8th European Forest Pedagogics Congress 2013

Bilbao/Spain, 23rd to 25th October 2013.
„Forestpedagogy: For Whom? What methods? How to approach?“

Short report and conclusions

Under the patronage of Bittor Oroz, Vice Consejero for agriculture and forestry in the Basque County, 105 delegates from 20 states took part at the 8th European Forestpedagogy Congress in Bilbao. As hosting partners the Union de Silvicultura del Sur de Europa (USSE), the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Associacion de Forestales de Espana (PROFOR) had prepared the 8th European Congress of Forestpedagogy under the steering of the Subgroup Forestpedagogy (Forest-Communicators-Network, FCN).

Forestpedagogs in Europe – so the participants agreed - must continue to get especially children reconnected with nature. “Because a lot of children are having 100 friends on facebook but only one single friend on the street and because children are the mirror of the adults, and even of our whole earth.” On the other hand – the congress resumed - children should be picked up, where they are, living more and more in urban surroundings and in a technical, world-wide-internet-connected world. „We have to link and mingle urban and rural realities together as well as we must link technological realities with the necessity of environmental education.“

The congress concluded that Forestpedagogy in Europe has already achieved important milestones in the last years, like the development of an annual conference since 2006, the increase of experience-exchange, the raise of awareness in forestry, society and policy or the expansion in forestpedagogy - research and – science. But there are still big challenges to be tackled. The social and political awareness of Forestpedagogy particularly among the national and European Forestry policy and forest departments must develop further. The internal and external Communication on and about Forestpedagogy must increase and Networking and Cooperation between the different stakeholders should expand. Furthermore Forestpedagogy must be established as a recognised part of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the quality of all aspects of Forestpedagogy must be improved continuously. Therefore the FCN-Subgroup actually is developing an Action Plan.

To reach their target-groups, the participants agreed upon, Forestpedagogy is challenged  to focus more on the conflict-topics forests and forestry is faced with. But also new emerging topics, like "Forests, forestry  and Health" should become a  task for Forestpedagogs, who can "communicate forests as pathways to health".

Opening speech

Keynote lectures

Photo gallery