The participants adopted a resolution on further development of the young forester movement
The young foresters from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine came together at FLEG II first regional youth camp in Gakh, Azerbaijan on August 2-6, 2015. They discussed ways of improving and increasing the young forester movement across the region, as well as the international experience in the protection and sustainable management of the forest resources.
Experts from NGOs and scientists gave lectures to the children about forest biodiversity, impact of pollutants on forests, sustainable use of forest resources in nutrition, and value of ecosystem services.
The children went on excursions to a forest rehabilitation and guarding enterprise in Zakatala district and to Ilisu State Natural Reserve. They visited ancient cultural-historical places in the Gakh district and saw how seedlings of various tree species grow in a nursery. Already savvy in forest biodiversity and management, the young foresters evaluated the status of forest ecosystems around Gum and Ilisu districts using ecological and geobotanical research methods.
On one of the days, the participants of the camp showed their traditional local forest food products. The schoolchildren dressed up in national costumes and shared their traditional songs with the peers, while discussing the role of forest resources in the life of their people. Interesting meetings with the scholars and experts, funny contests and ecological games positively added to the spirit of the meeting.
At the final stages of the camp, the participants signed a resolution. They agreed that it is necessary to further exchange the experience and develop the cooperation between school-based young forester unions of FLEG II participating countries, including via a stronger network in the social media. They also called on their governments and FLEG II to further support the regional summer camps and the young forester movement in general.
During the closing ceremony carried out in the Center after Haydar Aliyev all participants were awarded with diplomas and memorable gifts.
The first international young foresters' summer camp "Let's protect the forests!" was Initiated and supported by FLEG II and the Republican Center on Ecological Education and Practice of the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan.
Musa Shakiliev, head of the executive authorities of Gakh district (Azerbaijan), addressing the young participants of the camp:
"I hope that some of you will become real foresters in the future. Our countries need young forestry professionals. We wish that the activities at the young foresters' Summer camps will become a good practice for you".
Alexander Pashkevich from Belarus, 8th grade, participant of FLEG II first regional youth camp:
“During the camp, I was thinking about how different and how similar we are - children from the young forester movement from 6 different countries. I was thinking about how much we can learn about our forest and ways to embrace the challenges and fix the problems".
Initiated and promoted by FLEG, the young foresters' movement has been successfully restored in Azerbaijan during the first phase of the Program. The movement is gaining more popularity among the schoolchildren and is widely supported by the state forestry and education agencies. In a short period, the movement has considerably expanded at the country level and actively collaborates with the forest sector and local communities. The young foresters of Azerbaijan are frequent participants of international junior forestry contests. In 2014, the team from Azerbaijan was awarded third place during the annual International Junior Forest Contest held in Russia.