R egarding many restrictions forest pedagogy face because of pandemic corona virus, there has been a significant shift towards digital forest education. With the aim to open new possibilities for meaningful interaction between forests and humans, “Latvia’s State forests” are investing extra effort to develop initiatives that provide forest pedagogy online and can be helpful to other forest pedagogues in the world.
As in many countries, Latvia’s schools are closed and public events cancelled, but people are much more eager to use virtual services from their homes. Supporting the #stayathome initiative JSC “Latvia's State Forests” (LVM) environmental experts offer an opportunity to go to nature virtually with the help of four on-line cameras. Anyone interested, without leaving their home, can now follow the nesting success of the golden eagles, watch the events taking place in two nests of lesser spotted eagles in Betiņsala and Aizkuja, as well as enjoy unique moments and sounds that can only be heard in a swamp. LVM Senior Environmental expert also provides chat opportunities for most active spectators online.
Last weekend’s sunny day has turned out to be a special day in the family of golden eagles – Virsis and Spilve had their first egg. This is a great chance for home-stayers to observe how solitary golden eagles are successfully nesting in Latvia. Enjoy live streaming here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW5quD6bB2c&feature=youtu.be
Another sort of digital forest education are 1 min video messages just created by Latvian Secondary school students - participants of the LVM Bio-economy School in honor of the UN International Day of Forests - 21th of March. Although the vision and means of expression of each author differ in how to talk to the public about the forest and its management, all members of the LVM Bio-economy School share the desire to make this world a better place by raising public awareness of wood as an environmentally friendly and renewable resource.
In March all video messages of LVM Bio-economy School 2020 were published on the Facebook page "Explore the Forest, Latvia" (Izzini mežu, Latvija), where everyone could vote for their favourite work by clicking on Like below the relevant video. Most of videos are in Latvian, but these two, that also received sholarships, are in English for your to share: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TYBoR7CiMw&list=PLK0HeKVn1Q4_q5gAQB5tG_nM3JYvPA7W9&index=5&t=0s ;
Facebook and Youtube are very important communication platforms regarding digital forest education. “Latvia’s State Forests” ensure that its Facebook page is full of useful tips how to spend good time outdoors and behave properly regarding the virus. Cooperation with popular youtubers in Latvia is being developed to shoot videos about their travels to forests discussing forest management online with their peers – for example, robotized planting of forest. Television is also used to provide educational broadcasts and forest related quizzes.
Plus – “Latvia’s State forests” have just started to design a new online game for schools that will simulate forest research 3D including different tasks concerning SDGs - ecological, economical, social and cultural aspects of forests. The project is financially supported by European Union and will involve all Latvian schools during next two years.
To avoid a large number of people attending the most popular places of recreation, “Latvia’s State forest” encourage people to discover trails yet unknown and visit more remote tourism objects in areas managed by LVM. More than 350 well-equipped recreation areas can be found in the LVM GEO app, which will make sure that nobody get lost. Moreover, visiting and exploring these more remote routes can become a new family tradition for holidays, looking for spring messengers and enjoying the picturesque forest landscapes
Also You can share any rarities found in nature in your social networks using the hashtag #stayathome.