Expansion of the Nomadic Nature Trunk Program

The dedicated members of the Land of Snow Leopard (LOSL) network have been working diligently these past months to complete the integration of a spiritual and cultural component into the award-winning Nomadic Nature Trunks (NNT) program.

Early this year, Pawanka Fund granted SLC monies to allow Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Tajikistan LOSL members to update the NNT grade school curriculum. The mission of LOSL is to ensure intergenerational knowledge transfer of the cultural, spiritual, and environmental significance of totemic snow leopards. LOSL and SLC believe the Trunks program is an excellent tool to achieve that mission.

Nomadic Nature Trunk

Each trunk contains 25 interactive games and crafts focusing on the interconnectedness of all life, covering such topics as native biodiversity, habitats, and human-wildlife conflict. While the NNT curriculum is rooted in indigenous nomadic traditions, it currently lacks a significant spiritual / cultural dimension and components of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).

Shaman Buyanbadrakh Erdenetsog

With the help of network Elders and Indigenous Cultural Practitioners (ICPs), LOSL is working to develop and interweave the transcendent nature of snow leopards into the trunk modules. Recognizing the reverence and long-held cultural significance snow leopards hold in so many Central Asian countries, the Elders and ICPs are working to develop lesson plans that reflect the historical role snow leopards have held within their own regional cultures.

The Elders, ICPs, and Network members are adapting existing lessons, adopting new concepts, and identifying themes for up to three new modules. Along with this, they are acquiring new materials and supplies and updating the Teachers’ Manual, translating it into the languages of the participating countries. Now that the majority of the planning is completed and schools are back in session, the new lessons will be “field tested” with the participation of Elders and ICPs in at least one school in each region. They’ll review the pilot lessons and revise them, if necessary, then proceed to complete the full curriculum set and begin introducing this new Trunk program to schools.

Nature Trunk Training – Kyrgyzstan

The new modules will revitalize awareness of the spiritual, cultural, and environmental significance of snow leopards and the importance of other species, ecosystems, and spiritual landscapes. They will strengthen the relationship between Indigenous Cultural Practitioners, teachers, and school children through TEK and Indigenous spirituality. The goal of this work is to encourage children to become stewards of Nature, confident in their support for Indigenous conservation practices and willing and able to stand at the forefront of conservation.