“Protecting nature protects your health” – that was the motto of the tour for children from Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Kyiv, and Zaporizhia regions on April 7th, organized by Hanna Andrus and Erika Kazarina, teachers of the Transcarpathian Regional Ecological and Naturalistic Center for Students Youth. 22 children enjoyed the nature of Pidzamkovyi Park and the singing of birds, which is not interrupted by the sounds of war, they gained peace of mind and felt the joy of their small trip. Children from different parts of Ukraine got to know each other, as well as with the wildlife of the park, gained an understanding of the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and competed in their knowledge of nature, and human health during team play with the catchphrase “Win together!”.
During the tour, the children got acquainted with the history of Pidzamkovyi Park, which is a monument of landscape art of local significance. The area of the park is 4 hectares. The status was granted in order to preserve the park, founded in the XVI century. As it turned out there are some local trees several centuries existing in this park. The oldest tree in the park is the maple tree (about 400 years old). According to legend, it was planted by the owners of Uzhhorod Castle – Count Drugeth. Children learned that the age of the tree in practice can be determined by a formula that takes into account the girth of the trunk or its diameter at a height of 1.3 meters. The result will be approximate because the growth rate depends on the type of tree, its characteristics, and its place of growth. However, with all the assumptions and errors, the age of the plane tree in the park is more than 400 years. The children were happy to measure the diameter of the plane tree (Platanus), embracing their hands around it. And yet, it’s said that if we embrace the tree, we’ll get some life tree energy.
The children also studied the plants of the park area: Scots pine, Austrian pine, magnolia, thuja, ash tree, maple, blackberry, dog rose, sharp-pointed ivy, elderberry, garden jasmine, primroses peeking out from the ground and covered with green grass. The participants of the tour were invited to conduct an experiment. It is known that the green color of plants is caused by the presence of chlorophyll in cells. The children were given the task: “Put a cardboard plate on the ground, then put grass on it, after that put a white sheet of paper on top and step on it and rub it. You will see a green imprint on the sheet. Why?” It turns out that the vast majority of plants consist of cells that contain chlorophyll. When you crushed the plant, you destroyed the cells from which chlorophyll was released.
The children learned why people collect birch juice in spring. The juice of the phloem (outer tissue) of birch is popularly called birch sap. In spring birches mobilize reserve substances, first of all, sugars, which are transported with water along the birch trunk to each bud in order for the buds to turn green and the leaves to bloom. If you damage the phloem, the juice begins to flow out.
Gaining knowledge, children realized that green plants, accumulating energy from the Sun in organic matter, provide life for all living things on Earth and are an important source of energy resources that people use for their needs. Plants purify the air by absorbing various gaseous compounds and dust. Green spaces significantly reduce the level of street noise due to the absorption of sound energy by leaves, and plants give us health, so we need to preserve our parks and increase their vegetation. To consolidate the knowledge gained during the tour, the young researchers were divided into 4 teams: “Chamomile”, “Narcissus”, “Wind”, and “Thunder House”. The children colored the plants on an easel, and each team named their plants.
Looking closely around, young nature lovers learned that the park is home to squirrels, various beetles, and other insects, listened to the singing of birds: tits, sparrows, European turtle dove, jays. Young researchers supplemented their knowledge of nature, guessing riddles and composing proverbs. During the class, a conversation was held with children and their parents “What is stress and how to deal with it?”. We discussed together what’s going on with the body during a stressful situation and how to eliminate stress factors. We discussed and found out its impact on human health and prevention methods.
Children and adults did psychological gymnastics “Training emotions”, where they played the role of an actor who must smile like a cunning fox, scared like a hare who saw a wolf, and more with pleasure. The children also enjoyed the “Happy Start” sports race, in which teams competed in the skills of jumping rope, running with a ball, jumping on one leg, walking fast “leg by leg”. Of course, FRIENDSHIP won! At the end of the class, the children memorized and wrote in chalk on the paths of the park proverbs about nature and health. The youngest children drew the sun, birds, flowers, and a rainbow in the clear sky.
The event was held in cooperation with the Transcarpathian Regional Ecological and Naturalistic Center of Student Youth (TRENCSY) and the Interreligious and Environmental Civil Forum of Eastern Europe (IRCEF) (headed by Alexander Bokoteiy) with the support of the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU), project coordinator Ivan Tymofeiev.
Anna Andrus, head of TRENCSY club.
Erika Kazarina, head of TRENCSY club.
Informational service of IRCEF