Nature Interpretation for Children and Young People in the Nordic Countries

image of Nature Interpretation for Children and Young People in the Nordic Countries

This TEMA-Nord report is a result of a one-year project with all of the Nordic countries participating. The primary goal of the project has been 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. Several issues should be considered when planning nature interpretation activities if nature interpretation aims to lead to sustainable development. These points of view are concerned especially with how nature interpreters can encourage children and young people to take ownership, to be involved with their body and mind, and to reflect and put the experience and the activities in nature into a wider context.



The Demanding Role of Nature Interpretation Sites

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.


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