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Children throughout Wales will be celebrating the International Year of Forests (IYF) next month during a week of events centred on the planet’s life support system – our woodlands.
Forestry Commission Wales will be running a variety of activities to help the United Nations raise awareness of the key role of forests and sustainable forest management in building a greener future.
The Commission’s Woodlands for Learning (WfL) team will host a series of visits to local woodlands where school children and young people will be able to learn lots of fun facts, such as trees produce most of the oxygen we need to breathe.
From Monday, 3 October to Friday, 7 October, FC Wales Education Officers will be teaching groups how to use tools to make objects from green wood, such as musical instruments and plaques, how to engrave wood with wood burning pens and holding tree planting events.
There will also be adventurous activities of shelter building and woodland cook-outs as forest celebration days are held throughout Wales.
In addition to running its own events, Forestry Commission Wales has – via the Forest Education Initiative (FEI) – allocated grants of £250 to the 23 FEI cluster groups throughout Wales to run similar events.
The groups have come up with a number of innovative ways to celebrate IYF and the funds will be used to help pay for a variety of resources from transport to employing a green woodwork instructor.
So far, FEI events to celebrate the International Year of Forests are planned in the following counties: Vale, Cardiff, Newport, Radnorshire, South Powys, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Wrexham.
Sue Williams, WfL team leader, said, “We’re hoping to get as many children and young people as possible involved in the IYF celebrations.
“We’re very pleased with the variety and range of activities and look forward to an exciting week teaching children about the value of woodlands through learning about trees, woodlands and timber and the many benefits they provide.”
The WfL team engages with thousands of children every year as part of its ongoing programme of educational, community and recreational events using woodlands as a learning environment and is planning many more activities throughout 2011.
WfL Education Manager Karen Clarke said, “The value of trees and woodlands should not be underestimated.
“Through helping children and young people to re-establish bonds and understanding of this ecosystem, we can help to shape a better future where growing sustainable timber and caring for the environment go hand in hand.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The United Nations has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests. It has invited governments, organisations and individuals to do all they can to raise public awareness of the key role of forests and sustainable forest management in building a greener, more equitable and sustainable future.
A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
The FC Wales Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland-based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates the Forest Education Initiative on behalf of its partners.
For more information on the WfL team, contact Karen Clarke on 02920 886842, mobile 07721 302667, email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email email@example.com