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FAO launches Forest Kids online forest game for children
18 November 2022, Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment today launched an online forest game for young children to mark World Children's Day.
The game, called Forest Kids, guides children on an expedition around the world and invites the virtual travellers to explore four types of forest – boreal, tropical, temperate and arid – while spotting flora and fauna, matching pairs of animals within their biomes and sorting non-wood forest products as they go.
The game features Paxi, an earth-loving alien who is the official education mascot of the European Space Agency (ESA). Paxi likes to visit Earth and help children understand more about space and our own planet.
“Children are naturally passionate about nature, yet most of the wealth of information online about forests is aimed at adults,” said FAO Senior Forestry Officer Anssi Pekkarinen. “As the world’s leading source of forest information, we wanted to find a fun and meaningful way to reach children and inform them about the importance of forests and forestry. In this version of the game our focus is on biodiversity.”
Created with the support of ESA and other collaborators, and funded by the European Union, the game is suitable for use in education settings and at home and available free of charge, in six official UN languages at https://www.fao.org/forest-resources-assessment/ForestKids. The game will be soon accessible via an app (Forest Kids) on both Android and iOS platforms. It is currently a beta version, which FAO and partners will continue improving with new features in coming weeks.
Tool for schools and families
Forest Kids is designed to immerse the player virtually in the powerful sounds and vivid colours of the world’s forests. It is packed with information about the different types of forested landscapes, different forest functions, and the similarities and differences between animal inhabitants of forests in each ecoregion.
Through a mixture of interactive games, pop-up messages and voiceover feedback, children find out about the importance of trees and forests to life on Earth, how humans impact forests and how we monitor them.
“This game doesn’t just cover the basics,” said Pekkarinen. “Children will learn about various aspects of forestry, including remote sensing and gathering forest information from space. We hope it will be a great tool for schools and families who want inspire their children to develop a life-long interest in forests and forestry.”
Monica Talevi, Head of the ESA STEM Education and Outreach Unit, said: “At ESA, we are very happy to support FAO’s Forest Kids game. We share FAO’s objective to inspire and enthuse children from a very young age about the importance of protecting our own planet. Paxi, our mascot, brings the complementary message that monitoring Earth from space is extremely important, as well as studying it from the ground. Paxi has had amazing success with children, and we hope will once again stimulate children’s interest in these important themes.”