EduFire Toolkit pilot tests starts!

From November 21 to 25, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) coordinated the first pilot test of the European project EduFire Toolkit, at the Institut Josep Lluís Sert in Castelldefels (Barcelona).

EduFire Toolkit, with partners from three countries – Pau Costa Foundation and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Leitrim County Council of Ireland, and Universidade de Lisboa of Portugal -, aims to educate high school students in wildfires risk prevention, through a project-based learning methodology, which provides tools for teachers and students from a transdisciplinary approach.

This first pilot test has focused on the importance of the participation of the entire community in managing the risk of wildfires and other challenges arising from the climate crisis, with a diverse range of actors, points of view and forms of knowledge present in each territory.

“In the selection of the actors who participated in the pilot test, priority was given to those who could provide local knowledge, as the aim was for the activity to serve as a catalyst to sustain and strengthen this local network over time”, explains Míriam Arenas (UOC), coordinator of the pilot test.

The pilot test coincided with the Institute’s Erasmus+ exchange week and therefore it has been possible to count on students from Portugal, France and Slovakia. In total, 64 students participated, accompanied by teachers, who carried out a collective research process on wildfires in the current context of climate change, from the perspective of Castelldefels and its surroundings, as well as from a European perspective.

“Each of the students has connected to a greater or lesser extent with the activities carried out during the week. The students have connected with very different activities. It is essential to think about activities that are diverse when carrying out this type of project”, says Míriam Arenas.

The activities carried out included an artistic workshop at the Cau Ferrat Museum in Sitges, where the students were able to connect with the emotions that the environment of wildfires awakens in them; a field trip to Olla del Rei, to learn about the local biodiversity threatened by different urban and infrastructure projects in the Delta del Llobregat area, historically affected by enormous environmental pressure, as well as the ecological struggles that defend the preservation of the territory with the platforms Salvem Olla del Rei and Les Agulles-Ecologistes en Acció; the development of a prototype to detect fire and send a signal to firefighters with the Institute’s technology teaching stuff; a talk on prescribed silvopasture with donkeys to prevent the risk of wildfires in the Collserola Natural Park; a workshop with Fundesplai on plant adaptation strategies to survive wildfires in Garraf; a guided excursion around the Cal Ganxo Environmental Activities Centre; and a talk by the Forestry Agents of the Castelldefels City Council.

“This pilot test has been very useful and interesting for teachers, especially the Erasmus+ teachers, since it has been a way of dealing with a topic that they had not worked on directly until now. It has allowed them to connect with things they would like to do in their institutes and see different ways of dealing with the issue of wildfires depending on the country we are talking about. They really want to be able to carry out similar activities in their countries”, highlights Míriam Arenas.

The second pilot test will take place on January 22, 23 and 25 at the Taradell Secondary School (Barcelona), coordinated by the Pau Costa Foundation, and will be followed by pilot tests in Ireland and Portugal.

“The EduFire Toolkit project will end on October 31, 2024 and will result in a web platform open to the public where the different educational resources created in the project and tested in these pilot tests can be consulted”, concludes Carla Vilarasau, Technician in the Education and Awareness area of the Pau Costa Foundation.