School children will be involved in school forestry activities during 2015 to become better aware about forests and environment.
On May 8, 2015 the first training in the frames of school forestry was delivered including in-door educational seminar and field forest activity in Southern Armenia. “Forest is a value, which should be enhanced and protected especially in Armenia, where the forest cover is limited and there are various pressures on forests. FLEG II has developed this school forestry program to be implemented in Southern Armenia and serve as a pilot for further implementation in other regions of Armenia” Ms. Siranush Galstyan FLEG II National Coordinator from WWF-Armenia welcomed young foresters at the program.
FLEG II initiated school forestry education program in the southern Syunik Region of Armenia for the pupils of Tatev, Svarants and Tandatap communities. “Armenian Woman for Health and Healthy Environment” NGO was hired by WWF-Armenia to implement the education program in close collaboration with the state forest manager “Hayantar” State Non-Commercial Organization (SNCO) under the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia as well as administration of Tatev community.
The school forestry includes in-door educational seminars and field forest activities on a selected forest area, a forest cleaning event and a school contest on the topic of forests. Theoretical part of the training covers the following topics: forests as value; forest rehabilitation and re/afforestation; forest protection including anti-fire activities, forest biodiversity and forest protected areas; how to behave in forest; and non-timber forest products as an alternative source of income for communities including forest related ecotourism opportunities.
27 school pupils 2 teachers and 2 school directors from three communities participated in the first training. Learning has never been such fun, informal learning methods were used including games, quizzes and role plays. School children learned about forests, techniques of tree planting and practiced them during the field exercise. Foresters from “Hayantar” SNCO were guiding the field activity. Field tools were donated by FLEG II to Tatev School to be used during the school forestry field activities. The tools were used by the school forestry participants during the first field activity. The participants received also packages with respective education materials.
School forestry initiative was appreciated by the administrations of the engaged schools and community leaders as an important tool for awareness raising on environmental protection in the region “School forestry initiated by WWF-Armenia for the schools of Tatev, Svarants and Tandzatap communities is a very important contribution to provision of forestry and environmental knowledge to school children and making them more motivated for nature protection. It is crucial that such communities located so far from the capital are widely engaged in similar activities.” – said Norvard Movsisyan, Director of Tatev School.
“We should save forests for future generations. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. The school forestry target communities are surrounded by nice forests and children should know about forests and their importance.” – said Murad Simonyan, Head of Tatev Community.
The participants of the school forestry were very enthusiastic and expressed their willingness to participate in further sessions and out-door activities planned in the frames of the FLEG II school forestry education program.