SPECIALIZED EDUCATIONAL STRATEGY PROKARSTERRA-EDU
The specialized educational strategy ProKARSTerra-Edu is an initiative of the Experimental Laboratory of Karstology (ELK) at NIGGG-BAS and since 2010 has been developed in international cooperation. The strategy is based on the integration between the research concept of karst geosystems and the educational concept of Lifelong Learning. Favorable basis for its implementation are the wide spread of extremely diverse karst in Bulgaria, the declared protected karst territories and the established scientific network of ELK of model karst geosystems, suitable for educational activitie.
The main goal of the ProKARSTerra-Edu strategy is through innovative forms of education to provide necessary knowledge, skills and competencies for karst and create the necessary conditions for training of specialists with key skills in Karstology. The theoretical and methodological platform of the strategy is the original paradigm ProKARSTerra of ELK, which combines three important areas: research and monitoring, management and business, education and training.
And what is ProKARSTerra?
In 2009, NIGG-BAS started the development of an international project funded by the Scientific Research Fund, under the title "Development of an experimental model of complex monitoring for sustainable development and management of protected karst territories". It became known with the ProKARSTerra abbreviation:
1. ProKARSTerra - from English: Protected Karst Territories, but also
2. ProKARSTerra - from Latin: Pro Karst Terra (for the karst land)
This allowed and prompted the use of ProKARSTerra in a much broader sense and it became a trademark of the Experimental Laboratory of Karstology.
The ProKARSTerra-Edu strategy contains three original international initiatives that have already successfully experimented:
- International competition "Karst under protection - gift for the future generations" (4 editions: 2005, 2012, 2015, 2019 and announced 5th edition 2021-2022)
- Travelling School of karst (conducted in 2015 and 2017 on routes through karst areas in Northern Bulgaria)
- International Competition for students "Karst - the Last White Spot on the planet Earth" (first edition: August 4-9, 2019 in Brestnitsa karst geosystem)
These initiatives complement and build on each other in order to maximize the effectiveness of innovative training and education for / through karst. More than 600 participants from 24 countries took part in their realization. The achieved results outline a clear perspective of the ProKARSTerra-Edu strategy, incl. for the implementation of the original initiative of ELK (2013) to declare an International Year of Karst.
The international educational initiatives of ProKARSTerra-Edu received the support of UNESCO, implemented through three successful projects of ELK under the Participation Programs (2011-2012, 2014-2015 and 2018-2019). The development and experimentation of the strategy is also supported through the karst projects implemented by ELK, funded by the Bulgarian National Science Fund.