Central Region SPARE Students Celebrated World Wind Day June 15

Authors: Yakushenko V. I., Zaitseva N. V., Koryagina N. P.

Translators: Betsy Toll and Karen Watson, volunteers, USA

The SPARE program draws hundreds of interested schoolchildren every year and directs their attention to sustainable energy and multiple types of alternative energy. They learn that major corporations and ordinary families can all benefit from the huge potential of wind energy. Wind was used by our ancestors for grinding flour, for powering merchant and passenger ships and military fleets, and for the first power plants. But today, urban and rural schoolchildren very rarely see operating wind power plants – this is why SPARE schools present educational summer programs and camps on International Wind Day every year.

The regional coordinators of SPARE developed themes and activities for this year’s events and sent information to more than 100 summer school camps. Teachers, project leaders, and children added their own creative suggestions to make the Day of the Wind fun, bright, and unusual. The main goal of the events on June 15 was to show children that active development of wind energy in any region helps to address the three “E” categories of environmental problems: Ecology, Economy, and Energy. They learn how using wind can even help in responding to climate problems.

This summer’s event began with stories and presentations about how this special holiday was started on June 15, 2005, at the initiative of the European Wind Energy Association and the World Wind Energy Council. That year, leaders and members of those organizations decided to develop a program that would call the public’s attention to this free, environmentally friendly energy phenomenon: the wind.

The first International Wind Day celebration was held in Europe in 2007, and by 2009 more than 30 countries celebrated the Day of the Wind. In Russia, this holiday is not yet official, but our SPARE programs work regionally and locally every June 15 to attract the attention of children, residents of micro-districts, the administration, and energy companies, to feature the potential of affordable wind energy. More and more people in Russia and elsewhere are learning that "Wind power plants are the future!"

As the students this year started conversations by telephone, they recalled the famous lines of A. S. Pushkin:

Wind, wind! You are powerful,

You're chasing flocks of clouds,

You excite the blue sea,

You're blowing everywhere in the open.

Students all took part in a literary quiz focused on poems, riddles, and proverbs about the wind that are familiar to schoolchildren from childhood. These literary events flowed smoothly into historical and geographical quizzes and activities as well. The students created models of sailboats and windmills from a variety of materials, and these crafts were then transferred to kindergartens. On huge geographical maps, students analyzed and identified regions where wind strength is very high, fairly constant, and relatively predictable. The students used these materials and their own observations of school weather stations, and they also drew regional and local "wind roses." Young men carried out simple, entertaining demonstrations, launching kites and catching streams of wind in ordinary gauze nets, raising bright flags and colorful ribbons high in the air.

Through the activities, the schoolchildren discovered that buildings, trees, or even poles sometimes act as barriers that "break" the wind and reduce its strength. They also learned that the most energetically efficient airflows occur out in open areas and landscapes on the hills. Those are the same places where our ancestors long ago built early windmills to generate energy.

The students found “household laboratories" especially interesting. In simple exercises, students were able to determine the direction and strength of the wind with a wet hand. They also recalled the rules for drying clothes in the wind, installing room-cooling systems powered by a fan, and how even a paper window fan can help with cooling and save energy too.

Teachers drew the attention of schoolchildren to special sites of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, where specialists have developed useful skills and rules of behavior in the event of storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes. The classes were held with enthusiasm and humor along with age-appropriate knowledge and game situations. Experts drew special attention to the processes of climate change that are associated with the formation, movement, and strength of airflows.

The students also learned that in extreme weather situations, it is not important to take a selfie, but it is extremely important to identify and provide the safest place for themselves and others.

Our Day of the Wind holidays ended with drawing contests, excitement about new school projects, and a great mood. The students saw in practice how wind energy is born and how it can work to the benefit of everyone.


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