Sustainable development strives to combine the fair development of societies and protection of the environment. Today there is growing awareness of the benefits to be gained from sustainable development. The Alpine lakes - the centrepiece of our Alpine heritage - are also excellent material for education and awareness training on sustainable development.
This is why the partners in the SILMAS project will place great emphasis on running information campaigns for a broad target audience made up of school children, elected representatives and tourists.
A special lakes area will be set up in tourist offices located in the vicinity of five lakes in the countries involved in the project.
Visitors will find an exhibition on the lake, information brochures, maps, an interactive game on the Alpine lakes and general information about the Alpine lakes involved in the SILMAS project.
This initiative is being led by the National Biology Institute of Slovenia, which is responsible for all of the educational schemes on sustainable development.
Information on the Alpine lakes exists, but has never been pooled. The SILMAS project will set up a database of cultural, natural and human knowledge. These new resources will be added to the scientific data collected by the first Alpine lakes network, Alplakes.
Interested readers will be able to find all of the information on the SILMAS website, using an interactive map.
These tools have been designed with two target audiences in mind: children and tourists.
Two games will be developed for children. The first of these is an interactive game, which will be available for download in 2012 from the SILMAS website and partner websites. The aim of the game will be to make young people aware of the distinctive environment of the Alpine lakes. Developed by the Lake Bourget committee, CISALB, the game will also be available in Alpine lake interpretation centres.
The second game developed for young people will be a learning kit on the Alpine lakes. The kit will consist of fun educational tools to teach children about how lakes work, for use in the classroom.
To raise tourists' awareness of the issues, special communication tools will be developed and presented on Alpine lake event 2012. It will also be an opportunity for the partners in the SILMAS project to present the work accomplished over the three years of the project.
The tools will then be made available for interested Alpine lake tourist offices.
Local decision-makers today are all aware of the importance of protecting the Alpine lakes. They often take steps, at local level, to protect their lake environments. However, a lack of knowledge about lakes and how their work can result in inappropriate action being taken. This is why the National Biology Institute of Slovenia is keen to offer them training sessions, during which experts will be able to answer any questions they may have and give them concrete examples of successful initiatives on European lakes.
It will be an opportunity not only for discussion and sharing, but also - and especially - for learning.
These training sessions will subsequently be transcribed and made available to everyone over the Internet.