Training for Nature took place in 2017and gathered 23 beautiful people from 7 European countries in Baile Tusnad, the smallest city of Romania, also known as the magic land of hobbits and bears. The participants embarked on a learning journey using nature oriented methods, experiential learning and
This training course aimed to bring NATURE in the centre of our attention, not only as persons, but also as professionals in youth field. We explored questions as:
- How can I develop meaningful activities for young people bringing them closer to NATURE?
- How can I assist young people in their self-discovery and self-development process using NATURE inspired activities?
- How can I contribute to an ECO-CENTRIC approach of youth work?
- How can I create pedagogical tool based on an ECO-CENTRIC approach of learning.
During T4N, we gently explored the beauty of NATURE and of our inner world by creatively combining methods with a nature oriented touch. Some of them we are going to briefly describe further. Our intention is not to be exhaustive in the presentation, as there are so many materials which can provide details about eco-centric methodologies. We would like to give a taste of the energy that was built during the T4N training course and inspire YOU to spend more time in NATURE, as well as encourage youth workers and other professional in youth and education fields to bring their work closer to NATURE.
A.R.T. Fusion Association has started its work using global education since 2008 already by implementing a variety of projects and initiatives at local, international or intercontinental level. For this project, we are cooperating with partner organizations interested in tackling environmental issues in their community and bring the nature dimension into their work. From our joint analysis of our communities and work with our beneficiaries, we have extracted the following points to be tackled in the present project:
ülack of awareness on global issues and environmental crisis. Lack of knowledge on what they mean and implications they have at different levels (social, political, cultural, economic, environmental).
üdifficulty to deeper grasp the consequences of global crisis (environmental crisis for examples) at local level. lack of capacity to correlate local events (natural disasters, social inequities, economic crisis, immigration crisis, health issues, etc.) with global factors (climate change, environmental crisis, etc.)
ülack of coherent interest and action of youth work in the direction of environmental crisis. Lack of innovative methodologies to tackles environmental issues and give a nature oriented dimension to youth work.
ünot enough experience based research about how environmental education could impact youth work
üyouth workers do not have competences specific to environmental or global education to be able to efficiently transfer them to young people. Not enough projects and initiatives with clear environmental dimensions at local, national or international levels
In Training for Nature project we wanted to approach our intervention from a shifted angle and focused on issues related to environment and nature. We took participants on a NATURE discovery journey and invited them to explore ways in which they can orient their practices to an environmental approach.
We started from the connection we have as humans with the NATURE around to be able to seek solutions from a nature oriented perspective. So, we used innovative, creative and simple methods to guide participants to a process of exploring their connection with natural environment. The aim of our project was to increase the capacity of youth-related organizations in Europe to become more sustainable and environmentally oriented in their work. WHY? Because we believe there is a need for shift in our paradigm and in the way we approach youth work. We believe that bringing youngsters closer to NATURE will help them make the profound changes they need for their life and their communities.
Training for Nature offered to the participants a holistic understanding of the unity and interdependence of human society and the natural environment. At the same time, we sought to equip participants with a series of tools and methods to trigger learning processes within young people in relation with the action they can take to protect the environment and build a sustainable community.
Each day of the training was associated with one essential element of Nature. Therefore, day one was the FIRE DAY as we wanted to set fire (metaphorically speaking) and kick off the training with positives vibes. Day two was the FOREST DAY as it was our playground for the entire day. Day three was named the AIR DAY because we took a breath of fresh air again and took a hike to reach the peak of one of the surroundings rocks. Days four and five were the WATER DAYS because we went deeper into the topics of our training. Not only we debated and explored various aspects of our connection with the environment and the interdependencies of our world, but participants also went into a process of working in teams and developing nature-oriented methods and tools to be used in their work with young people. Day six brought all the elements together and created the context for participants to develop their action plans regarding the steps they will take to integrate their learning in their work and daily lives.
These are few testimonials from some of the participants portraying the benefits of a nature-oriented approach in youth work:
In regard to environmental issues raised during numerous activities, I became more aware of the consequences on nature that humans create with their everyday habits. I've realized how relaxing and therapeutic hiking and spending time in nature can be.
I got some ideas of what I'd like to do with my teenage clients in social work, I got to know more about myself (regarding how I feel like while being in bigger groups all day, personal pleasure and preferences in forests, personal needs and borders) and I learned something about social interactions in groups of people with very different backgrounds.
This training course for me has been really amazing. I have learned not only to be more aware about nature resources, but even to see nature with different eyes, inside of me.
The Training for Nature project was organized by A.R.T. Fusion Association Romania and was made possible by involvement of our partners as well:
IDA Croatia, Asociacion Prorise Spain, Förderverein Offene Bildung Umwelt Kultur e.V. Germany, Nous Italy, Instituto Politécnico de Viseu Portugal, Asociacija Apkabink Europa Lithuania.
Local partner: Vox Juventutis, Tusnad Trustbuilding
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