Sixty-six guides, most of whom live and work in the Kamchatka Territory – this is the composition of two training sessions that will take place in April-May 2022 as part of the School of Nature Defenders project. After completing an intensive monthly course, the students of the School will significantly increase the level of their excursions and will be able not only to entertain tourists and create positive impressions, but to “engage” in the process of nature protection of Kamchatka.
The motto of the School of Conservation is “Help. Traces. Protect “, where” awaken “refers specifically to guides. To awaken in tourists the love for the environment and the desire to protect it – this is the mission that the organizers of the School are investing in a new educational program.
Guides are being trained at the School of Conservationists for the first time since its inception in late 2020. At the same time, six training sessions for eco-volunteers have already taken place. Three shifts were organized for state inspectors of protected areas and recently there was an express shift for civil servants. Two groups of tour guides will be trained this spring: the first lesson started on April 11, the second will start on April 26.
On the opening day of the first shift, the students were greeted by the director of the state reserve Kronotsky, one of the authors of the idea of creating the School of Defenders of Nature Pyotr Shpilenok. “We must learn to protect nature not from humans, but together with humans. The best way to do this is to make tourists fall in love with where they come from. Kamchatka herself helps us in this, it is impossible not to fall in love with her. But then our task is to show how to treat nature with care, how to admire it without causing harm. And a special role in this is played by the guides – our main guides in the wild. People who are ready to join us on the path of conservation of Kamchatka ecosystems, who help to show its uniqueness and uniqueness and teach tourists to be friends and protectors of nature“, said PI Shpilenok.
Among the topics of the educational program for guides are the basic elements of nature conservation and eco-tourism, the methods of organizing tourism for nature conservation, the interpretation of natural and historical and cultural heritage, the immersion in nature and its history Kamchatka region, security precautions, and even teamwork, including psychological techniques for resolving conflict situations.
Lectures and hands-on courses will be led by reputable federal-level speakers: Anna Zavadskaya, Senior Researcher at the Kronotsky Reserve, an ecotourism expert. zoologists Ekaterina Blidchenko and Ekaterina Pazhetnova; environmental education expert, founder of the Museum “The Nature of the Sea and its Protection” Anna Gulbina. Irina Viter, Head of the Regional Studies Department of the Kamchatka Regional Scientific Library. volcanologist, author of the work Vulcanarium Sergey Samoylenko and others.
Participating in the program, guide Anastasia Moiseeva, shared her first impressions:I was glad that a peripheral block was included in the guide lesson, experts such as biologists and volcanologists were invited, who can share valuable experiences and observations. I am glad that, although the meetings take place online, they are not just lectures: the opportunity for dialogue and discussions on issues of interest is not lost. Very good video lessons and homework, where there is an opportunity to consolidate knowledge. It is also gratifying that the School organizers are friendly and responsive at any time of the day or night. Thank you for helping us become professionals in our favorite exclusive business!»
From 2022, training and passing exams under the Defenders of Nature program for tour guides will be mandatory for accreditation in protected areas managed by the Kronotsky State Shelter. However, this, according to many students, is not the main motivation for the study. Armed with the knowledge and skills acquired at the School, the guides will be able to significantly improve the level of their excursions and, most importantly, to introduce elements of environmental education in them, to instill in tourists the respect for nature. Given the boom in domestic tourism, which has already covered areas like Kamchatka in recent years (and, according to experts, will only increase in the future), such training will be useful.
Remember that the environmental education project “School of Defenders of Nature”, aimed at preparing reserve staff for environmental organizations in Kamchatka, strengthening the protection of protected areas, increasing the level of environmental culture of the population and the participation of the public in problems, started at the end of 2020. Implemented by the Federal Financial Institution “Kronotsky State Reserve”, the government of the Kamchatka Territory and the Association of Specially Protected Natural Areas of the Kamchatka Territory.