In 2014, The Wetlands Institute, Wetland Link International, and Wetlands International Russia teamed up to generate a beneficial international dialogue between wetland centers in the US and Russia. This project, Russia-USA Wetland Center Exchange Program: Linking People and Wetlands, brought staff from wetland centers in the US and Russia together to share best practices and approaches in environmental education, support the development of effective outreach and education activities, and directly link peers to foster greater cultural understanding.
Through a series of full immersion exchange visits throughout 2015, six wetland centers equally divided between the US and Russia were able to travel abroad to visit their partner centers and spend several days exploring commonalities and differences between the two centers. This past October, The Wetlands Institute (TWI) hosted their project partners Dmitry Belyaev and Alexander Kochergin from Smolensk Lakeland National Park. For five days, Dmitry and Alexander explored South Jersey ecosystems, while visiting local environmental education organizations and learning from TWI community partners.
The culmination of the project was a 3-day international conference held at The Wetlands Institute. The conference brought all wetland centers together to explore lessons learned, discuss best practice approaches for using social media, data sharing and outreach to further environmental education, and produce a bilingual best practices manual for use in wetland centers. The highlight of the conference was a public open house where project partners shared their experiences and lessons learned. To view, the open house presentation, please visit the project website at: