Biosphere Challenge 2017


Why a Biosphere Challenge?
All people living in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve have a special opportunity to showcase good examples of sustainable ways of living in harmony with our planet Earth.

The first Biosphere Challenge was initiated in 2015 by Biosphere Reserve Lake Vänern Archipelago in Sweden and Lake Vänern Museum. It is a challenge for elementary schools in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The purpose of the Biosphere Challenge is to show the effects of many people working together towards a common goal. Together we can create a change towards a more sustainable world!

Sustainable development is complex and we do not have all the answers. Biosphere reserves are model regions where local solutions to meet global challenges are developed. When global challenges feel overpowering, we want to show that change is possible and that we can work together to create change. You and your elementary school can participate. Let the children experience that many people’s actions can contribute to something big. Our ambition is to offer annual practical, real challenges, accessible on equal terms for all pupils.

Perhaps you are wondering what a biosphere reserve is? Here are two things good to know:
1. It is a UNESCO designation that we can be proud of! It means that we live in a special place where people and nature thrive in harmony.
2. People living in a biosphere reserve have an important mission: To find clever solutions to meet the global challenges we are facing. Together, we will make sure the world is a good place for future generations.


This year’s Biosphere Challenge is about recycling and creativity
The Biosphere Challenge is a challenge for schools in your biosphere reserve. This means that you will select and acknowledge the winners locally. Being part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, gives added value since we will share and distribute all Challenge entries through a central web page. All biosphere reserves participating in the Challenge, will get access to all good ideas which may inspire your future work. Perhaps, you would like to connect to a school in another biosphere reserve participating in the Challenge?


Here is what to do
The Challenge 2017 consists of two parts:
1. Challenge school classes in your biosphere reserve to gather recyclable material. The class that gather the most amount, measured in metric kilos, wins. (You decide time for collection that is most suitable for you.)
2. Use the collected recyclable material in an art project: Create an animal that lives in your biosphere reserve. An appointed jury for your biosphere reserve selects a winner. Don’t forget to share pictures of the creations with us! Remember to recycle the material after you have documented the animal.


Four criteria must be met in the first part of the challenge:
1. Safety: Discuss together and talk about how the recyclable material is picked safely.
2. Participation: Everyone in the class should be able to participate in the activity, on their own
3. Area description: Describe the area for collection. What does the area mean for you? How is it
4. Sorting: The recyclable material should be sorted into the categories and weighed.

Two criteria must be included in the creative part of the challenge:
1. Democracy: The animal representing the class should be selected in a democratic way.
2. Planning: Crafting the animals should include the entire class. Everyone cannot do Everything but everyone can contribute with something.


When a school in your biosphere reserves accept the Challenge and sign up, a welcome package will be sent via e-mail. It includes pedagogic materials and a report form.


Share the results of the Biosphere Challenge in your biosphere reserve with us! Please attach pictures, cartoons or movies from your work. Remember that all students who participate in the film or image must have approval from the parent or guardian.


Here is how you sign up
Accept the Biosphere Challenge 2017 by contacting Johanna Olsson, Biosphere Challenge Coordinator:, Please, sign up before May 15th.

The jury of Lake Vänern Archipelago BR will select an Honorary Winner amongst the international participants. If you would like you entry to be considered by this jury, please submit the results of your Challenge no later than June 15th, 2017.

Results from Biosphere Challenge 2016 – Democracy and Mobility
Last year, 19 schools, 28 school classes, from 5 biosphere reserves in 4 countries accepted the Challenge about democracy and mobility. Please see all the entries here:

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