Table of Contents

  • Just as I had found my feet as a nature interpreter for children, this workshop gave me so many new thoughts and ideas. It was a good job that Søren, at the meeting, said that it’s better to try to improve oneself incrementally, rather than trying to revolutionise one self and starting over. Build on what you have already – that’s better in the long run. (Michaela from Sweden).

  • Nature Interpretation for Children and Young People in the Nordic Countries was a one-year project with all of the Nordic countries participating. The project was realised thanks to a grant from the Terrestrial Ecosystem Group under the Nordic Council of Ministers. The primary goal of the project was to collect, develop and mediate a series of good examples of how nature interpretation, aimed at children and young people, can encourage children’s understanding of nature, and inspire them to involve themselves with questions on humans nature and thus help contribute to sustainable development. The project focused on a several points of view regarding the planning of nature interpretation activities, which are central considerations when nature interpretation aims to lead to sustainable development. These points of view are concerned especially with how nature interpreters, through their activities, can instil a sense of ownership in children and young people, that involves body and mind, and encourages reflection and puts the experience and the activities in nature into a wider context.

  • To implement sustainable management of our nature and culture environments, it is necessary to have knowledge of it and engage with it. This is the foundation of environmental politics in the Nordic countries. Nature interpretation is an important tool when citizens, children as well as grown-ups, are to acquire knowledge of and opinions on our nature and environment. One important goal of nature interpretation in the Nordic countries is to encourage the public to participate in the environmental debate. It is especially important to inspire interest among children and young people, as they are the citizens of the future, and future stewards of nature and the environment.

  • One aim of the project is to inspire a lift in the quality of Nordic nature interpretation – a lift that can support, promote and improve learning and skills of nature interpretation’s target demographics.

  • One of the central aims of this project has been to collect and develop good and interesting examples of nature interpretation activities in the Nordic countries that can take place in one of three areas: Protected natural areas, peri-urban nature and/or culture environments. Furthermore, each example highlights one or more of the seven perspectives that can contribute to a better understanding of nature and contribute to sustainable development.

  • We share a lot of information when we have visitors to our place or on a tour. But how much is retained them when they leave us? And how committed will visitors remain in relation to the questions we tried to promote? A part of a fruitful strategy is having knowledge of mechanisms that can enhance a feeling of ownership to the questions we address during a visit. This isn’t rocket science, but is often neglected in many initiatives and daily activities.

  • This article discusses how the mission of sustainability2 can be fulfilled at visitor centres, nature schools and in other nature interpretation contexts. The discussion is based on two questions: Firstly, what is the role of nature interpretation sites today? Secondly, is it unrealistic to try to promote as tremendous a goal as sustainability on these sites? It may seem impossible to change the world in a place where visitors often only stay for a few hours, but maybe there are other ways to work with complicated issues like sustainability. I will propose a strategy for the development of nature interpretation sites based on four fundamental practices that can be chosen simultaneously or separately. These fundamental practices are nature as a state of mind, teacher training, collaboration, and practice architecture. In the paragraph below, I will explain what these four topics mean and why I find reflecting on them to be worthwhile. The explanation is based on both experience and educational research.

  • An intensive Nordic collaboration over 20 years ago has resulted in a shared Nordic definition of nature interpretation. Feedback for the project Nature Interpretation for Children and Young People in the Nordic Countries show that there is still a large and growing interest in nature interpretation in all of the Nordic countries in 2012. Nordic collaboration is an effective method for the development of nature interpretation as an important tool in influencing and implementing nature and environment policies in the Nordic countries.

  • Det fællesnordiske samarbejde “Naturvejledning for børn og unge i Norden” viser, at der i 2012 er en stor og voksende interesse for naturvejledning i alle de nordiske lande. Nordisk samarbejde er en god metode til udvikling af naturvejledning, som et vigtigt virkemiddel til at påvirke og udføre natur- og miljøpolitik i Norden.

  • Disse eksempelbeskrivelser fra 25 nordiske naturvejledere er et produkt af et et-årigt projekt om Naturvejledning for børn og unge i Norden.