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Implementation period: April 2005 – March 2006

Funding: DEFRA via the British Embassy, Sofia

Role of the organization: Leading. The project was implemented in partnership with the Regional Historical Museum – Ruse, Ruse schools, youth NGOs in Teteven


The “green school” is an educational tradition in Bulgaria that entails the transportation of groups of students to locations rich in natural grandeur, history and archeological heritage. These areas tend to have touristic value. Regrettably, the classroom style involving the didactic delivery of lessons is carried into these settings.

Objective: Our aims were threefold

  1. To show the potential for young people to learn experientially and through personal / collective exploration and without emphasis being placed on uptake of pre-determined lessons
  2. To show that all localities are rich in learning resources – the focus on sites of historical interest can actually detract broad cultural awareness and environmental concern
  3. To demonstrate how Nature represents itself in or close to urban locations


  • Developed and implemented a series of training modules in experiential education exploring the world of trees
  • Involved young participants in the development of a sign-posted eco-trail in the city of Ruse and a mountain trail in the Teteven region
  • Hosted presentations(Ruse & Glogovo) by the eminent mountaineer Doug Scott revealing the cross-over between adventure and concern for the environment and rural communities


  • Manual for youth workers and educators revealing the use of informal / experiential educative approaches in community based projects
  • Creation of a sign-posted, urban eco-trail extending from central Ruse (tourist information office) to the city park
  • Guidelines on how to conduct excursions that bring children into contact with the natural environment and small rural communities
  • Guidelines on how to exploit the educational resources present in your local community
  • Two DVDs produced by Arena Media documenting the experience shared by children and adults


“An environment-based education movement–at all levels of education–will help students realize that school isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world.” 

(Richard Louv)

Regrettably, school excursions in Bulgaria are too frequently blighted by an attempt to preserve the classroom experience and itineraries are chosen to allow for didactic delivery of lessons by teachers or cultural curators.  Groups are transported from lecture venue (museum) to lecture venue (monument) with little of educational value happening in between.

The popularity of the EQ manual among teachers and working relationships forged since 2006 within the larger educational community reveal a growing awareness of community-based or nature-oriented educational resources that are best used experientially.

See the manual at