Forest pedagogy in challenging times #5
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Forest pedagogy in challenging times #5

Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

Author: Berthold Reichle, Haus des Waldes, Stuttgart

U ntil the end of the school year all extra-curricular events and projects for the schools in Baden-Württemberg are prohibited. It is not yet clear what the situation will be like after the summer holidays. However, we expect a significant decline in forest-pedagogical events, with all the well-known negative consequences for environmental education institutions, freelance workers, associations, but also for the schools and their students.

Because they will not benefit from outdoor learning in a real-life environment. Digital offers can hardly or not at all compensate for this negative effect, because the heart of our work is to be and learn outside.

In my view, there is already a wide range of digital offers regarding forests, forestry and sustainability for schools and the public - from learning materials and films to animations and games. In addition, immediately after the end of school closure, schools will concentrate on the classic teaching methods and formats and therefore will not go outside with us foresters or without us.

Therefore, we want to use the time and strengthen the following measures:

  • Development of new formats and offers
  • Intensification of the qualification of our FP staff
  • Increased communication of our offers in schools and the education administration

As we observe, there are an incredible number of people and families in the forests, especially in the urban areas. Now many people and especially families are becoming aware of the value of the forest for the soul, well-being and healthy activity.

We would like to support and enrich this through the following measures (via website, Facebook and Instagram):

  • Tips for (forest-pedagogical) activities in the forest especially for families
  • Information on what is currently happening in the forest (and forestry), what can be discovered and experienced outside
  • Supplements by interesting information

Additional we conduct a photo contest:

To make the walk in the forest even more fun, the Haus des Waldes Stuttgart and ForstBW are launching the campaign "A smile in the forest". All young and old visitors to the forest can use natural materials found in the forest to create a smiling face, a smiling figure or a message that brings a smile to your face. The photos will be published by the Haus des Waldes und ForstBW on their websites, Facebook and Instagram, and thus carry the (forest) smile around the world. The most enchanting smiles will be awarded and receive a prize.

However, it is especially important now that we, together with other environmental associations, make clear to the Ministry of Education the importance of extracurricular education for school education. Otherwise there is a danger that, even if schools are open, school classes will no longer make use of the forest-related educational opportunities for many months.

So, it is important to continue networking and to keep at it together.

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