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.

characters

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.

HOW TO PLAY

passport

Mountain Explorers is an interactive online platform which can be accessed through the creation of an online account. This can be done either through collective access (by the teachers with one account per class) or through individual access (by individual students at home with their parents).

Each account has its own Green Passport that is filled with a stamp every time a game or activity in the platform is carried out in full. The passport is a virtual travel document that incentivizes the class/student to commit and engage into collecting all the virtual stamps.

It is downloadable and printable at the end of the Mountain Explorers’ journey or when school year is finished as a souvenir and it shows the completion of the themes and activities explored by each class/student during the journey.



Following their initial registration and login, every class/student will have access to the Virtual Map containing the following themes which represent one of the main essential resources that our mountains provide us with:



Each theme can be explored independently so no specific order is required. When clicking on one theme, the platform is redirected to the theme page with the following options:

1. The Intro Animation

Each theme starts with a short 1-2 minute introductory animation that gives a brief overview of the basic components of the topic. It also explains the main challenges facing the natural resource in terms of environmental degradation. Once viewed, each intro animation is worth a stamp on the virtual green passport.

2. The Online Game

By hitting “Play the Game,” each theme can be explored through a virtual game that allows the player(s) to discover and understand the theme further. The game highlights the problems facing the various mountain resources and suggests solutions to them. The solutions to the game are usually found as multiple choice answers or as drag & drop actions (mainly from the Tools & Solutions box on the upper left side of the screen). Each game ends when all its solutions are found and is worth a virtual stamp on the green passport.

3. The Extra Curricular Activities

Each theme has practical activities to be prepared by the teacher and undertaken by the class. These activities use the experiential learning approach which allows the students to apply the knowledge gained in the virtual game with the help of the teacher and to explore each resource further in a hands-on, creative way.
There are between 3 to 4 activities per theme, downloadable as PDF and printable. When completed and approved by the teacher, each activity is worth a stamp on the green passport.

Additionally, teachers and parents will benefit from the following support to enable them to work through each theme with the kids:

1. The Teachers’ Guides

The aim of the Teachers’ Guide is to provide the teacher/parent with sufficient background information about every theme in order to enhance their understanding of each mountain resource as well as to facilitate dialogue and debate between the students. Information on every theme is available in a downloadable and printable PDF format.

2. The Additional Resources

Additional resources to be used by teachers or parents are to be found in a separate tab on the platform.They serve as a supporting section to the seven themes covered by Mountain Explorers and contain documentaries, studies, articles, reports and interesting animations.

These provide further information on each theme and some can be shown to the students.

For any additional support please contact us at:
help@mountainexplorerslebanon.org

PLAYING IN THE CLASSROOM

Interactive learning is the key:

Through indirect identification with the players Yasmine and Jad, Mountain Explorers sets out to immerse students in the natural,outdoor mountain environment by means of our little explorersand their interactions with Na7lati, the Mascot.

Problem-solving, critical-thinking, and cooperative learning will be enhanced by the useof these virtual activities as a newteaching aid. Online tools are complemented by essential hands-on learning activities which allow the kids to find solutions to real life challengesthrough direct interaction. The main purpose of this approach is to make the real world theirown learning environment.

How to apply interactive learning:

To be as effective as possible, schools and learning institutions are encouraged toallow the usage of individual computers and/or other similar types of technology (laptop, iPad, etc.) by each student if available.

Below are three suggestions for the optimal usage of the Mountain Explorers’platform, in order of preference:

  • Scenario 1: Usage of individual computers and/or laptops, iPads etc. with an internet connection for each student in the classroom. The teacher asks one kid after the other to answer each step of the game, and validates the answer with the rest of the class with additional explanations whenever needed.
  • Scenario 2:Multiple PC monitors and/or laptops with groups of students usingone computer each (ideally no more than 5 students per computer). The teacher asks one kid after the other to answer each step of the game, and validates the answer with the rest of the class with additional explanations whenever needed.
  • Scenario 3: When there is only one computer with a screen projector, the class should be divided into groups of 5 students each. Each group takes a turn in solving one section of a virtual game using the computer and justifying their responsesto the rest of the class. The interaction between the students and their classmates will help create a debate during whichdifferent topics can be discussed as they come up.
The role of the teacher/parent is to act both as a moderator and a discussion/debate facilitator. They should move the discussions in the right direction and validate correct answers/solutions, providing additional explanations whenever needed.

It’s very important for the teacher/parent to leave room for the kids to interact with the game as well as each other and to discuss and find the solutions by themselves.The idea is to move away from the traditional approach of providing explanations first while the kids sit and listen passively.

THE PARTNERS, SPONSORS, AND SUPPORTERS OF MOUNTAIN EXPLORERS: WHO ARE THEY?

Mountain Explorers was created by the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA) in partnership with the Fondation pour le Développement Durable des Régions de Montagne (FDDM)



The Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) is the first long-distance hiking trail in Lebanon that is conserved and managed by the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA). The trail extends from Andqet in Northern Lebanon (Akkar) to Marjaayoun in the south, a 470-km path that goes through more than 75 towns and villages at altitudes ranging from 600 meters to 2,000 meters above sea level.

The LMT showcases the natural beauty and cultural wealth of Lebanon's mountains and demonstrates the determination of the people of Lebanon to conserve this unique heritage. The trail brings communities closer together and expands economic opportunities in rural areas through environmentally and socially-responsible tourism.

The objectives of the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association are to:

- Develop, maintain and conserve the Lebanon Mountain Trail
- Establish side trails on the Lebanon Mountain Trail
- Protect the natural, cultural and architectural heritage and landmarks near the trail
- Enhance economic opportunities by promoting responsible tourism
- Spread awareness and local environmental knowledge through targeted education programs and outreach


Educational programs have been developed by the LMTA in order to raise awareness in schools and institutions around the trail, with the support of the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE). Our various educational programs, including the Trail to Every Classroom and the Environmental Championship Program, not only allow students to explore the beauty of the LMT: They also help them understand the fragility of their environment and to learn about environmentally responsible behavior and attitudes.

We encourage and support environmental education and want it to be as practical, creative, visual and interactive as possible. The reasoning behind this is to try to engage kids and help them to understand and respect their environment so that ultimately they become protectors of its health and wealth. Mountain Explorers is designed to help achieve these objectives.

More info at: www.lebanontrail.org

Contact us at: info@lebanontrail.org or +961-5-955 302



The Fondation pour le Développement Durable des régions de Montagne (FDDM) or Swiss Foundation for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions is an institution that was founded in 1999 in Switzerland by the Valais state and Sion Municipality in order to promote sustainable development in worldwide mountainous regions. Its main goal is to coordinate the implementation of the Agenda 21 for climate change in the Valais. Through international collaborations, the FDDM also aims at putting in place awareness events and assisting education through international cooperation.

The FDDM is the international partner for this project, assisting the LMTA with their expertise and providing when needed structural advice and resourceful background information for the most important topics related to mountain resources and covered in Mountain Explorers.

More info at: www.fddm.ch

Contact us at: fddm@fddm.vs.ch or +41 27 607 10 80



Mountain Explorers was graphically designed and interactively developed by the creative team of Ce8mania.

About Cre8mania:

Brought together by knowledge-based passion, a team of creative artists, designers, and marketers decided to make the best use of digital media through developing unique contents and engineering unlimited interactive concepts. Cre8mania is a multidisciplinary digital agency in Lebanon that has been crafting timeless experiences for both consumers and market leaders for 14 consecutive years.

Cre8mania are the main developing partners of this interactive platform and worked closely with the LMTA education team to design, execute and develop Mountain Explorers, including all its creative visuals and animations. Additionally, some of their extensive work was offered in-kind to meet the tight budgets of developing the platform.

More info at: www.cre8mania.com

Contact us at: beirut@cre8mania.com or +961 4 914 759

Mountain Explorers was mainly funded through a grant from Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon, Swiss Cooperation Office, followed by a complementary grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).



Switzerland funded this Educational Tool for Sustainable Development of the Mountain Regions project, through a partnership with the Swiss Foundation for Sustainable Development in Mountain Region (FDDM) and a local partner the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA).

Thanks to this project, teachers and young Lebanese students of the secondary education level will be able to improve their knowledge of sustainable development, of their mountainous ecosystem and of the development challenges in their country. Having an interactive learning tool will increase the willingness of students to learn.

Switzerland cares about mountain regions and the environment and would like to highlight the importance of replication of such projects at a bigger scale.

More info at: www.eda.admin.ch/beirut

Contact us at: bey.vertretung@eda.admin.ch



The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) provides grants of up to $50,000 directly to local communities including non-governmental and community-based organizations (NGOs/CBOs) in developing countries for projects in Biodiversity, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Land Degradation and Sustainable Forest Management, International Waters and Chemicals.

These community-based projects must meet environmental objectives while at the same time also supporting poverty reduction and local empowerment objectives. SGP demonstrates that community action in collaboration with local authorities (municipalities), can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental imperatives.

Established in 1992, the year of the Rio Earth Summit, the GEF Small Grants Programme embodies the very essence of sustainable development by "thinking globally acting locally" "thinking globally acting locally".

SGP Lebanon started in early in 2005 and since 2006, more than 90 projects have been approved for NGOs and local associations under the Small Grants Programme of GEF.

More info at: www.thegef.org

Contact us at: +961 1 976 510



Mountain Explorers has received the support of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon to be used in schools as an educational extracurricular tool to teach kids about the importance of mountains, in a country that is characterized by its mountainous landscaping.

Contact the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon (MEHE)

More info at: www.mehe.gov.lb

Contact us at: info@mehe.gov.lb

    

The launching and implementation of Mountain Explorers in public schools is receiving academic support from the Chaire de l’Éducation à l’Éco-citoyenneté et au Développement Durable (CEEDD). CEEDD will assist the LMTA in undertaking pedagogical interdisciplinary projects in schools using Mountain Explorers as a main educational tool.

About the Chaire de l’Éducation à l’Éco-citoyenneté et au Développement Durable (CEEDD), Fondation Diane / Université Saint-Joseph:

Hosted by the Saint-Joseph University, the Chair in education for eco-citizenship and sustainable development (CEEDD) was created in September 2015 by the “Diane Foundation” with the objective of raising awareness among youth and adults on the importance of behaving sustainably and responsibly towards their environment, and to awaken their sense of citizenship and belonging to their country - Lebanon - through a positive and optimistic vision that is solution-oriented.

Education being a fundamental leverage in changing conceptions, attitudes and behaviors, the CEEDD aims at improving knowledge of socio-ecological stakes and challenges, and rethinking development models to build a harmony between citizens and nature. Committed to reconcile socioeconomic development needs with environmental conservation priorities and to promote the transition of societies towards sustainable development models, the CEEDD acts as a scientific and interdisciplinary platform between environmental sciences, economics and social sciences, and as a cornerstone for all national initiatives tackling eco-citizenship and sustainable development issues, carried out by universities, local NGOs, municipalities, and public and private institutions.

Given their converging objectives, the CEEDD and the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA) closely collaborate since 2016 in the implementation of educational projects related to eco-citizenship and sustainable development within the LMTA Trail to Every Classroom program in public schools.

More info at: www.ceecdd-fondation-diane.usj.edu.lb

Contact us at: ceedd-fondation-diane@usj.edu.lb



Mountain Explorers received additional funding or in-kind support from EcoConsulting, Cre8mania, Science & Ink, and the SOILS Permaculture Association Lebanon.

About EcoConsulting:

EcoConsulting is a sustainability consultancy with a focus on reworking the relationship between households, businesses, industries and the environment through greater energy-efficiency, better resource use, and healthier solutions. We specialize in eco-building and offer advice on bioclimatic design, eco-friendly materials, renewable energy, thermal modelling, daylighting, and more.

Our dedicated team also assists enterprises or institutions in developing corporate environmental policies, carbon footprint analysis, environmental education programs, environmental awareness campaigns, sustainability seminars and events, in addition to coaching eco-entrepreneurs.

Under our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), we have partnered with the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA) to assist in one of its conservation and development objectives: Education. Our enthusiastic team is committed to offering its time and know-how pro-bono to the benefit of the LMTA education program, public and private schools, as well as kids and local communities at large.

More info at: www.ecoconsulting.net

Contact us at: info@ecoconsulting.net or +961 1 971 266



Science and Ink is a communications company committed to providing the highest quality writing, editing and translation services for its clients. With a team of international language and specialized topic experts, we can address a wide range of technical and complex documents as well as manage high quality content.

We cover three key disciplines: Pharma & Biotech, Environment & Sustainability, and Business & Economics.

More info at: www.scienceandink.org

Contact us at: info@scienceandink.org



Founded in 2014, SOILS is a Lebanese not-for-profit NGO for the teaching, training and sharing of skills and resources related to sustainable and environment-friendly practices. The association is dedicated to applying Permaculture ethics and principles in design systems that work with nature - not against it - to provide food, energy and shelter in both rural and urban communities.
We put natural growing and sustainable development strategies into action through demonstrations, direct interventions, workshops and consultancies with a network of enablers in Lebanon, the region and abroad. We aim to cultivate a national network of growers, builders, makers and artists in Lebanon that care about nature-friendly and responsible practices, in view of collaborating with similar associations in the region and beyond.

More info at: www.soils-permaculture-lebanon.com

Contact us at: contact.soilslebanon@gmail.com or +961 71 617 988


THANK YOU!

We would like to thank the following contributors to the project for their time, expertise, support, constructive ideas, creative sketches, pictures, editing or thorough review of content and continuous commitment to environmental education in Lebanon:

Claudine Abdel Massih, Carole Akl, Desmond Astley-Cooper, Stephanie Mailhac, Fatima Shaar, Riyam Ghandour, Avedis Kalpaklian, all of the EcoConsulting team, as well as all the LMTA board members and staff 2017, in particular Salam Khalife, Alia Fares, Martine Btaich, Sawsan Haddad and Carlos Bou Nafeh.



COPYRIGHTS


The content of Mountain Explorers is a copyright of the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association with all rights reserved.It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The design of the Mountain Explorers platform is copyright of Cre8mania Digital Agency with all rights reserved.

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