Final Report_3



DSC00072.JPG



How we worked.
















Our environment:
the consequences of air, water and soil
pollution









VIRTUAL EDEN
Comenius - Lifelong Learning Programme
School Partnerships
Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania
2009-2011


ABSTRACT

OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS

The report on the state of the environment in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Poland, Dub nad Moravou, the Czech Republic, Kiskunhalas, Hungary and Bucharest, Romania.
The students in various locations, from a small village through the agriculture town and an industrial town to the metropolis, worked on the project Our Environment. The objective of the project is to make students more aware of the natural environment and human’s impact on it. To determine the condition of the environment in their location, students conducted research on the consequences of the pollution of air, water and soil. They examined the water from nearby water bodies and soil near their schools. They do some experiments, they used different substrate to observe the difference in plant growth. They search their neighbourhoods for lichens. The results confirmed the expectations that the more the area is industrialized the more three integrated parts of the environment are damaged.


INTRODUCTION

Since the moment people left the Garden of Eden they have introduced many changes to the primeval environment. Initially slow and slight, over the centuries, changes of places where people live have become thorough and rapid. Some people understand that they cannot undermine the existing balance of nature. Young educated people who will have an impact on the future of the earth, should leave school with the appropriate pro-ecological attitude and respect for the natural environment.

“Virtual Eden” is the Comenius project which was carried out within the framework of the Lifelong Learning programme. Students and teachers from four schools worked together to examine the environment they live in (and depict in their photographs the ideal state it should have.) Experiments in school laboratories aimed to develop scientific competencies and enhance students’ scientific approach.

Working on the project “Our Neighbourhoods” students learnt about the environment they live in and how water, air and soil pollution can affect their lives. Students investigated the water bodies in their area, took samples of water from them and they determined the odour of water. They learnt where the drinking water comes from. At school laboratories they made simple macroscopic and microscopic analyses of water. They took microscopic photos of surveyed water. To learn what air they breathe, they listed the possible sources of air pollution in their area. They did simple research - they put some two-sided adhesive tape / balls of cotton in places which they thought to be the least and the most polluted. After a few days they analysed the surface of the exposed items. Students also made observation of fauna in the surveyed area paying close attention to the health condition of trees. They search for the most typical lichens in the vicinity of their school. The found examples helped them to determine the air pollution according to the Hawksworth and Rose scale. Students also examined the soil in the surveyed area and did a simple experiment with various substrata. They cultivated some fast growing seeds on diverse substrata. The experiment was to demonstrate the impact of the quality of soil on the growth of plants.
After collecting all data, the conclusions were drawn and the results were presented in a variety of forms- posters at school, reports on a Wiki page, and a brochure.

Even the youngest students can contribute to the protection of the environment. In addition to many campaigns aiming on cleaning-up the world, saving natural resources by reasonably acting in everyday life, students planted trees in their school yards and, in this way, set up Comenius Alley.



METHODS WHO?




Zespół Szkół Nr 11
Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Poland

Jastrzębie-Zdrój is an industrial town (100,000) in the south of Poland. In the past Jastrzębie-Zdrój was a spa village with lodine springs and bromine brine.
The project was conducted during the biology lessons in class 1 Gimnazjum (13years). The lessons were conducted by mgr Ireneusz Bańka, a biology teacher.




Základní Škola A Mateřská Škola Dub Nad Moravou,
Czech Republic
Dub nad Moravou is a large village (1,600) in Moravia, in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic. Students participating on this project task did all the experiments during the afternoon Science club which is an optional activity group for children keen on Science and Ecology. The research was supervised by Mrs. Pavlína Vybíralová, and Mrs. Iva Navrátilová.




Szent József Katolikus Általános Iskola
Kiskunhalas, Hungary

Kiskunhalas is the chief town of agricultural region, situated in the great plain of Hungary, called Alföld.
The project was conducted during the biology and chemistry lessons in class 5 and class 7. The lessons were conducted by a biology teacher, Boldogné Jenei Andrea and a chemistry teacher, Tóth Tibor.




Şcoala nr. 186 "Elena Văcărescu",
Bucharest, Romania


Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, (2,000,000)
Lessons were conducted by two chemistry teachers, Aura Toma and Florentina Dragomir, a biology teacher, Felix Lupulescu, a physics teacher, Georgeta Tudor and an English teacher, Mihaela Mladenovici. The students involved in these activities are in class 6, 7 and 8 during their ordinary school programme.



MATERIALS

The materials: samples of water, samples of soil, an (electronic) microscope, hand magnifying glasses, balls of cotton wool/two-sided adhesive tape, test tubes, a lichen scale, optional - the MERCK laboratory kit,etc..
THE PROCEDURE

What kind of environment do we live in? In this project students were researchers who explored harmful effects to the environment. They explored the global importance of good water, soil and air, particularly in their location.

Students were divided into 3 groups. Each group was required to write a report on the state/ condition of purity of a chosen part of the natural environment.

The first – WATER - group made a map of a research location marking reservoirs, wrote a short description of water in the neighbourhoods, took samples of water and did the analyses of its purity (macroscopic, microscopic, possibly chemical), wrote a report, and published the results of their research.
The second – AIR - group made a map of a research location, wrote a short description of sources of air pollution, did the analyses of the state of air based on: an observation of trees, the observation of samples of cotton wool set in various places; determined, based on a lichen scale (Hawksworth & Rose qualitative scale) approximate quantity of sulphur oxides; described pollutants and their influence on live organisms, wrote a report, and published the results of their research.
The third – SOIL - group made a map of a research location, wrote a short description concerning sorts of soils and ways of their usage, examined the state/condition of soil, marked on the map so called “illegal landfills”, determined pH of soil, examined an influence of detergents on the growth and development of plants, wrote a report, and published the results of their research.
Optional - interview a representative of the environmental protection department or an office worker of a sewage plant, representative of the environmental protection department, and/or a representative of company which heavily pollutes the soil / Environmental Protection Department




Zespół Szkół Nr 11
Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Poland

Jastrzębie-Zdrój is situated at the watershed of two drainage areas in Poland: the Vistula river and the Oder river. The Vistula originates in the Beskidy Mountains, the Oder/ Odra begins in the Czech Republic. Both rivers empty into the Baltic Sea. Within the Jastrzębie-Zdrój city limits eight streams have their sources. The Pszczynka Stream is a tributary of the Vistula, whereas the Szotkówka Stream is a tributary of the Oder. The streams which flow through the town are monitored by (WIOŚ) the Inspectorate of Environment Protection. In controlled points, which are placed far beyond the city limits, the water in streams is stated to be class 5, which means bad quality of water.
Coal mining in the area of Jastrzębie-Zdrój has caused land subsidence. As a results water reservoirs have been formed. Some of them are used by the mining industry. Other natural and artificially created ponds are used for fish farming and recreation.

The first sample of water was taken from a pond in the wood near the school, the second sample was taken from a natural spring near the pond.




Základní Škola A Mateřská Škola Dub Nad Moravou,
Czech Republic
Dub nad Moravou lies in the drainage area of the Morava river, the most important river of Moravia. The river originates on the Králický Sněžník mountain, near the border between the Czech Republic and Poland. After approximately 354 km, the Morava flows into the Danube at Bratislava-Devín. The river is used mainly as a source of hydroelectric power, for irrigation and recreational purpose.

The first water sample was taken from a part of the local Morava River, flowing at the edge of the village. This river arm is called Millrace as it was used as a source of energy for a nearby mill. It is an artificial river canal made in the past to lead water to the mill. The second water sample was taken from a still water source ( a small natural lake ) in a local garden.



Szent József Katolikus Általános Iskola
Kiskunhalas, Hungary

Kiskunhalas is situated in between two major rivers, the Danube and the Tisza. Kiskunhalas used to be surrounded by lakes, ponds, swamps, all rich in fish. The town is famous for the 48 degree Centigrade Halas water which, in the 80’s, was officially declared medicinal and is recommended for treating injuries, as well as for locomotor, joint and gynaecological conditions. The spa bath was built on the local medicinal iodine-rich spring. In Hungary most water is drawn from ground and spring sources, and only in rare cases is water from the Danube used. The lake Sóstó is located in the north of Kiskunhalas and it belongs to the catchment area of Tisza. It was formed by natural processes of the wind. Dongéri canal starts in the south of Kiskunhalas and goes to the north around the town. Then it falls into the river Tisza. The length of this canal is 84 kms and its catchment area is 930 kms2
Three samples of water were examined by students. The first sample was taken from The second sample was taken from the Dongéri canal, a place near the school. And the third sample was taken from the Dongéri canal, a place where thermal water is let into the canal.



Şcoala nr. 186 "Elena Văcărescu",
Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest is situated on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, which flows into the Argeș River, a tributary of the Danube. The Danube is Europe’s second longest river. It originates in the Black Forest in Germany, flows south-eastward through four capital cities and into the Black Sea. The river has been part of Pan-European transport corridor from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The Danube Delta has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Along its course, the Danube is a source of drinking water for about ten million people. However, some countries find the water too polluted. Only parts of Romania where the water is cleaner still use a lot of drinking water from the Danube. Several lakes stretch across Bucharest, along the Colentina River, a tributary of the Dâmbovița.

Three samples of water were taken from two rivers and a lake. The first sample of water was taken from The Dâmboviţa River, in Budeşti town, where it flows into The Argeş River. The second sample of water was taken from The Danube River, in Olteniţa town. The third sample of water was taken from the lake called Lacul Roşu, a natural lake in the mountains.

RESULTS

WATER ANALYSIS


RESULTS
Poland
Czech Republic
Hungary
Romania
Characteristics of surface water in the location
Streams, rivers and lakes, ponds
The Vistula river, the Oder/ Odra river
The water is monitored beyond the city limits
Water suitable for fishing and recreation.
The Morava river, which is a tributary of the Danube river. The Morava is unusual in that it is a European blackwater river.
The water is monitored by the company Povodí Moravy.
A lot of lakes rich in fish on the great plain Alföld.
Rivers and a lake
The Danube River, The Argeş River, The Dậmboviţa River
The water is monitored within Bucharest and in other regions of the country
Water suitable for fishing and recreation
The location of water- samples of water were taken from:
Sample 1
A pond nearby the school.

Sample 2
A natural spring near the pond
Sample 1
The Morava River

Sample 2
A garden lake
Sample 1
Sóstó
Sample 2
Dongéri canal: a place near the school
Sample 3
Dongéri canal: a place where thermal water is let into the canal
Sample 1:
The Dâmboviţa River,
Sample 2:
The Danube River, Sample 3:
Lacul Roşu lake,
Determination of odour of water
Sample 1.
fishy and floral, absence of rotten odour or phenol and other chemical compounds
Sample 2. odourless
Sample 1
earthy odor

Sample 2
fishy, grassy
Sample 1
fishy

Sample 2-3
floral and rotten odour
Sample 1:The water had a bad rotten odour;
Sample 2:The water had a bad odour;
Sample 3:The water had a weak odour of pool and wet wood
Macroscopic analysis
Sample 1. transparent, with a small admixture of pale colour. On the filter - mineral sediment (mainly sand) and the remains of aquatic plants.
Sample 2. transparent. On the filter - a few grains of sand
Sample 1
Colour – slightly yellow

Sample 2
Slightly green, muddy
Sample 1
kind of green

Sample 2-3
kind of dark green
Sample 1
almost matte. The amount of residues in the water is 800 mg/l;
Sample 2
almost matte. The amount of residues in the water is 900 mg/l.
Sample 3
Transparent, 350mg/l of natural remains in the water.

Microscopic analysis
Sample1:
- absence of organisms which are indicators for biologically clean water,
- remains of aquatic plants: Elodea and Myriophyllum, and water moss,
- sand and clay particles from the bottom of the tank.

Sample 2:
- absence of living organisms or their remains
- mainly sand
- (lower temperature of water.)
Sample 1
-mainly Cyanobacteriae and algae
- remains of plants (decomposing leaves) and water microorganism bodies.

Sample 2
-Cyclops strenuus
- Ostracod Candonae
- Philodinae
- Cyanobacteriae and algae
Sample 1
minerals and plants

Sample 2-3
some minerals and algae
Sample 1-2
Ciliates, rotifers, remains of aquatic plants

Sample 3
minerals, decomposing
plants, Cyanobacteriae
Examination of water pH
Sample:
6,5 pH
~7pH
Sample:
6,25 pH
7,0pH
Sample 1
8.5 pH
Sample 2-3
8 pH
Sample:
6,3 pH
6,4 pH
6,9pH
Microscope photos





Elodea and Myriophyllum
Cyclops strenuous







AIR

Air pollution is one of the most dangerous environmental hazards. Air pollutants arise from a wide variety of sources, although they are mainly a result of the combustion process. Some types of pollutants have natural sources such as volcanoes, forest fires and biological decay. Other types of pollutants come mainly from industries, road transport, power stations and houses. There are particulates and gaseous pollutions. Particulates are produced when fuel is burned. The major polluting gases are: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and ozone.
Air pollutants cause respectively: Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (both combine with water in the atmosphere) - acid rain. Carbon monoxide - poisoning. Carbon dioxide -the greenhouse effect Hydrocarbons – cancer. Ozone - respiratory disease.


RESULTS
ANALYSES OF AIR

RESULTS
Poland
Czech Republic
Hungary
Romania
Characteristics of sources of air pollution
Mining industry, power plants, road transport.
Road transport, house heating – coal.
The main road, which goes across this area, household heating.
Road transport, heavy traffic, factories
Examining content of dust in the air
Three samples were placed in the surveyed area. The sample which was placed nearby Cieszyńska street (which is a transit route to the Czech Republic) showed the largest content of particulates. The sample placed in the woods, far from streets and houses, showed the smallest dust content.
One sample was placed at the corner of a school building located straight at the main road. It showed large pollution – dust and dirt of black colour.
The second sample was located at the other school building at the church, near the village park. It did not show any dust or dirt content.
Two samples were placed in the surveyed area: in the schoolyard and András Áchim Street.


Observation????
Two samples were placed in the surveyed area:
- schoolyard, near Romana Square
- outskirts of the Bucharest
Determining the influence of air pollutants on plants
Leaves - no significant discoloration, slight damage to the blades in the form of perforations.
Needles - some needles are slightly discoloured. On the outskirt of the surveyed area there has been excessive needle drop from trees.
Treetops - fairly healthy, with a small amount of
replacement shoots.
The trees located directly at the main road have small discoloration and dusting caused by frequent road transport.
Plants - no significant discoloration, no damage to the blades in the form of perforations, the leaves are nice green.
In sample 1 plants have an obvious discoloration, some of them having dust on surface of leaves.
Some trees have dry leaves. The needles of coniferous tree from the Romana Square have a significant discoloration (brown-yellow and they have a layer of dust on them
Sample 2
Leaves – healthy, no significant discoloration
Finding lichens in the surveyed area
Rhizocarpon geographicum
Parmelia physodes –
Xanthoria parietina
Xanthoria parietina







AIR



Jastrzębie Zdrój is an industrial city. The main sources of air pollution are: three coalmines and two power plants using coal as fuel which contains up to 0,7% sulphur and methane.
Air pollutants cause: acid rain, the greenhouse effect, poisoning, cancer and respiratory disease.

Three samples were placed in the surveyed area. The sample which was placed on the outskirt of the surveyed area, nearby Cieszynska Street (which is a transit route to the Czech Republic), showed the largest content of particulates. The samples placed in the woods, far from streets and houses, showed the smallest dust content.

Observation of trees in the surveyed area showed that leaves had no significant discoloration, some of them show slight damage to the blades in the form of perforations. Part of the needles were noticed to be slightly discoloured. On the outskirts of the surveyed area there was excessive needles dropping from trees. Treetops were fairly healthy, with a small amount of replacement shoots.

The map lichen, Rhizocarpon geographicum, can be seen in the survey area which indicates the area of low air pollution. [Quantity of sulphur doixide is 32 µg/m3 http://stacje.katowice.pios.gov.pl/iseo/]



Dub nad Moravou is a village far away from industrial centres.
One sample was placed at the corner of a school building located straight at the main road. It showed large pollution – dust and dirt of black colour.
The second sample was located at the other school building at the church, near the village park. It did not show any dust or dirt content.
The trees and bushes in the village did not show any significant features of pollution. Only the trees located directly at the main road have small discoloration and dusting caused by frequent road transport.
Parmelia physodes, (L.) Ach. was found on tree trunks in a park between the school and a church. It is the most frequent lichen in the area.
[Habit and habitat.-Common on dead limbs of pines and hemlocks, lightly attached to its support. When it completely encircles the smaller twigs the tree has a particularly attractive appearance.]


Kiskunhalas is the chief town of its region, with a population of 30,000, only 134 km south of Budapest. The main source of pollution is the international motorway No. 53 which runs across the 600-year-old market-town, which lies just 45 km from the from the M5 motorway. Kiskunhalas is a busy railway junction.
The air pollution is moderate here. Because of heavt traffic a lot of nitric oxide, carbon dioxide, lead and volatile organic compound goes to the air and the smog is raised, too. In addition, in the winters we have to heat up our homes and we also generate some carbon dioxide, nitric oxide and loose soot with it.
Two samples were placed in the surveyed area: in the schoolyard and András Áchim Street.

In Kiskunhalas the Conservancy of Environment checks the amount of the dust every day, and it is usually under the limit. The air has got very small amount of SO2 or it hasn’t got any at all.

The Xanthoria parietina lichen can be seen in the survey area which indicates the increases in NO3 deposition as a result of industrial and agricultural developments. Xanthoria parietina is a very pollution-tolerant species. It is also tolerant of heavy metal contamination. For these reasons, this species has found use as a biomonitor for measuring levels of toxic elements.



Bucharest is the largest city of Romania, so it is the most polluted. There are thousands of cars and other vehicles which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The centre of Bucharest, the Roman Square, is the most polluted zone of the city, and this is exactly the place where our school is situated.
Until recently, the regions surrounding Bucharest were largely rural, but after 1989, new suburbs started to be built around Bucharest.


SOIL


Soil is a thin layer of material on the Earth's surface in which plants have their roots. It consists of organic and inorganic materials, water and air. Soil is formed over a long period of time. The better soil is, the better crops can be expected. The contamination of soil has a huge impact on biodiversity and on living organisms. There are a few sources of soil pollution: acid rains caused by chemical substances, farming techniques, and deforestation.

RESULTS

ANALYSES OF SOIL


RESULTS
Poland
Czech Republic
Hungary
Romania
Characteristics of soil in the neighbourhoods
Podzols and Cambisols are dominant types of soils in the area of Jastrzębie-Zdrój.
Lumpy and crumbly brown soil, without sand, medium heavy.

Clay soil, humus is reduced.
Determining content of litter and humus in a sample
The O horizon of soil is 10 cm thick and consists mainly of spruce and pine needles, fallen leaves, dead insects and small twigs.
The sample contains small plant roots, remains of soil microorganisms, residues leaves and twigs. Rarely it contains clay grains and parts of eartworms.

The sample of soil contains roots, microorganisms, residues, particles of sand, broken pebbles.
Determining soil pH
Samples from:
pH – 5,5

nearby wood
pH - 5,7

nearby field

pH 6 – 6,5

school yard



Experiments
Determining the influence of detergents on the growth and development of plants.

Cress seeds cultivated on salt, dilution of soap and laundry soap did not germinate; there was a nasty smell.
Determining soil pH
-Take a small amount of sample soil ( 20 g ), and mix it in a beaker with 50 ml of distilled water.
-Heat the beaker moderately while stirring it.
-Then let the dirt settle down at the bottom of the beaker for about 10 minutes.
-After that, filter the solution and insert a stripe of litmus paper in the beaker.
-Define the pH by comparing the gained colour with a colour scale and write down the value.

Separating substances from mixtures (decantation and filtration)
The soluble components of the soil dissolve in water whereas the insoluble components lie on the bottom of the Berzelius glass as their density is higher than the water density.
On the filter paper can be observed the soil components which had a density lower than that of the water or comparable to it and in the glass a clear liquid called filtrate is obtained.
Tracing illegal landfills
Three illegal landfills were traced in the surveyed area. Each of them extends on the area 3-4 square meters. They consist mainly of household waste and used tyres
No illegal landfills are observed in the village and its neighbourhoods.

Illegal landfills were found near the school and in the center of Romana Square.




In the area of Jastrzębie-Zdrój two types of soil are predominant: Podzols and Cambisols. They are suitable to grow wheat (39% of the arable land) and rye (16%). In Jastrzębie soil material is a critical component in the mining industry. 5% of the land in the city area is used by the coal mines and their by-products - heaps of coal stones.
A soil sample was collected in the forest. The O horizon of soil is 10 cm thick .The litter included fallen leaves, a large number of needles, mainly spruce and pine, dead insects, small twigs of trees.
In the surveyed area three illegal landfills were traced. Each of them extend on the area 3-4 m². They consist mainly of household waste and old tyres.
Soil is the primary nutrient base for plants. The experiment was conducted to examine how the quality of soil influences crops.




The main agricultural crops grown in Dub nad Moravou area are potatoes, wheat, maize, sugar beet, oilseed rape and vegetables. The brown soil around the village is very fertile, with humus horizon about 30 cm high.
Thanks to regular events called Collection of bulky and dangerous waste, the village does not suffer with illegal landfills as local inhabitants prefer giving the household waste over in the course of such March and October cleaning events for free.



















Bucharest is situated in the south eastern corner of the Romanian Plain, in an area once covered by the Vlăsiei forest, which, after it was cleared, gave way to a fertile flatland.
Bucharest is the largest city of Romania, so it is the most polluted. There are thousands of cars and other vehicles which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The centre of Bucharest, the Roman Square, is the most polluted zone of the city, and this is exactly the place where our school is situated.




SUMMARY



Jastrzębie Zdrój is situated at the watershed of the two major Polish rivers. There are numerous sources of safe water within the limits of the city. In spite of the fact that a modern sewage treatment plant works in the city, the water in streams which start and flow through the city is contaminated by industrial and agricultural waste and domestic household sewage. Drinking water is delivered by a public utility company from a natural source in the Czech Republic. The water in the surveyed reservoirs is suitable for fishing.

Jastrzebie Zdrój is an industrial city. Emissions of various pollutants from three coal mines and two power stations and road transport, are the most dangerous environmental hazards. However, due to modern technology and strict protection laws, the contamination of air in the survey area does not exceed the standards.



Dub nad Moravou is located in a rural area. There is no polluting industry in the village but the big source of pollution is frequent road transport. The main road in the centre of the village is used by cars going to Přerov, Prostějov and Olomouc cities. In winter some houses use coal for heating which causes pollution as well.
The countryside around the village is affected by very intensive agricultural production. The predominant soil type is brown soil, mostly cultivated by a local cooperated farm. On the other hand, the greenery in the village and its surroundings is very rich and local people invest lots of energy into keeping the village clean and green.
Drinking water for Dub nad Moravou is gained from a local underground water source. The village has a public water conduit but many houses have their own wells for watering gardens.










Bucharest is the capital city of Romania, being situated in the south-east of the country. It is crossed by two rivers, The Dambovita and The Colentina. It is a crowded city, with a population of about 2 million inhabitants. The most important sources of pollution are found on the outskirts of the city: non-ferrous metallurgical plants, tyre-processing and building materials factories. As a result of the increase in the number of vehicles and some incineration installations in central areas, air pollution is sometimes obvious. It has been observed that in the city lakes and its two rivers there are microbiological components, a big quantity of household waste being dumped here. Despite this, Bucharest has numerous wide, modern parks.
=========================================



Our environment:
the consequences of the pollution
of air, water and soil

VIRTUAL EDEN
Comenius - Lifelong Learning Programme
School Partnerships
Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania
2009-2011

ABSTRACT

OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS

The report on the state of the environment in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Poland, Dub nad Moravou, the Czech Republic, Kiskunhalas, Hungary and Bucharest, Romania.
The students in various locations, from a small village through the agriculture town and an industrial town to the metropolis, worked on the project Our Environment. The objective of the project is to make students more aware of the natural environment and human’s impact on it. To determine the condition of the environment in their location, students conducted research on the consequences of the pollution of air, water and soil. They examined the water from nearby water bodies and soil near their schools. They do some experiments, they used different substrate to observe the difference in plant growth. They search their neighbourhoods for lichens. The results confirmed the expectations that the more the area is industrialized the more three integrated parts of the environment are damaged.

INTRODUCTION

Since the moment people left the Garden of Eden they have introduced many changes to the primeval environment. Initially slow and slight, over the centuries, changes of places where people live have become thorough and rapid. Some people understand that they cannot undermine the existing balance of nature. Young educated people who will have an impact on the future of the earth, should leave school with the appropriate pro-ecological attitude and respect for the natural environment.

“Virtual Eden” is the Comenius project which was carried out within the framework of the Lifelong Learning programme. Students and teachers from four schools worked together to examine the environment they live in (and depict in their photographs the ideal state it should have.) Experiments in school laboratories aimed to develop scientific competencies and enhance students’ scientific approach.

Working on the project “Our Neighbourhoods” students learnt about the environment they live in and how water, air and soil pollution can affect their lives. Students investigated the water bodies in their area, took samples of water from them and they determined the odour of water. They learnt where the drinking water comes from. At school laboratories they made simple macroscopic and microscopic analyses of water. They took microscopic photos of surveyed water. To learn what air they breathe, they listed the possible sources of air pollution in their area. They did simple research - they put some two-sided adhesive tape / balls of cotton in places which they thought to be the least and the most polluted. After a few days they analysed the surface of the exposed items. Students also made observation of fauna in the surveyed area paying close attention to the health condition of trees. They search for the most typical lichens in the vicinity of their school. The found examples helped them to determine the air pollution according to the Hawksworth and Rose scale. Students also examined the soil in the surveyed area and did a simple experiment with various substrata. They cultivated some fast growing seeds on diverse substrata. The experiment was to demonstrate the impact of the quality of soil on the growth of plants.
After collecting all data, the conclusions were drawn and the results were presented in a variety of forms- posters at school, reports on a Wiki page, and a brochure.

Even the youngest students can contribute to the protection of the environment. In addition to many campaigns aiming on cleaning-up the world, saving natural resources by reasonably acting in everyday life, students planted trees in their school yards and, in this way, set up Comenius Alley.




METHODS WHO?

external image clip_image002.jpg
Zespół Szkół Nr 11
Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Poland

Jastrzębie-Zdrój is an industrial town (100,000) in the south of Poland. In the past Jastrzębie-Zdrój was a spa village with lodine springs and bromine brine.
The project was conducted during the biology lessons in class 1 Gimnazjum (13years). The lessons were conducted by mgr Ireneusz Bańka, a biology teacher.


external image clip_image004.jpg

Základní Škola A Mateřská Škola Dub Nad Moravou,
Czech Republic
Dub nad Moravou is a large village (1,600) in Moravia, in the Olomouc Region of the Czech Republic. Students participating on this project task did all the experiments during the afternoon Science club which is an optional activity group for children keen on Science and Ecology. The research was supervised by Mrs. Pavlína Vybíralová, and Mrs. Iva Navrátilová.


external image clip_image006.jpg

Szent József Katolikus Általános Iskola
Kiskunhalas, Hungary

Kiskunhalas is the chief town of agricultural region, situated in the great plain of Hungary, called Alföld.
The project was conducted during the biology and chemistry lessons in class 5 and class 7. The lessons were conducted by a biology teacher, Boldogné Jenei Andrea and a chemistry teacher, Tóth Tibor.


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Scoala nr. 186 "Elena Vacarescu",
Bucharest, Romania


Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, (2,000,000)
Lessons were conducted by two chemistry teachers, Aura Toma and Florentina Dragomir, a biology teacher, Felix Lupulescu, a physics teacher, Georgeta Tudor and an English teacher, Mihaela Mladenovici. The students involved in these activities are in class 6, 7 and 8 during their ordinary school programme.



MATERIALS

The materials: samples of water, samples of soil, an (electronic) microscope, hand magnifying glasses, balls of cotton wool/two-sided adhesive tape, test tubes, a lichen scale, optional - the MERCK laboratory kit,etc..


THE PROCEDURE

What kind of environment do we live in? In this project students were researchers who explored harmful effects to the environment. They explored the global importance of good water, soil and air, particularly in their location.

Students were divided into 3 groups. Each group was required to write a report on the state/ condition of purity of a chosen part of the natural environment.

The first – WATER - group made a map of a research location marking reservoirs, wrote a short description of water in the neighbourhoods, took samples of water and did the analyses of its purity (macroscopic, microscopic, possibly chemical), wrote a report, and published the results of their research.
The second – AIR - group made a map of a research location, wrote a short description of sources of air pollution, did the analyses of the state of air based on: an observation of trees, the observation of samples of cotton wool set in various places; determined, based on a lichen scale (Hawksworth & Rose qualitative scale) approximate quantity of sulphur oxides; described pollutants and their influence on live organisms, wrote a report, and published the results of their research.
The third – SOIL - group made a map of a research location, wrote a short description concerning sorts of soils and ways of their usage, examined the state/condition of soil, marked on the map so called “illegal landfills”, determined pH of soil, examined an influence of detergents on the growth and development of plants, wrote a report, and published the results of their research.
Optional - interview a representative of the environmental protection department or an office worker of a sewage plant, representative of the environmental protection department, and/or a representative of company which heavily pollutes the soil / Environmental Protection Department