ABOUT MOUNTAIN EXPLORERS
Mountain Explorers is an extracurricular educational tool for teachers, educators, parents and students. It was developed by the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA) and the Fondation pour le Développement Durable des régions de Montagne (FDDM) in Switzerland thanks mainly to a fund made available by the Swiss Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Switzerland.
Mountain Explorers consists of an interactive educational platform for children between 8 and 12 years old and is aimed at helping them to understand the importance of our mountains. Through it they can explore their natural resources and the value of the heritage which mountains provide us with. It also highlights the main threats and challenges facing all mountainous regions today and the Lebanese mountains in particular. It also proposes solutions and actions to help mitigate the environmental degradation which affects mountains and mountain regions.
Conceived of as a virtual journey through the mountains, kids learn about sustainable development, climate change, rural eco-tourism & environmental protection through both virtual and hands-on activities. This educational tool is designed to instil in kids a sense of eco-citizenship and to influence them into adopting environmentally-conscious behaviour and attitudes.
Many mountainous regions in Lebanon are currently subject to activities which degrade them. The list is long and includes practices such as deforestation that affects biodiversity and leads to landslides, uncontrolled hunting, excessive construction & road building, illegal pumping of water, mismanagement of sanitation facilities, overgrazing, excessive irrigation, unorganized waste management, excessive use of synthetic fertilizers & pesticides, pollution of ground water which affects agriculture and livestock and impacts biodiversity, worrying air quality degradation, etc.
Additionally, climate change worsens this outlook while reinforcing inequalities in typically poorer areas which already have a fragile environment. The challenges of maintaining a balanced ecosystem in mountainous regions are numerous.
Mountain Explorers allows participants to go on a virtual journey through the mountains, following the path to different “Theme” villages or areas, exploring various topics related to sustainable development by the use of friendly games and experiential learning activities such as interactive hands-on experiments. The platform is targeted towards students between 8 and 12 years old and their teachers and uses a transdisciplinary approach.
It can also be used for kids wishing to learn and play at home with their parents or friends, and covers various topics which can be explored in an indoor/in class environment as well as outdoor/outside class during a school cycle. Each class receives a virtual passport and earns stamps for successfully undertaking creative games, exercises, tasks and activities. The journey ends when the Explorers’ green passport is filled.
With the help of Na7lati, the bee mascot, Jad and Yasmine explore their mountains through various themes. These are water, air, forests, biodiversity, agriculture, cultural heritage and landscape. Climate change and risk reduction initiatives transect amongst all of the themes.
We encourage teachers and parents to take part in this amazing journey and to help students complete the full exploration of the platform by gathering all the stamps required for the virtual green passport! Let’s enjoy the fun way of learning new things with Mountain Explorers.