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Forest education in Finland - current state and prospects for the future Conference of the Friends of Forests in Poland Jedlnia, April 20 th 2007 Juhani.

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Presentation on theme: "Forest education in Finland - current state and prospects for the future Conference of the Friends of Forests in Poland Jedlnia, April 20 th 2007 Juhani."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forest education in Finland - current state and prospects for the future Conference of the Friends of Forests in Poland Jedlnia, April 20 th 2007 Juhani Karvonen Executive Director The Finnish Forest Association

2 ”Finland is a forest super-power. Because of this, a good basic knowledge in regard to forest ecology, protection, use and forest-based livelihoods continue to be fundamental skills for every Finn." Jukka Sarjala Director General National Board of Education

3 Content Finnish Forest Association Prerequisite for forest education in schools Targets Cooperation and coordination Current state  Tools and actions Future challenges Cooperation in Europe Our message

4 Finnish Forest Association (FFA)... Established 1887 Co-operative body for organisations in the forestry sector and closely related fields Promotes the sustainable and multiple-valued tending and use of forests Acts between the forest sector and the rest of society

5 ... FFA continues Member organisations (60)  Representing private forest owners organizations, forest industries, state forest enterprise, forestry workers´ unions, administration, research and education, forest related trade unions, non-governmental organizations (i.e. hunters, 4H, scouts, central outdoor association, teachers unions) Major teams and activities  International communication and media contacts  Forest at schools  Forest Forum for Decision-Makers (Forest Academy)  Annual Forest Days for professionals Resources  ca. 12 employees

6 We are good but… A good educational system is an excellent foundation for cooperation between the forest sector and schools  Finland has been ranked number one in several international evaluations. One of the most significant is the so-called PISA-study, which measures the advancement of the school system. Finland has the highest level of literacy. Another foundation is, that forests and forestry continue to be of vital importance for Finland

7 Prerequisite for productive forest education in schools Activities must be target oriented = forest issues must have a clear position in the national curriculum Good cooperation between forest sector and education authorities on national and local level. All you do, do it with education specialists (authorities, researchers, teachers) One organization must have responsibility of coordination and development on forest education system in schools (in Finland the Finnish Forest Association) Clear division of responsibilities between forest organizations Actions should cover the whole country and all age classes Good tools for teachers and forest professionals plus an efficient delivery system for the forest education tools Regular follow-up and feedback system

8 Targets In the document called “Expedition in the Finnish forest” FFA and the National Board of Education have defined the goals of forest and wood education Basic goals in the basic curriculum are:  pupils must learn to understand sustainable use of natural recourses and  get familiar with different elements of forests: ecosystem, protection, silviculture and use of forests, forest industry, recreation and culture

9 The idea of the forest curriculum (Expedition in the Finnish forest)

10 Forest curriculum - examples of the goals 1.What should a pupil from 7 to 12 year UNDERSTAND about forest nature? be interested in what happens in forest nature and be able to observe and explore get acquainted with forests and tell a spruce, pine and birch forest from one another learn to know marshlands and describe their essential features can explain generally from where animals get water, nutrient, energy for growth 2.What should a pupil from 13 to 16 year UNDERSTAND about forestry? know the meaning of forests in the regional economies know, that over half of the Finnish forests are owned by private individuals and families and understand, that forests have multiple meanings for the owners know, that wood is the most important renewable resource in Finland and the forests produce wood for economic utilization know, that the forest sector is a considerable employer outside urban areas

11 Coordination Finnish Forest Association is in charge of coordination of all school activities and cooperation in Finland  in the forest sector (e.g. private forest owners organization, big companies, state forest organizations) and  with school authorities, teachers’ organization and other stakeholders

12 Tools All materials for teaching in schools (books, CD´s, games, videos, best practices…) are collected on the website: WWW is the main delivery system of new materials

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14 Actions for schools… Forest days for individual school classes and schools Forest weeks for schools in towns or municipalities Excursions to the forests and factories

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19 … actions for schools Metsävisa – the National Forest Quiz  organized annually since 1981  participation about 70 % of age class in the whole country  since 1981 one million Finns have participated in the Quiz (20 % of population)

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23 Actions for teachers Forest courses for teachers e.g.  Forestry and environment  Nature management in the managed forests  Nature circle in the managed forests  Applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in forestry Courses in forestry for students (faculty of education/teachers training in the university)

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26 Follow-up / feed-back 1.The Forest Quiz (Metsävisa) gives feed-back every year how many teachers have taught forest issues enough to be confident to register the school in the quiz how much pupils know about forest biology, protection, forestry and forest-based livelihoods 2.Independent market research company Taloustutkimus ltd. carries out a study every two years about common attitudes and knowledge of school teachers and pupils in regard to forests and forestry helps to focus our activities so far attitudes are predominantly in favor of sustainable use of forest

27 Attitudes and knowledge of pupils Findings from the Taloustutkimus study: about a half has visited a forest harvesting area during the last year, mainly with their parents, only 10 % with school 60 % have visited a forest conservation area, 50 % with parents and 30 % with school very aware about everyman's right do not know who owns forest in Finland very well 93 % consider forest management good 75 % want more forest protection areas young people are not very interested in traditional forest professions

28 Attitudes and knowledge of teachers Findings from the Taloustutkimus study: 90 % knows that well-being in Finland is based on forests 75 % consider forest management good 70 % want more forest protection do not know who owns forests in Finland very well, but better than pupils forest teaching is concentrated on issues like nature, conservation and recreation, not very much on forestry and livelihoods teaching takes place mainly in classrooms. Teaching in forests is slowly increasing! added to school books the best source of forest information is Finnish Forest Association, then ENGO´s and Forest Resource Institute

29 Future challenges How to get young people to understand the idea of sustainable use of natural resources 1.The role of school education time frame for forest education in schools is limited. Pupils can learn about forest ecosystem, not very much about the use of forest more cooperation with schools is needed 2.Urbanization people’s knowledge and understanding about nature is more and more depending on school education, not on their own natural experiences 3.Information society almost all information we get comes from the media and the content is mainly images, which can be true or untrue, right or wrong if you do not communicate, you give others the possibility to create images about forestry 4.Naturalism because of many (good) reasons people are more interested to protect nature than utilize forests or replace non-renewable materials by renewable ones  co-operation and share of experiences must strengthen in Europe

30 European cooperation 1.EU Forest Action Plan Key Action 10: ”Encourage environmental education and information” 2.PAWS - Pedagogic Works in Forests ( ) project of the EU program LEONARDO develops a training concept for forest and nature related pedagogic work, complete results available in May 3.Forest pedagogic towards a sustainable development the aim is to raise the interest among pupils, teachers and foresters for learning and teaching about forest ecology, sustainable forestry and social values of forests participants: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden 4.Learning about Forests project of Foundation of Environmental Education in Europe creates projects for schools (e.g. Blue flag)

31 Our message The use of forest is often considered a problem. It isn't a problem, rather a solution; for a multiple of challenges:  for the global environmental challenges  for the local biodiversity problems  for the living conditions and livelihoods of rural people  for the infrastructure of rural areas  for the demand of attractive and state-of-the- art products


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