European Regional Development Fund
Last Friday there was a project meeting in Szirmabesenyő where representatives of the local Municipality and ML Kosice, (forest company of the 2nd largest Slovak city) discussed about the further steps of their common environmental education initiative. These organizations are the beneficiaries of the project entitled Forest Based Education and Training (FORBEST) and are supported by the European Union through its Interreg V-A Slovakia-Hungary Cooperation Programme.
The project aims to improve the missing or low level of environmental awareness of children and youth to mitigate the future challenges and impacts of the changing natural environment. Too many current negative phenomena on natural environment and climate have deep roots in low awareness, bad attitude and careless consumption of natural resources.
The needed changes do not start with political declarations and signatures but with the changes in practices of common people, inhabitants of the World. The project wants to contribute to this change through innovative environmental education and training based in natural environment appreciation. The forest environment with innovative (competition and challenge – problem, solving methods) will have deep impact on attitude and awareness of kids.
Szirmabesenyő Municipality, as the Lead Beneficiary, wants to develop an outdoor /school yard based educational, training and information facility in their settlement, near the Szirmay Castle (suburban area of Miskolc), serving both school children and summer camp visitors and tourists. The facility should operate during the school year as outdoor classroom that focuses on innovative environmental education. The center will be connected to the nearby natural areas with „learning trails“ and use the jointly developed new programmes and tools.
On Slovak side, the project partner Mestské lesy Košice, a.s. will establish an international environmental education center from their decayed suburban forest cottage for year-around activities of youth and children of Europe. The center should provide services for organisation of school based education, training courses, leisure time activities and summer camps. Part of the innovative approach is the participation of foresters and NGO activists, as invited trainers, in the learning lessons of school children.
ML Kosice as a long term Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate holder considers activities of environmental education and forest pedagogy as an important part of public relations work. City of Kosice (through its schools) supports the project as well.
Besides the constructions, the involved experts are working on the development of a bilingual environmental education guidebook and on exchange of education and training methods used in the neighbouring countries. This year the facilities, the guidebook and all the shared training experience will be used and tested during summer camps organized for mixed groups of Slovak and Hungarian students on both locations.
For further information please contact:
István Csaba Botos
Project manager of Szirmabesenyő Municipality