Mission possible: Educational Environment and Co.

Mission possible: Educational Environment and Co.

One of the aspirations of the Primorsky Aquarium as an education and research facility is to share scientific knowledge about wildlife and to raise environmental awareness.

This mission is being successfully accomplished by the Environmental Education Service team. Their efforts have been highly appreciated. The team has been awarded the V.I. Vernadsky National Environmental Prize: the Educational Environment project has become one of the winners in the “Education as a path to sustainable development” nomination.

“Our primary goal was not the award itself, but the opportunity to tell as many people as we could about our Educational Environment project,” explains Platon Ostashkin, Senior Specialist of the Education Department. “The project was initiated by Academician Andrey Adrianov. He suggested to use valuable resources and facilities of the Primorsky Aquarium for the purposes of formal education, to show some aspects of themes from a school curriculum through exhibits and make learning more entertaining and exhiting. Many children who have participated in this project think about choosing a career in biology, which inspires us a lot.”

Since 2017, when the project was launched, over 35 thousand students have taken part in it. First lessons were developed for schoolchildren, later, for university students, both Russian and international.

Apart from programs focused on schoolchildren and university students, our educational work includes many other activities, like one of our largest and most significant projects, Growing up at the Aquarium.

“The project started in 2016 from Belyok, an environmental biology club for children aged 6 to 7 years. It turned out in two years that our alumni wanted to pursue their education at the Aquarium, and we decided to make up a 6-stage program for kids from pre-school to high-school age. The program is aimed at supporting students’ interest in learning about the environment,” tells Tatyana Chernykh, Principal Specialist of the Education Department. “The children observe live animals, meet with a variety of specialists, work in labs and, of course, make their own discoveries.”

 “Holidays at the Aquarium” is a special offer for school groups valid during school holidays. It includes creative hands-on activities, lab sessions, guided tours and an English language lesson.

“Options of the offer are available for visitors any time. We’ve recently launched a new workshop “I Am a Photographer: Life Behind the Glass”, which teaches attendees about ins and outs of capturing aquarium creatures at their best. Participants of a new “Sea Eco Art” hands-on activity learn how to give a new lease of life to their old clothes using a range of upcycling techniques,” reports Elena Sumka, Principal Specialist of the Education Department. “Our list of programs has been regularly updated, we are creating treasure hunts and in summer we plan to organize a camp for children.”

The Primorsky Aquarium works closely with local units of administration, public, private, and social sector organizations, including international ones.

“We successfully collaborate with the Ministry of Education of Primorsky Krai: we have conducted a range of courses for school teachers, implemented a project studying marine coastal zone inhabitants of the Sea of Japan during a summer ecological school, and now we are running seminars for biology, geography and chemistry teachers,” informs Elena Medelyan, Principal Specialist of the Education Department. “We’ve conducted a regional stage of the “Big Challenges” competition launched by the Sirius Educational Centre (Sochi), in the “Exploitation of the Arctic Region and World’s Oceans” category.”

Educational activities of the Primorsky Aquarium expand beyond the borders of Primorsky Krai, and the 6th Sea Reflection Creativity Contest is a bright example. The Contest is held in commemoration of World Ocean Day and is aimed at cultivating ideas of biodiversity conservation and protection of oceans and rivers in our young generation.

“The number of entrants has significantly increased with time. We’ve annually received works from Russian Far East children, but this year we anticipate entries from Asia Pacific countries, too,” comments Inna Kaufman, Principal Specialist of the Education Department. “We are open to international cooperation and believe that this contest is a great way to involve children living in this vast region in performing our common task – preservation of the Pacific Ocean.”

The Primorsky Aquarium recognizes the vital importance of environmental education. Owing to great work of our specialists, more and more people become environmentally aware and show interest in maintaining biodiversity.