BirdLife Partners from Cyprus, Poland, Ireland and Malta have teamed up for an environmental education project with the aim to develop environmental educational resources for teachers of students with visual impairment.
The project, titled ‘Seeing the World through Nature’, is a collaboration between BirdLife Cyprus, BirdWatch Ireland, BirdLife Malta, the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds (the leading partner), and the Polish Association for the Blind, and is funded by the European Commission through its Erasmus+ funding stream.
The aim of the project, which will run until March 2022, is to develop environmental educational resources for teachers who work with students with visual impairment, in consultation with international experts in this field, to enable them to deliver an engaging and enriching programme of environmental education in a truly appealing manner. These resources, as well as a mobile application to assist children in the recognition of birds, will then be made available free of charge to educators in each of the partner countries, and across the BirdLife International partnership.
The project will also give the opportunity to teachers to strengthen their skills and confidence when it comes to teaching about nature, to understand and learn how to teach about nature and how to use the educational resources to be developed to engage students with disabilities in various school subjects.
Project partners met at the first transnational project meeting in Malta last week. Joining from Cyprus was staff from BirdLife Cyprus as well as a representative from the St Barnabas School for the Blind, the only educational institution for individuals with visual impairment in Cyprus.
‘We are excited to be part of this project, the first for Cyprus, and contribute towards making nature and its wonders more accessible. The support of the St. Barnabas School for the Blind is of great importance to the project and we are grateful for it. Our aim is to ensure that teachers across Cyprus will have the necessary resources and knowledge to help students with visual impairment really connect with nature’, said BirdLife Cyprus Director, Martin Hellicar.
‘We warmly thank BirdLife Cyprus for offering the St Barnabas School for the Blind the opportunity to help in the preparation of relevant material accessible to the students with visual impairment in Cyprus through this project. This kind of cooperation is extremely important both on a national and European level because it combines both the scientific background and the specialized educational approach, a combination that guaranties the validation of knowledge in such an important field. In this way, our children will not be excluded from the opportunity to be informed about nature together with their peers’, said the Director of the St Barnabas’ School for the Blind, Pelagia Karpasiti.
The project will build on the successes of other recent environmental education initiatives that have involved the BirdLife International partnership, most notably the award-winning Erasmus+ Empowering Teachers and Pupils for a Better Life through Nature project that finished last year. It will also draw inspiration from Spring Alive, the ongoing multi-national environmental education project centered around migratory birds, operated by BirdLife partners across Europe, Central Asia and Africa and currently sponsored by HeidelbergCement.