It was my first but not the last trip to Romania and to make sure of this I buried a little coin at the mountain camp in order to return there and find it. I was invited to the CRIOSFERA symposium to get to know the amazing history of Romanian polar research and to explore the Romanian cryosphere. I was also there to represent INTERACT and present the research activities undertaken at my station, and as with every symposium/conference to meet enthusiastic young scientists. The people and scientists of Romania are very open, friendly and kind-hearted which made the symposium a great experience.
I could talk about Romania, and the symposium, for hours but I may keep that for another day. That’s because this post is about a very special educational project that I stumbled across within one of the corridors of the conference building.
While I was moving through the corridor looking at the pictures covering the wall, I was very much astonished with what the kids have created. I mean can you imagine little kids from Romania creating pictures of Inuits, seals, whales, penguins, auroras or even scenes of polar life?
My amazement ran high when I knew the finer details behind this artwork. All those pictures were created using litter and with different artistic techniques and concepts, all of which were introduced to kids by an amazing teacher Cosmina Dragomir.
As Cosmina explained, during thier courses, children were introduced to the goals, ideas, news, and aspirations of research in the Arctic and Antarctica. They virtually placed themselves in the big explorer’s skin and with curiosity leading them to seek the knowledge and creativity allowing them to physically express the concepts they had learned, this amazing artwork was created.
Cosmina said: “We introduced the art sections addressed to the preschool kids and pupils: this includes the traditional drawing, painting, collage, and origami. But also a new artistic technique of 3D-installation through a concept of recycling litter, called Garb-art. Through it, kids have the opportunity to learn notions about the danger represented by pollution, to be educated in the ecological spirit, and to have the self-perception of being involved in a campaign against this global threat. At the same time these kinds of activities stimulate the kids by giving them the joy of the practical and positive interaction with the environment, as well as something to show for it (e.g. they had to collect, clean and sort the litter in order to obtain materials for their collage or sculpture).
And by the way, a wise person once said “We talk so much about leaving a better planet to our kids that we forget about leaving better kids to our planet”– Cosmina has taken notice.
Isn’t it amazing? This project has inspired me to move forward with all my education and outreach activities and I hope that the Khibiny station, in my home town, will soon become one of the kids most favorite places to visit and learn more about Polar Regions in such a fun and interesting way.