The Government is launching a campaign in 100 schools with ecological projects to raise awareness of the value of the forest and attract them to the sector’s professions, an initiative that was born at the initiative of the forest sector.
The “ECONOMY, ECOMTODOS” campaign, which will be launched today by the Secretaries of State for Forestry and Rural Development, Miguel Freitas, and Education, João Costa, at the secondary school in Loulé, Algarve, is promoted by the General Directorate of Education (DGE), which chose the 100 participating schools, and the Institute for Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), which Miguel Freitas explained, responded to an appeal from the sector itself, from industries to forest producers’ associations.
The campaign, which runs from one week to the next Monday to mark International Forestry Day (March 21), involves 3,000 students, mostly secondary school, from 100 eco-schools – so named because they belonged to a program aimed at environmental education, sustainability and citizenship, of international scope and that in Portugal is implemented by the Blue Flag Association of Europe.
Of the 100 eco-schools, 94 are secondary schools and the remaining six are basic schools with projects in the area of environment and forests, explained the Ministry of Education.
The campaign is to raise awareness of the “value of the forest“, not only economic value, said Miguel Freitas, but also the environmental and social value, and aims to alert to the risks associated with climate change, abandonment, desertification and forest fires.
According to the Secretary of State for Forestry and Rural Development, the focus on secondary school pupils is explained by the fact that they are at a stage of their schooling in which they have to make choices regarding their professional future and because the campaign has as one of the great objectives to attract young people to qualified professions linked to the forest.
With the help of “ambassadors” captured within the schools involved in the project – whether they are teachers or employees -, students will participate in this week’s initiatives, associated with the portal forestcomfuturo.pt, in which, through games related to the theme of forests and schools, will try to find the most educated students to work on the themes associated with the campaign.
The campaign chose four thematic areas, associating each with an animal and a characteristic: the area of production of goods and services was associated with the owl, in turn, associated with wisdom; ecosystem services and protection, which have to do with the protection of natural resources, were associated with the Iberian goat and the characteristic of determination; the conservation of nature is linked to the lynx and the characteristic of the claw; and finally the area of recreation and landscape relates to the eagle and the characteristic of confidence.
“There is a key idea here that we are all united around this campaign, to bring about three thousand young people during this week a movie allusive to the message that we want to pass on the value of the forest, with a portal that will be opened, with games that allow young people to express their connection to the forest and in what perspective they want to associate with this movement. We intend to create a movement. This is the first of a set of events that we will carry out throughout the year “said the Secretary of State for Forestry and Rural Development.
The second moment of involvement, after the end of the sensitization phase, will go through a “great youth camp” in May, with those who in this first phase “manifest a distinct vocation for the forest”, and with links to universities, especially those who teach courses related to forestry professions.
The campaign “ECONOMY, ECOMTODOS” is part of the international campaign “Learn to Love the Forest!” and the presentation, which is taking place in Loulé today, will be attended by the student Matilde Alvim, one of the promoters in Portugal of the international movement of the climatic strike, which last week took thousands of students to the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change.