What is the innovation about?
Love the Forest is based on the working model “Young people speculate” where elementary school students meet the “Love the Forest” partners. During these meetings the students can express their visions and ideas about the Swedish Forests and showcase how they see forest resource use in the future. This way they have the opportunity to influence their surrounding environment and its future.
What makes this innovation a good example?
This innovation is a form of a communication and education project bringing together different Swedish forest stakeholders (forest industry, researchers, civil society and policy-makers) with one of the most important groups of society, namely schoolchildren. During the “Love the Forest” project, schoolchildren learn more about the present and future importance of forest ecosystems and the role of forests in society.
Where is the case study innovation located?
The project “Love the Forest” started in 2016 as a joint initiative of the Universeum Science Centre in Gothenburg and a number of Swedish forest enterprises and forest associations. The competition is held in Gothenburg, with participating schools from a number of different districts. In 2018 we are working with 19 schools and have 475 schoolchildren. The competition’s partners have offices throughout Sweden.
Why was the innovation established?
The Swedish forest has played a key role in Sweden’s economy for centuries. The forest is our greatest natural resource and Sweden’s land area is for 70 percent covered by forests. It is essential for the Swedish economy that the forestry sector continues to drive the economy forward.
Who is benefiting from the innovation?
The project “Love the forest” provides benefits from several perspectives. Firstly, the project represents an exciting new working method for teachers and students which enriches the students learning content and structure. Teachers have their own professional development and through “Love the Forest” they are also given the opportunity to work across the curriculum including different subjects (biology, social science), with a focus on the competition’s mission. The students may experience an increase in motivation to go to school, while the competition theme requires that students think creatively and develop new ideas that can be put into practice. After the 2017 contest 74% of students stated that they had increased knowledge about the forest and its role in the project, while 100% of the teachers would recommend the project to other teachers and students.
Does the innovation need particular policies, stakeholder, or market conditions to work?
The contest requires a high level of commitment and resources from the partners who run the project together with Universeum. The forest companies and associations involved have to devote considerable time to word the competition in a way that reflects society’s challenges. Furthermore, a participatory approach is required to work with and understand the target audience, in this case schoolchildren and teachers.