Clean Underground has become part of high school biology classes! This is not a joke … in a few days, curricular reform begins in all schools: much is expected from this change, as the way our children are educated is radically changing.
Starting this fall, the curriculum will include lectures about protecting the karst underground. Across Croatia, in biology classes, students will learn about the importance of protecting caves and pits in the first grades of high school. Specifically, biology professors will receive instructional materials on the Clean Underground project and prepare a lesson on how to cover this topic. The way children absorb content is changing – there will not only be dry stories about contaminated objects in the classroom, instead, we have designed various interesting activities for the children. Students will first get acquainted with our portal, then actively engage in the protection of their environment and learn a lot along the way. They will record interviews with prominent members of the local community, share information on the situation on the ground with the Clean Underground Initiative, and we will encourage reports of contaminated speleological objects to local authorities. We want to make students aware that our underworld is unique, but also encourage them to play an active role in solving problems in their immediate environment.
A major step forward in protecting the Croatian underground
For the first time, in high school education, specific information and examples will be used to talk about protecting our unique karst. This is probably the biggest success of the speleologists and the Clean Underground Initiative in terms of investing in the future and protecting our caves and pits in the long term. Although a few years ago we included our information in national waste management documents, these are unfortunately only letters on paper that are far from being of real use. If we infect only one high school student with speleology or encourage active care for underground protection – our work has succeeded! This is a major step forward by speleologists in popularizing the protection of the underground and underground fauna!
From teaching materials to textbooks
As the icing on the cake – we are also sharing information that Clean Underground will appear in another place in the education system this year. In addition to the curriculum reform, i.e. materials for the teachers, the initiative will be mentioned in the textbooks for the students themselves, and will also be thoroughly covered in working materials in biology for the first year of high school. These textbooks are published by one of the largest publishing houses Profil-Klett, so we will further raise awareness of the protection of the karst underground.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the smart, open-minded and farsighted professors Željko Krstanac and Zrinka Pongrac Štimac who made this great success possible for us. Thank you for recognizing and acknowledging us at first glance, thank you for expanding our story to our most important ears!