
essential oxygen. They improve air quality, filter pollutants and remove chemicals. Trees are also a
habitat for wild animals and plants.
In Poland, we have many initiatives that encourage tree planting and plant new trees.
One of such programs is “Planting Trees” – a nationwide initiative that encourages people to plant
trees in their neighborhoods. Local governments, environmental organizations and even schools
organize tree planting campaigns in their regions.
Another initiative is the “Our Land” foundation – it organizes tree planting campaigns in all regions of
the country.
Every tree contributes to improving the situation of our planet!

ECOLOGICAL BIRD FEEDERS IN 5 STEPS

Winter has arrived, which means it’s harder for birds to find food. As humans, we can help them by creating ecological bird feeders. Here’s a short guide on how to make a feeder in harmony with nature.

1. Choose the right materials: To make an ecological feeder, you can use various materials such as wood, cardboard, or even recycled objects. It’s important to choose materials that are safe for birds and don’t contain any chemicals.

2. Select the appropriate design: There are many different designs for bird feeders. You can choose a simple model with a seed opening or a more advanced one that provides extra protection against rain and snow. You can also opt for a feeder that can be hung on a tree or suctioned to a window.

3. Add seed containers: The feeder should have seed containers that are accessible to the birds. You can use different types of seeds, such as sunflower seeds, flaxseed, millet, or oats. Make sure the feeder is easy to open and clean to maintain hygiene.

4. Protect against predators: To ensure the safety of the birds, it’s worth considering adding protective elements such as mesh or netting to the feeder. This will help prevent access by predators like squirrels or cats.

5. Place the feeder in the right location: It’s important to place the feeder in a safe spot for the birds.

ECOLOGY IN WINTER IS ALSO POSSIBLE!

Ecology plays an important role even in winter! Although it may seem challenging, we can take actions that are environmentally friendly even during this time of year. Here are a few simple ways to be eco-friendly in winter:

1. Save energy: You can reduce energy consumption by properly insulating your home, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and limiting the use of electronics.

2. Recycling: Don’t forget about recycling! You can dispose of used batteries, separate waste, and donate unused items to local charitable organizations.

3. Heating: If you have a fireplace, use sustainably sourced wood. You can also reduce energy consumption by properly setting your thermostat.

4. Garden: If you have a garden, you can still tend to it in winter. You can plant winter-hardy plants that will bring joy throughout the year.

Remember, even small actions can make a big difference in protecting the environment. Enjoy winter and be eco-friendly!

Eco-Journalists. Let’s save the Earth! Final event.

On November 23, 2023, we summed up our 2 year long project ECO-JOURNALISTS.

The final conference of our Erasmus project on language, ecology and journalism took place on 23rd of November. We invited a lot of local guests,  such as the Lesko County Executive Janusz Haftek, the Chief Accountant of the County, Parents’ Council, some students from our local schools with their teachers and all the students and teachers from LO Lesko.

During the meeting, we reflected on our experiences and shared insights giving the reasons for organizing a project that combined journalism with ecological issues and workshops. Students concluded that such a project is a valuable experience in many fields. It’s not only a student and teacher exchange and getting to know other cultures and traditions but it also has a long-lasting effect on the participants’ thinking and perception of the world. What is more, the students appreciated the need to learn foreign languages and the possibilities that being an EU member brings.

The participants of the project described and summarised the activities carried out during the project (PowerPoint Presentation) and also presented  the website: www.the4elements.eu 

At the end of the official part, the students gave their impressions and conclusions after taking part in the project and opened a discussion concerning the project and its future impact on the school and the local community.

Then, the participants had an online meeting with their friends from Lithuania, during which they exchanged their warm greetings and opinions about the project. They also pointed out some difficulties.

Workshops and lectures

During the event, students took part in various practical activities. On of them was addressed to students from the 1st grade who participated in the lecture given by the guest- Mrs. Aleksandra Gałęza from the Museum and Institute of Zoology in the Polish Academy of Sciences. She told them about the population growth and distribution of European bison in the Bieszczady Mountains, as well as about the role of biodiversity in the environment.

Was it worth the effort?

The Eco-journalists project has shown the power of collaboration, education, and the shared vision for a sustainable future among the young generation of Polish and Lithuanian students.

Not only the participants of the project (also new ones) but also the school society and the guests understood the ecological issues our world needs to face.

More and more students are becoming interested in the activities carried out by the “Eco-journalists. Let’s save the Earth” and they would like to join the editorial team. Yes, it was worth the effort!

Sonda ekologiczna w Zespole Szkół Leśnych w Lesku

Nasi dziennikarze z portalu the4elements wybrali się do zaprzyjaźnionej szkoły w Lesku, gdzie przeprowadzili sondę dotyczącą praktyk ekologicznych.

Solving local problems through citizen journalism

Interview with Miranda Korzeniowska, head editor of the local news portal

Together with Miranda Korzeniowska, head editor, journalist, and local activist, we talk about civil media and their role in the local environment, basic rules of journalism, and rules of writing for the online media. We discuss these issues referring to Miranda’s reportage, which resulted in the liquidation of a sawmill operating in the middle of the city of Sanok.

Enjoy!