IT MEANS MOTHER NATURE.

AND IT’S TRUE.

If you’re talking forest, then get to a forest!

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“Thanks to the newly-acquired knowledge, I will be more capable of telling my students about forestry. I understood that forestry is not simple. Forests are being taken care of and planted, not just chopped down,” – these are just some of the things learned by teachers after completing adult education courses. Teachers use the autumn holidays to gather new knowledge to be shared in a classroom.

Over three days in three locations, 150 teachers had an opportunity to hear the latest information from forestry experts – LVMI “Silava” Director Jurģis Jansons, Latvian Forest Industry Federation Executive Director Kristaps Klauss, Research and Development Institute of Forest and Wood Processing (MeKA) Director Andrejs Domkins and Deputy Director Uldis Spulle, as well as experts from JSC “Latvian State Forests” (LVM).

 

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“The courses were organized at a high level, using various methods. We had an opportunity to both listen and work in a practical way,” - this according to one of the participants.

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The course program included not only lectures, but also trips to various locations – LVM tree nursery “Mazsili”, the exhibition titled “I Would Like to Introduce You to the Tree!”, MeKA laboratories and workshops, Jelgava vicinity's forest, observing logging techniques in action, as well as a visit at an LVM forest. Activities in the forest urged teachers to share their experience, as well as to acquire new ideas and knowledge for outdoor classes.

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“Lesson in the forest, under the guidance of forest staff, was very valuable, for example, the story about resin works, as well as the practical lesson, which was priceless. And the delicious meal in the forest,” says a teacher. During the practical forest lesson, teachers measured tree heights and volumes, solved exercises to find out whether a young forest plantation complies with all restoration requirements, and they also got involved in a creative task – to see nature through animal stencils. Teachers admitted they had not experienced such excitement in a long time.

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After an active and educational day, and listening to expert accounts and carrying out practical chores in the forest, teachers reflected on themselves and sought ideas for further instruction processes in their own schools:

  • “I completely changed my opinion about tree felling in forests! After the presentation, everything became clear, and my concerns that Latvia may be left without forests were dashed.”
  • “Now I can convincingly explain to everyone why trees should be cut down. This is a very popular topic right now, as forests are being cut down large-scale everywhere.”
  • “I conclude that a teacher, when sitting in a classroom for years, often has narrow understanding and keeps “grinding out” his or her subject without modern vision in certain areas that are unrelated to school. This is why such courses are very useful. Latvia's territory is covered with huge forest masses, but we use so little of them. We teach students in a uniform and boring manner things that could be taught in a much more interesting and exciting way outdoors. The problem is in the number of lessons and the system itself. And, of course, also in the enthusiasm of teachers. It is simply easier filling out a task sheet in a classroom rather than going outside.”

 

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Every year, teachers who are interested in environmental education and the forest are invited to apply for further education courses as offered by JSC “Latvian State Forests”, in collaboration with the Further Education Course Center of the Research and Development Institute of Forest and Wood Processing, and LVMI “Silava”. The course programs are coordinated with the Education and Science Ministry of the Republic of Latvia. One day – 12-hour (A) further education courses titled “Teachers' professional competence improvement in environmental education on sustainable forest management (A)” take place during the school holidays. In the 2015/2016 academic year, autumn courses took place in collaboration with Mammadaba Embassies that organize the application process.

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