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Campaign ‘Caring for the future? Caring for the forest!’

When: May - December 2011

Where: Albania, Czech Republic, Finland, Portugal, Russia and the United Kingdom

Who: Youth and Environment Europe

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Project description

2011 has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of the Forests. Living in a safe and healthy environment is an important human right, and forests play a crucial role in maintaining a clean environment. Unfortunately, not everyone realises their importance and forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate in many countries. For this reason we organised a forest campaign in 6 European countries during summer-autumn 2011.

The campaign was coordinated by a group of young people from each of the participating countries (Albania, Czech Republic, Finland, Portugal, Russia and the United Kingdom). Through this campaign we wanted to show the vital role that forests play in maintaining the stability of our climate, preserving biodiversity and offering us a healthy and enriching environment.

The campaign consisted of:

  • Preparatory meeting of the coordinating team (1st - 3rd July 2011, Prague).
  • Online campaign (July-December 2011): a special section on the YEE website was created in order to promote the campaign. It was continuously updated throughout the campaign with information about local events in each country, pictures and news. It also includes 'discover more' section with different links to other websites, articles and movies related to the topic of the forest and its preservation.
  • DIRECT ACTIONS: ‘Care for the forests!' - The direct actions differed in each country depending on the specific situation in each country. The actions included: rubbish clean-up, tree planting, forest guided tour, environmental games in the forest, planting of symbolic trees to mark the campaign and the creation of ‘land art' in the forest. The aim of the direct actions was to actively involve young people in caring for their local forest.
  • LECTURES AND DISCUSSIONS - We organised lectures on the role of forests in regulating our climate. These were designed to share information about complex issues with young people in an accessible way.
  • MOVIE-SCREENING - In each country we held movie-screening showing various movies about forests around the world.
  • In order to close up the campaign, an online report ‘Discover the forest' about the status of the world's forests was published. Each country team gathered information about the forest conditions in their country. The coordinating team prepared a short insight about the different forest types, the forest management practices and the main threats forests currently have to face.  The report is accessible on the dedicated section of the YEE website.

Objectives

Our aim was to show the links between global and local issues on the topic of forests. We wanted to educate young people about the fact that forest destruction in other places, such as Siberia, the Amazon and Indonesia, affects their lives, because of the impact on biodiversity and global warming. We also wanted to show young people the importance of preserving their local forests, and to empower them to ‘care for the future by caring for the forest'. More specifically we aimed:

  • to raise young people's awareness of threats to forests worldwide, by presenting information in an accessible and interesting way
  • to mobilize young people to take action to preserve forests worldwide
  • to help young people discover their local forests
  • to empower young people to care for their local forests
  • to share information between 6 European countries about the richness of their local forests, and the threats they face

The campaign was focused mainly on young people, although we managed to spread the message amongst different age groups as the age of participants in the local actions varied a lot (families with children, elderly people, high-school and university students, etc.).

Opinions from participants and the organizing team

I think the Forest Campaign was a very interesting project to carry out even though there were many activities and materials that were supposed to be used during the campaign according to the campaign plan. For my NGO, Luonto-Liitto (Finnish Nature League), the campaign was a good way to activate young volunteers to organize any events related to the local orests and also get some international visibility and experience about international project-making as well. However, our participants were very excited especially about local activities we had: the forest ambassador tour, trips to forests, etc. During the project we got some new volunteers in Luonto-Liitto's Forest Group and hopefully there will be many new forest activities organized in the future encouraged by a successfully accomplished Forest Campaign!

Kamilla Billiers (Luonto-Liitto, Finland)

Forest Campaign was an interesting and very useful experience for EDEN Center members. They learnt a lot about forests globally and that they liked is the fact that for the forest issues they could have simple but detailed information about the forests in Albania. Another thing that they appreciated was the cooperation and working together with people from different European countries as an international team. On the national level, the campaign was very important as this year in Albania, there was a catastrophe with regards to forest burning and cutting. Through the campaign we were able to raise public awareness, bring the issue into daily discussions and into governmental institutions' attention. Thank you, Forest Campaign!

Ermelinda Mahmutaj (EDEN Center, Albania)

The Forest Campaign was another successfull project that strenghtened the link of the Ecoclubes Network and OPE which is a point that should be given continued attention in organisations such as OPE. We have achieved a high degree of effort from the side of volunteers and a sense of identification with the cause. There was a different involvement in this project compared to others already made in the past - we feel that volunteers' involvement was more emotional based and more integrated than in other previous activities and this effect was also very important for strenghtening the link of the network of volunteers in Ecoclubes and the Network itself.

Ana Lopes (OPE, Portugal)

Participating organisations

Financial support

This project was funded by the European Youth Foundation – the Council of Europe.

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Photogalleries

To read more about the campaign, visit the YEE Forest Campaign website.


 
 
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