European Regional Development Fund
On 24 January 2019, the final conference of the project FORBEST - Environmental Education and Training in Forest Schools supported by the Interreg V-A Slovakia-Hungary Cooperation Program was held.
In 2017 the Municipality of Szirmabesenyő Village and the Košice Forestry Company received support for the implementation of a joint program from the European Union under the Interreg V-A Slovak-Hungarian Cooperation Program. Project title: FORBEST – Forest Based Education and Training. It aims to improve the lack of or low level of environmental awareness among children and young people, thus reducing future challenges and impacts on the changing natural environment.
The cooperating parties were enrolled at Szinyei Merse Pál Primary School in Szirmabesenyő, presenting and evaluating the results of the collaboration with presentations.
In the framework of the press conference, Mayor Gábor Huszti welcomed the interested audience as host. He called joint work with the Slovak partners a milestone, emphasizing that it was the first international project in the life of Szirmabesenyő. He believes that a relationship with tangible results encourages participation in further tenders, and there are a number of sources that we can obtain directly from the EU. In this case, we evaluate this complex project with many elements, from building to curriculum development to preparing adults and children. The EU principle of partnership was well-established: forests, schools, and municipalities have mutually worked and benefited from the results. As the representative of the Municipality of Szirmabesenyő, as Lead Beneficiary of the project he thanked all the partners for their cooperation.
Dezső Török, Chairman of the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Assembly, spoke about the opportunities for development and cooperation provided by the Interreg V-A Slovakia-Hungary Cooperation Program, and as the leader of Interreg programs in the county, he was pleased to announce that in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County were the most of cross-border programs in Hungary. This is a great help for the Via Carpatia European Territorial Cooperation Group, established jointly with the County of Kosice. In the Hungarian-Slovakian relationship, in 2018, a total of 65 projects in the fields of nature and culture, mobility and institutional cooperation received € 71.5 million. The figures also show that there is a serious interest in Interreg in the county and that significant resources are available.
István Csaba Botos, project manager, presented the Hungarian project activities and then Gejza Legen coordinator introduced the Slovakian ones. Within the framework of the project two investments were made, an open-air eco-classroom was built in Szirmabesenyő, and the suburban and degraded forest house of the Košice Forestry Company was transformed into an international environmental education center open all year round. Participating forest teachers and environmental educators shared environmental education experiences in both countries within a total of 6 three-day teacher training programs. Many natural and cultural values have been visited and explored around each other, which can serve as a venue for future open-air schools and summer camp programs. Partly in these trainings’ experience was built the program of two one-week-long camps organized by the partners in August, where 15-15 Slovakian and Hungarian students together could learn the love of nature through excursions, field exercises and games. The activities and knowledge of teacher training and summer camps provided the basis for the environmental education guidebook issued in the framework of the project.
Judit Csellárné Németh, an environmental educator, presented a demonstrative, richly illustrated presentation about the teacher training programs and the two summer camps with the involvement of two students: Siska Vivien and Zsófia Dojcsák who reported about their personal experiences. Gergely Molnár, another environmental educator, formulated his thoughts on environmental awareness in the spirit of the “Think globally, act locally!” slogan and introduced the environmental education guidebook.
Participants also get informed by that teachers and pupils from Pál Szinyei Merse Primary School were involved in implementing a municipal project that served both their institution and the local population.
In his summary, Gábor Huszti encouraged the school management and the students to live with, use and feel the ECO classroom as their own, as it is also a new community space, opened officially on September 29, 2018) and to utilize the knowledge and experience gained through the complex project. He also highlighted the success of cooperation with the Slovakian partner, and besides the professional relationship, there were also personal friendships that provide a good basis for further cooperation.
The content of this press release does not necessarily represent the official position of the European Union.
For further information please contact:
István Csaba Botos
Project manager of Szirmabesenyő Municipality