Highlight of the 20th anniversary of the forestry pedagogy celebrations was the international conference
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Highlight of the 20th anniversary of the forestry pedagogy celebrations was the international conference


Author: Veronika Jaloviarová, National Forest Centre - Institute for Forest Consulting and Education Zvolen, Slovakia


F orest is a unique place for education and training, where foresters realize the forest pedagogy activities and projects for various target groups for 20 years. Forest pedagogy as a part of environmental education is learning about the forest ecosystem and human education to sustainable way of life on the example of the forest. The highlight of the round jubilee celebrations was an international conference entitled 20 YEARS OF FOREST PEDAGOGY IN SLOVAKIA. The conference, under the auspices of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic, took place on 23-24 September 2021 at the Technical University in Zvolen and in the Kysihýbel Forest Arboretum near Banská Štiavnica.

The International conference reflected important milestones of forest pedagogy as well as 20 years of experience of foresters in environmental education and presented the topics of forest pedagogy, environmental literacy and education for sustainable development. The invitation to the conference was accepted by Mr. Dirk Schmechel, Chairman of the Forest Communicator's Network - Forest Pedagogics Subgroup, part of the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations. Other guests have participated at the Conference – forest pedagogues from Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, as well as teachers from kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. There were 14 presentations of 20 papers during the Conference, which were processed in the proceedings of the international conference.

The second day of the conference was focused on an excursion and experiential accompaniment based on forest pedagogy activities in the Kysihýbel Forest Arboretum near Banská Štiavnica. It is a natural object managed by the National Forest Centre, which combines forestry with science and culture. The building is also used for educational purposes and educational activities. One of the most important conclusions of the conference is knowledge about the necessity to develop a new concept of forest pedagogy development for the period 2022 - 2030 and the necessity of mutual cooperation of forestry institutions, as well as teachers and other stakeholders in the field of environment and education in Slovakia.

THE BEST WERE AWARDED

The most important part of forest pedagogy are forest pedagogues, their personal enthusiasm for this work, as well as individual forestry institutions, whose activities contribute to raising awareness of the importance of forests for the public. Therefore, the National Forest Centre, as the coordinator of forest pedagogy in Slovakia, decided to award 20 awards to individuals and institutions in total, during the conference. They all contributed to the development of forest pedagogy in Slovakia. The award was given to forest pedagogues:

Eva Trnovská and Zdena Hudecová, Ľudmila Marušáková, Dana Chlpošová, Igor Viszlai senior, Peter Gróf, Igor Stavný, Milan Chudý, Jaroslava Vanyová, František Pisarčík (forest guide), lecturers at the „Forest pedagogy“ and „Learning about forest“ educational courses - Dana Kollárová and Darina Výbohová.

Awarded institutions: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic, Forests of the Slovak Republic, State Forests of the Tatra National Park, Municipal Forests in Bratislava, Municipal Forests of Košice, Municipal Forests of Kremnica, Slovak Forestry Chamber, Military Forests and Property of the Slovak Republic, Secondary Vocational School of Forestry in Banská Štiavnica.

Words of appreciation and thanks also belong to other colleagues, the forest pedagogues, each of them carries out the mission of a forest pedagogue with love and personal commitment!

GIFT FOR EVERYONE

The celebrations of the 20th anniversary of forest pedagogy were enriched by the publication of a professional book, which was created by author's team of certified forest pedagogues from all over Slovakia entitled The Encyclopedia of Forest Pedagogy Games. The book describes (as the name seuggests) experiential games of forest pedagogy from A to Z. The idea of such a book was created gradually at National Forest Centre - the Institute of Forestry Consulting and Education in Zvolen for several years. During the conference, the Encyclopedia came into existence by reading an excerpt from the book and by sprinkling the book with forest tree seeds. Let´s hope that the seed of forest pedagogy knowledge will be spread further.

Forest pedagogy has been implemented in Slovakia since 2001 as a part of environmental education. Foresters communicate with public through forest pedagogy activities, they positively present forestry and the work of a forester. National Forest Centre, as a coordinator of forest pedagogy in Slovakia, realizes The Forest Pedagogy Educational Program for foresters and during the 20 years there were trained 385 certified forest pedagogues in Slovakia. The concept of forest pedagogy was developed, as well as a trademark and the web portal www.lesnapedagogika.sk. In 2007 Slovakia became an active member of the European Network of forest pedagogues and a member of Forest Communicator's Network - Forest Pedagogics Subgroup.

The International conference 20 years of Forest Pedagogy in Slovakia was prepared by the National Forest Centre - Institute for Forest Consulting and Education in Zvolen