Ecological problems more and more influence our lives and adult education is not an exception. Various integrated programs are being created and ecological matters are included into many school subjects. We can talk about ecological problems during the lessons but our experience shows that the most effective ways is practical activities. One of the most efficient and creative ways is participation in project so since the year of 2000, Vilnius „Židinio“ gymnasium teachers and students have been participating in programs supported by Grundtvig, Comenius, Europa Workshop, Nordplus Adult and JTBA.
In September, 2014, Vilnius „Židinio“ adult gymnasium teachers and students started an Erasmus+: Grundtvig Strategic Partnerships project „Collect. Recycle. Manufacture“. The aim of the project is to recycle used paper and to use it for a specific purpose as a way of solving ecological problems. Other participants of this project are adult education institutions from Greece (European Center in Training for Employmen, Crete), Ireland (Kerry Action for Development Education, Tralee), Italy ASTERISCO-Associazione per lo sviluppo socioeconomic, Palermo) and Portugal (Associação Intercultural Amigos da Mobilidade, Barcelos).
All countries actively participate in project workshops which were the main objective of the first project meeting in Lithuania, from the 18th to 22nd of January, 2015. Project partners presented their organizations and the research results on paper usage and recycling in their countries. They have also conducted interesting researches on how much paper is used in their local communities. All countries calculated the amount of paper they use per year and converted this number into the amount of trees that were used to produce that amount of paper. Each country has undertaken to replant the exact number of trees.
Project coordinators introduced the participants to a handmade paper making methodology. During seminars, project members produced their own handmade paper sheets and other artistic pieces from paper pulp. Project meeting ended with an exhibition from handmade art pieces from paper pulp produced during the seminars.
Each team left Lithuania having an assignment to test out the methodology they have learnt and to organize seminars in their countries to their target groups on chosen handmade paper making methodology. From January to April, project participants held 17 seminars to various target groups such as seniors, social workers, kindergarten teachers, elementary school students, disabled people, local citizens, adult educators, trainees, volunteers and students. During these seminars we were making paper sheets, postcards, pictures, Shrovetide masks, Easter decorations and eggs, penholders and lampshades. Each seminars ends with an exhibition of participants‘ handmade art works. Participants of the seminars are happy to try a new and interesting activity which, by some of them, will be applied in their work and for others will become a great leisure time activity. And the most important part is the fact that at the same time we recycle and produce new, lovely things.
These seminars achieved a great success; therefore, we will continue series of seminars in the autumn. Everyone, who is interested, is welcome to visit our Vilnius „Židinio“ gymnasium website.