Forestry Arboretum Kysihýbel as a unique object of innovative methods in didactics of geography
FOREST EUROPE publication: “Doctor Forest”
28. August 2019
Scientific review: Human health and Sustainable Forest Management
18. September 2019

Forestry Arboretum Kysihýbel as a unique object of innovative methods in didactics of geography

Author: Dana Chlpošová, Veronika Jaloviarová, National Forest Centre, Slovakia


F orestry Arboretum Kysihýbel is a special place that combines history, forestry research and education for the wide public. It has the potential to expand the attractions of Banská Štiavnica region. Currently The National Forestry Centre, as a Forestpedagogy coordinator, in cooperation with other partners, it is involved to the international project called Common Heritage, Joint Future - Trees without borders.

The importance of knowing the region that forms the immediate environment is important for each of us, young people without exception. It leads them to know their own past and the heritage of ancestors, materialized in cultural, historical and natural heritage. At first glance, less distinctive and inconspicuous objects like Kysihýbel Forest Arboretum is, have something to offer to their visitors. The implemented TreeJoy project activities that have been cited as examples of this contribution show that linking school knowledge with practical demonstrations in real terrain is a good tool for educating young people. Specific experiential activities of forest pedagogy focused on head, hand and heart in the context of the main objective: To know the forestry arboretum as a unique object of the Banská Štiavnica region, were appropriately chosen. In terms of content, it is necessary to highlight the link between the history and geography of the region as well as forestry as a discipline. Subject bonds and learning in context have a clear contribution to better understanding and memorization. Forests in the role of forest pedagogues were at the same time guides to the program. From personal interviews with pupils immediately after the end of the program, it turned out that the program was good prepared and not boring. Feedback from both pupils and pedagogues was very positive. They felt very good during the programme.

In general, pupils appreciate extra-curricular lessons. It was also confirmed by a questionnaire focusing on the knowledge of the Banská Štiavnica region, where up to 62% of respondents identified the most interesting form of teaching geography - excursion. The second place was a forest walk. The questionnaire also shows the relatively good knowledge of Banská Štiavnica itself. Further answers indicate, that respondents know well-known monuments and objects in Slovakia.

Forest walks as basic organizational forms of forest pedagogy accompanied by forest pedagogues are a suitable alternative to deepen the knowledge of regional education and geography with an emphasis on the forest environment of the region. Direct stay outdoors and contact with a living environment accompanied by an expert creates a sense of authenticity, which enhances experience. Other benefits are building positive relationships to a healthy lifestyle and perceptions of aesthetic environmental values. Last but not least, living in the outdoor environment has a beneficial effect on the physical and mental health of a person. The way how the information is interpreted to individual target groups has an important role in education. It is necessary to look for interesting forms that make content more attractive to pupils. Outdoor education offers the opportunity to attract attention, engage and enrich formal education in schools to an appropriate extent. The results of the above questionnaire indicate that pupils are interested in different teaching - non-classroom lessons. The activities of forest pedagogy are a suitable innovative method for discovering the nature of the region and the forest landscape. It has the ability to encourage participants to recognize the landscape, especially with an emphasis on the forest character of the environment.

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