Forest education as a way to Eco-School
Forests are one of the largest organisms known to us. They are not just a bunch of trees. But a great living, breathing creature inter connected in all of its parts. From the tiniest plant, to the century old tree, a large system of roots, thickly intertwined, keeps most of the green forest life connected. Such connections help share food and water among different species of plants. Information about threats like herbivores approaching or fire can also be transmitted through this widespread network.
Studies have demonstrated the existence of rudimentary eyes in plants, called Ocelli, that actually let them see! Scientists have been shocked by the discovery that most green life may even have a concept of numeracy and count…
Indeed we are dealing with creatures’ way more intelligent, alive and wise than we could have ever imagined. Or at least we moderners could have imagined… For in more remote times, trees were sacred and held in the highest of regards. They were treated just like you would a person of high status and even considered mentors.
Maybe it is time to recall such understanding of forests and forest life, understanding the great opportunities such places may give us education wise.
Taking your students in the forest is a great way to keep them moving, helping them live a more dynamic and healthy lifestyle. Walking in the woods grants the benefits of better oxygenation and mood stabilizing.
Exploring green spaces is ultimately recommended as proofed prevention and therapy for anxiety and depression.
Yes, there are a lot of physical and mental benefits… But what about education? The whole forest is a great support for activities. Getting to know animals, recognizing pharmaceutical plants, acknowledging the type of trees in your region, the green and blue cycles of water and much more… Will have your students thinking, reflecting and relating with something so different from themselves. Such processes encourage critical thinking, emotions, understanding and management.
A strong relation with forests develops more environmental awareness, attention to ecology and ultimately an attitude to preserve and value nature. It will be easier to show the importance of recycling, flood prevention, fire prevention, development of sustainable energy… and every other topic related to green, if your students develop a feeling for the environment they live in or close to!
So, if you want to include Eco-Schooling as part of your program and encourage your students to become the better citizens and problem solvers of tomorrow, don’t miss the chance to include forest education in your programs and activities.
Giuseppe Perrotti - JUMP Trainer