Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions-Silva Mediterranea
Over 90 years of Mediterranean forest management
Education for Sustainable Development
based on Forest Pedagogy
Why Subgroup – Forestpedagogy? Because it’s a part of the Forest Communicators Network (FCN) –a worldwide group of communication experts, located and mandated by the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC). Their overall objective is of improving the efficiency of the forest sector’s communication both within and outside the sector concerning the role of forests in sustainable development. UNECE/FAO has launched Forest Communicators' Network (FCN) and its’ Sub-group on Forestpedagogy in 2008 as an European-wide forum that has joined the Austrian - German Forestpedagogy group, active since 2005.
The mission of the Forestpedagogy Subgroup is the constant evaluation and improvement of the “Common European Strategy on Forestpedagogy” that should be implemented in practice by target groups; forest pedagogues, foresters and forestowners, teachers and pedagogues, decision makers of the national forestry departments and national and international political decision makers.
The first version of the “Common Strategy on Forestpedagogy in Europe” was established in 2017 including an “action plan” with priority measures that should be taken to develop the forest pedagogy further.
To implement and improve the quality and standards of all aspects of forest pedagogy and to increase communication and strengthen its networking are all founding principles of said strategy. Forest pedagogy communicates values like respect for nature, responsibility, tolerance, global and long-term thinking and acting.
It is already proved that forest pedagogy activities have numerous emotional, cognitive and behavioral benefits for children and the group wants to promote it further. Structured activities in the forests based on the principles of the forest pedagogy improve creativity and imagination, cooperation and action, curiosity and concentration. By participating in forest pedagogy activities children can gain physical competences as orientation in nature, coordination and balance.
Forest pedagogy is different from the traditional environmental education in that:
Above all, forest pedagogy raises awareness of the forests' multifunctional benefits and the values of forest products and services as well as an understanding of forest management and forest-based industry.
In 2018, the Forestpedagogy network celebrated its’ ten years anniversary with a total of 14 active members: Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Norway , Poland , Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland…all others welcome!
It is obvious that the network is missing members from the Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Greece, etc. that could become an important part of the EU network since forests’ social services represent a major value and make a huge ecological and sociological impact.
To reach sustainable development objectives is of vital significance in Med countries and the best way to reach said objectives and achieve their successful implementation is through an education revolving around sustainable development.
With forest pedagogy activities, holistic and multidisciplinary, individuals are now more familiar with forest ecosystems and acquire a consciousness and an awareness with regards to their connectedness to all the living beings and the forest itself - source of life on our planet.
Although many of the aforementioned practices do take place within the Mediterranean, there is still a lack of recognizable networks that embraces them and therefore, a common quality evaluation frame is yet to be implemented.
EU Forestpedagogy network has developed its own platform - a forum where activities, materials for networking of forest pedagogues and other actors of education for sustainable development are shared. The main task of our FCN-Subgroup is to establish forest pedagogy as a recognized part of Education for Sustainable Development. Therefore we try to get more and more states in Europe to adhere and implement sustainable development within their countries and particularly aim their forest administrations, their state forest enterprises and their forest owners associations. Being the latter ultimately inspired and fascinated with forest environmental education. It is highly necessary to acknowledge the relevance of forest pedagogy – and the annual congress contributes to this goal.
The latter provides a platform where an exchange of experiences and a discussion on currently relevant topics or challenges for forest pedagogy in Europe are welcome. Through active learning in numerous outdoor workshops and activities participants can experience todays’ best practices in European forest pedagogy.
Our next Congress, 14th European Forest Pedagogics Congress, will take place in Riga Latvia, 1 – 4 July 2019 and is named “Designing bridges between forest and schools” hosted by Latvia’s State Forests. The purpose is to discuss how to link forest pedagogy programs and regular school programs and how forest educators and teachers can cooperate effectively on student learning.
You can apply at www.forestpedagogics.eu
Ana Fornazar - Model Forest Association Croatia, Member of the EU Forestpedagogy Subgroup