In an era where environmental challenges have become a pivotal concern, the need for more effective sustainability education has escalated. Traditional teaching methods in sustainability often fall short of truly engaging and equipping the youth with the necessary skills and mindsets. This gap in educational efficacy is where the GREENTRACE project finds its purpose.
The core problem: educational methods and lack of educator skills
At the heart of the challenge lies a dual issue: outdated sustainability education methods and a notable skills gap among educators. Current educational approaches often lack interactivity and real-world applicability and fail to inspire young minds toward proactive environmental stewardship. Moreover, many educators, particularly in Europe, are underequipped in terms of knowledge and resources to effectively impart sustainability concepts. This is particularly evident in countries like Italy and Spain, where youth work is not officially recognized as a professional profile, leading to limited career prospects and a lack of structured educational paths for youth workers.
Targeting specific skills and educator groups
GREENTRACE aims to bridge this gap by focusing on specific skills and groups of educators. The project targets professional and volunteer youth workers, sports leaders, and environmental educators. These individuals often have backgrounds in psycho-pedagogy or environmental studies but lack comprehensive training in sustainability and sports, or the other way round. GREENTRACE seeks to enhance their competencies in these areas, empowering them to create and manage effective learning programs that blend sustainability with outdoor sport, exploration, and participation.
Concrete actions and outcomes
Moving beyond abstract goals, GREENTRACE is set to implement a series of tangible activities and methodologies. These include:
- Development of a new educational methodology: combining sports, exploration, and active learning to foster a deeper connection with nature and sustainability.
- Workshops and training programs: directed at youth workers and educators, these sessions aim to fill their knowledge gaps through learning-by-doing and exploring, particularly in sustainability and sport. The workshops are designed to be multidisciplinary, incorporating elements of environmental literacy, program design, and assessment tools.
- Practical application and testing: educators will apply the newly developed approaches in their respective contexts leading various workshops, with a focus on promoting sustainable behaviours among youth.
- Creating a network for sharing resources: this digital platform will facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices between youth workers and educators from all partnering countries, further enhancing the project’s reach and impact.
- Youth creating programmes on sustainability: after the first phase youth participation in the workshops, they will continue engaging their peers to acquire sustainable behaviour and encourage youth activism.
Beyond a project: a practical and empowering journey
GREENTRACE is more than just a project; it’s a journey towards empowering educators and fostering a new generation of environmentally conscious citizens. This empowerment unfolds through interactive workshops for educators, guiding youth in leading sustainability projects, and fostering peer-to-peer learning. These hands-on experiences not only bridge the current gaps in sustainability education but actively engage young minds in environmental stewardship, turning ideas into actionable projects. It’s a crucial step not just in raising awareness but in actively shaping behaviors and mindsets towards environmental stewardship.