The Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) and the Ministry of the Environment are launching nature walks for children and young people from Ukraine. The aim of the project is to support the adaptation of Ukrainian refugee children, young people, and their parents in Estonia, and to provide relief from the trauma of war and changes of life through nature walks.
During the summer of 2022, there will be group trips to the countryside with guides and activities, with 60 nature walks organised across Estonia over three months. On the hikes, participants will solve creative tasks related to nature and learn new things about both Estonian and Ukrainian nature.
According to Andrus Treier, the CEO at EIC, the activities of EIC traditionally include raising awareness of the natural environment and organising practical activities related to the environment. ‘So the idea was born to organise excursions to Estonia’s countryside for Ukrainian war refugees, to provide children with summer fun and activities, and to raise awareness of how nature works as a whole. Many thanks to all those who have come along with the idea and contributed to it,’ Treier added.
Meelis Münt, the Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment said that getting to know Estonia through nature trips is likely to help Ukrainians integrate better into our lives. ‘An explanatory booklet comparing the nature of Estonia and Ukraine will certainly be a valuable tool,’ Münt said.
‘There is a lot of interest in the nature hikes starting from Tartu and we are looking forward to receiving registrations for the hikes starting from Tallinn. In August, there will also be excursions from other regional centres,’ Project Manager Liina Värs said. She added: ‘We are actively working to ensure that information about the excursions reaches all interested parties, and we are also informing local authorities and their coordinators.’
In June, nature trips are organised starting from Tartu, in July, from Tallinn, and in August, from Ida-Viru County, Rakvere, Kuressaare, Paide, and Pärnu. The first hikes are already taking place this week and it is possible to pre-register for future hikes. It is possible to register for hikes from Tartu here and for hikes from Tallinn here. Information about future hikes will be shared on the project’s Facebook page.
The project will be carried out by EIC and the Ministry of the Environment, together with private partners, in order to introduce Estonian nature through language learning and an inclusive programme. The nature tours are supported by GoBus, MK Autobuss AS, Trio Buss, Kaupmees AS, and Bentte OÜ.