Pro Silva is an European organisation which promotes close to nature forestry and continuous cover forest systems. It was established in 1989 in Slovenia. This year we celebrate the 30th years of operation. Therefore, more than 70 participants from 25 European countries and one guest from the US, held their 30th anniversary meeting in Radlje ob Dravi in the North of Slovenia near the Austrian border. Radlje is a cradle of close‐to‐nature forest management and it lays close to Pahernik forest, which is one of the best examples of this approach.
At the welcome reception at Manor House Castle in Radlje on September 11, 2019 also a topic of forest pedagogy was discussed. The member of our group “Forest of experiments”, Kristina Sever, presented forest pedagogy at European and Slovenian level.
Slovenia has a long tradition of close-to-nature forest management, within which different functions are considered. Education is one of them. In Slovenia we are active in the field of forest pedagogy for approximately 10 years. There are several institutions working in this field, including Slovenian Forestry Institute, Slovenia Forest Service, Institute for forest pedagogy and other non-governmental organizations – organisations like Pro Silva and different associations which are active in this field. In our database there are about 200 members who are working in the field of forest pedagogy.Slovenian Forestry Institute is a research institution, as such is also involved in the field of forest pedagogy. The group “Forest of experiments” is a group within the Institute. We act in different fields of forestry and environment education, providing professional knowledge to different groups from children to teachers, foresters, hunters and others. Every year we organize educational events – seminars and workshops. This October the seminar about non-wood forest products and forest pedagogy will be held in Ljubljana. A big achievement of our group is also the Handbook for learning and play in the forest, where different forest activities are described. The Handbook in English language is available here.
Lately, our countries have been facing some extreme weather events, climate change is an important topic these days and here we can use forest pedagogy as a tool to reach to the people, people of all age, to raise awareness on the importance of forests, their management (close-to-nature) and as well to promote forestry as such.
Also, at the level of European Union, the importance of environmental education and sustainable development is recognized. That is why the group “Forest Communicators Network (FCN)” established the subgroup “Forest Pedagogics” in order to increase awareness of forest pedagogy and to develop a Common European Strategy on Forest pedagogy which was adopted in 2017. This Strategy is linked with sustainable management and is therefore the most important achievement of this group. The principles of this Strategy are followed in many European countries as well as in Slovenia. Read more about the subgroup Forest Pedagogics here.