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Webinar series

Environmental Education and Nature interpretation in the Nordics

Nordplus Horizontal 2023 is a nature interpretation networking and training program. The project is run by the Nordic group for nature interpretation. The aim is to learn more about educational practices for nature interpretation and environmental education in the Nordic countries. By learning from each other we hope to enhance the quality of the education for nature interpreters in the Nordic countries.

What is cool about this project?

The “Nordic interpretation group” consists of representatives from the leading organisations of nature interpretation and environmental education in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Therefore the group in and of itself is cool.

All the organisations in the group are working with educational programs themselves, or together with other educational institutions. The vision for this co-operation group is to promote “nature awareness, connectedness and environmental empowerment for everyone in the Nordic countries”. The mission is:

Through organizational co-operation, bringing together Nordic nature interpreters and environmental educators to increase the quality of nature interpretation and environmental education to fulfill the vision.

Knowledge on nature interpretation and environmental education is more actual than ever, in order to engage people in taking actions for climate, nature and biodiversity in the Nordic countries. One of the key aims of nature interpretation/ environmental education is to increase awareness of the severity of the climate and nature crisis, but also to share inspiration and methods to deal with this situation and to encourage faith in the future.

However, there is also an increasing interest and need for the social dimensions of nature interpretation/environmental education for instance nature-based activities connected to education for health and well-being, participation, integration, and accessibility. Cross-sectoral nature interpretation has a growing relevance to a socially sustainable and just future.

Through this project we want to take our work further by co-developing and delivering knowledge about the novel interpretive methods and offers in the Nordic countries.

What will happen in the project?

The project runs for two years, 2023-2025.

Each participating country will host a webinar with focus on giving an overview on what courses and other educational activities are offered for nature interpreters / environmental educators in their country.

At the end of the project period, in March 2025, there will be a Nordic workshop in Sweden where new insights and key findings will be compiled and strategies developed for how the participating organisations can apply new knowledge to their educational programs.

More about the webinars

Training for Nature interpretation and Environmental Education in the Nordic countries

This webinar series brings together professionals in the fields of environmental education and nature interpretation in the Nordic countries to increase understanding, ideas and professional competence. It gives an overview over current structures and ways how education for environmental awareness and nature relationships is supported and enhanced.

What do we have in common and what is unique? What is innovative and what might be the future trends in each country? Each of the five country webinars will give you an overview of the structures and provide you with some concrete examples about programs and methods.

Schedule

Every webinar will be held at the same time of the day.

ICE 12am-3pm; SWE/NOR/DEN 1pm-4 pm; FIN 2pm-5pm


Past webinars:


April 10th 2024: Finland

Welcome to the last webinar of the series. In this webinar we will present how environmental education and nature interpretation is implemented in Finland on different educational levels. We will make connections between environmental education, biodiversity education, climate education and nature interpretation, and open up how this all relates to sustainable development.

The webinar will consist of presentations, commentaries and examples from all levels: systematic, program and professional competence building levels. Finally, we will provide a brief summary of the series. The webinar is hosted by SYKLI Environmental College, The Finnish Association of Nature and Environment Schools and Metsähallitus/Parks and Wildlife Finland.

Program:

  • Environmental Education in Finland, PhD Essi Aarnio-Linnanvuori, University Lecturer (environmental education and sustainable development), Tampere University
  • Nature Interpretation in Finland -summary Leena Honkasalo, SYKLI Environmental College
  • Commentary speech Laura Kuusinen Hyria
  • 3 perspectives on environmental education/nature interpretation:
    • Training programs and professional development, Anna Haukka, SYKLI Environmental College
    • LYKE network, MAPPA.fi service, Ulos-Ut-Out conference and the role between reserchers and schools, Sanna Saari-Vesterinen , The Finnish Association of Nature and Environment Schools
    • Nature interpretation through projects, Elina Pilke, Metsähallitus/Parks & Wildlife Finland

Short break, Nature well-being drill

  • 3 environmental education/nature interpretation excercises/examples
    • Connecting to nature – systemic thinking, Ulla Myllyniemi, SYKLI Environmental College
    • Nature excursion machine (species observations, environmental change, climate change, biodiversity loss), Sanna Saari-Vesterinen , The Finnish Association of Nature and Environment Schools
    • National park simulator (biodiversity loss perspective), Maria Salin, Metsähallitus/Parks & Wildlife Finland
  • Looking at Environmental Education and Nature Interpretation through the European GreenComp Framework, PhD Niina Mykrä, postdoctoral researcher, University of Jyväskylä
  • Breakout rooms
  • Summary of the webinar series, Ulla Myllyniemi, SYKLI Environmental College

March 12th 2024: Iceland

Welcome to an introduction to nature interpretation in Iceland. In this webinar we’ll delve into its connection to the Icelandic heritage with the Sagas and the folk stories, how and where nature interpretation is taught today and how it is used in the field of ever changing nature, with focus on both nature conservation and visitor safety.

Program of the webinar 

  • From settlement to storytelling, Torfi Stefán Jónsson, Þingvellir National Park
  • Interpretation in Ranger training. Nature interpretation as a management tool in National parks and other protected areas, Kristín Ósk Jónasdóttir, The Environment Agency of Iceland
  • Interpretation education in Universities, Guðmundur Björnsson, University of Iceland 

Short break 

  • Windows towards nature, Informal education in nature exhibitions and visitor centers, Helga Aradóttir, Icelandic Museum of Natural History and Stefanía Eir Vignisdóttir, Vatnajökull National Park.
  • Nature interpretation in ever changing nature,  Nína Aradóttir, Vatnajökull National Park. 

Break out rooms – these are our thoughts. Tell us how does the sagas and folk stories connect into each countries interpretation.  


February 7th 2024: Denmark

Abstract

The webinar presented training and education within nature interpretation and environmental education in Denmark. It consisted of presentations, discussion and workshops regarding central topics on education of Nature Interpreters in Denmark.

The webinar was hosted by Nature Interpretation Denmark and Forestry College at University of Copenhagen.

The focus was on telling and showing examples of how we work with the education of nature interpreters, spice up with exemplary examples. The participants were asked to bring something from nature to the webinar: A ‘nature thing’ that represent the following: What is happening in nature around you right now that you feel should be communicated?

Program of the webinar

  • Welcome and introduction v. Jakob Walløe Hansen, Nature Interpretation Denmark
  • Historical background and an overview of the educational landscape v. Mette Aaskov Knudsen, Nature Interpretation Denmark
  • Nature interpretation in a Danish context v Søren Rafn, Natur Interpretation Denmark
  • Presentation of the two existing nature interpretations educations in Denmark v. Eva Skytte, Nature Interpretation Denmark and Johanne Lybecker Christiani, Forestry College
  • Break
  • Workshops: Participate in two different workshops (see below).

Welcome and introduction

v. Jakob Walløe Hansen, Nature Interpretation Denmark

Welcome and presentation of Nature Interpretation Denmark. The association is a professional community that works to promote conditions for nature interpretation and nature communication in Denmark.

As a nature interpretator, the association means networking, collaboration, anchoring both before and after education/graduation.

About Nature Interpretation Danmark.

Historical background and an overview of the educational landscape

v. Mette Aaskov Knudsen, Nature Interpretation Denmark

Slides >>

Nature interpretation in a Danish context

v Søren Rafn, Natur Interpretation Denmark

The unique thing in DK:

  • The diversity of Nature Interpreters – eg. many different subjects, skills and places of employment.
  • Manage a great diversity of backgrounds, experiences and professional roots.
  • Diversity which is an advantage – and also a challenge for education planners who have to accommodate widely different prerequisites to be in an education context.

Talking-paper >>

Presentation of the two existing nature interpretations educations in Denmark

v. Eva Skytte, Nature Interpretation Denmark and Johanne Lybecker Christiani, Forestry College

In Denmark there are now two different Nature Interpretation Educations:

  • The original education is a further education runned by Natur Interpretation Denmark
  • A new education offered by the Foresty College, University of Copenhagen.

Slides >>

See more: Børns naturdannelse. Naturen i barnet – barnet i naturen (centerforboernognatur.dk)

Workshop 3: Evaluation, reflection and feedback – different methods that support learning

By: Mette Aaskov Knudsen and Eva Skytte, Nature Interpretation Denmark

The three terms are used in many ways in the world of education. At this workshop you will get an introduction to how we define the terms and how we work with them when we organize nature interpreters education.

Slides >>

Workshop 4: Biodiversity – and cooperation between nature interpretors and schools

By: Jaris Bigler and Giuliano Matessi, Copenhagen’s Natur School

In this workshop, you will be introduced to concrete examples of how Copenhagen’s Nature School collaborates with the managers of urban parks and larger nature reserves to facilitate teaching of biodiversity to schoolchildren and teachers.

Slides >>

Workshop 5: Climate interpretation and methods – how do we work with competence development

By: Maja Birkeland Sell, Nature Interpreter

One way to work with competence development in Denmark is through professional networks. The Climate and Sustainability Network is an example of this. In this workshop, the networkfacilitator introduce the network and activities and give concrete examples of activities for children around climate and sustainability interpretation.

Slides >>


January 18th 2024: Norway

To Be, or Not to Be, a Part of Interpretation?
Nature Relations and Interpretation in Norway

How do diverse nature relations affect the role of nature interpretation in a country? How does it affect training?
These are the underlying questions we wish to explore as we present the educational and training provision on nature interpretation in Norway. Perhaps surprisingly, Norway is lagging behind some of its Nordic neighbors in nature interpretation research and education. Join to the webinar and share your insights with us as we seek to understand the reasons behind this.

Norway is a rugged and nature rich country with mountains, fjords and arctic areas. There are long traditions for “outdoor life” (friluftsliv), and to harvest from nature in the countryside. At the turn of the 20th century, national identity was shaped by the great polar explorers, like Nansen and Amundsen, and romantic landscape painters. Later, Norwegians developed extractive industries like oil and fish farming, as well as inspiring the “Deep Ecology” movement. Today, many Norwegians own a second home in the countryside enjoying outdoor adventure activities (often without a guide), however, often leaving the more traditional outdoor life behind. Norway is becoming increasingly urban and international, and there is an increasing need for nature guides and interpreters. So how does this affect nature interpretation in Norway?

Program of the webinar

  • Introduction to Nature Relations and Interpretation in Norway, Kristian Bjørnstad,
    Founder of the Interpret Norway Network. Director of the Norwegian Parks Association. Country coordinator (Norway) and certified trainer at Interpret Europe. Human Ecologist and Educator.
  • A Background and an Overview of Nature Interpretation in Norway, Torfinn Rohde
    Retired World Heritage Coordinator and Head of the Interpretation Unit at the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (SNO)
  • Interpretation in Outdoor Life (friluftsliv) education, Per Ingvar Haukeland
    Professor of ecophilosophy and pedagogy. Head of the research group; Outdoor Life (friluftsliv), Society and Sustainability, at the University of South-Eastern Norway. Haukeland has previously headed the Centre for Nature- and Culture-based Innovation at Telemark Research Institute and became in 2023 a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) at Interpret Europe. He is exploring ways to integrate interpretation in outdoor life (friluftsliv) education.
  • The Development of Visitor Centers, Eva Lindgaard
    Senior Advisor, Norwegian Environment Agency. Coordinating funding and authorizations of Visitor Centers for nature and world heritage in Norway.
  • Networks of Nature Interpreters in Norway, Benny Sætermo
    Nature Interpreter, Visitor Centre, National Parks in Nordland

December 5th 2023: Sweden

In this webinar it was discussed how training in the field of nature interpretation and environmental education is carried out in Sweden. The Swedish Centre for Nature Interpretation gave and overviewed of the landscape of training at three levels: systematic, program and professional competence buildning levels.


Program of the webinar

  • Welcome and information from the organizers
  • There are ongoing efforts to strengthen the profession Nature interpreter in Sweden. Per Sonnvik from the Swedish Center for nature interpretation tells us more.
  • From Linköping university we hear more about courses about outdoor teaching. Emilia Fägerstam, Jonas Forsmark and Therese Lundqvist Jones gives us an insight on how the courses are organized.

Short break

  • The Swedish centre for nature interpretation (SCNI) is a meeting place, centre for development and a competence resourse for nature interpreters. SCNI:s director, Eva Sandberg, will give you an overview of what the centre can provide, from university courses to short informative morning webbinars.
  • On European level the organization, Interpret Europe, gathers interpreters from all over Europe. They provide for example webbinars, conferences and also week long courses that will make a certified writer, guide, planner or trainer. Valya Stergioti tells us more about IE.

Longer break for coffee/tea/something else refreshing

  • Now it is time to try some of the exercises that SCNI use in the different training sessions. This will also provide you as participants to network across the Nordic borders.
  • Concluding discussions, wrap-up and information about the coming webinar.


March 2025: Final seminar in Sweden

Ask more

Ulla Myllyniemi

Trainer, Environmental and Sustainability Education