Bělský Les teaching centre and Forest School
Ostrava’s forest and parks management company (Ostravské městské lesy a zeleň, s.r.o.) runs a special educational centre called the Forest School, which aims to raise public awareness of all aspects of forest ecosystems.
The programme provides a fully immersive sensory experience to help participants understand forests, as well as encouraging children to take a closer interest in woodlands and promoting eco-friendly behaviour in general.
Children learn about how forests function as crucial ecosystems and an essential part of the natural world in all its biodiversity. They also learn about how wood is a sustainable (renewable) resource with a huge number of possible uses. Activities are interspersed with periods of quiet and meditation, helping children to appreciate woodland environments with all their senses. Children can experience barefoot walking through forest dew, feel the difference between leaves and other components of the forest floor, walk over stones and woodchips, play blind man’s buff, and find their “own” tree purely using their sense of touch. They also listen to the unique woodland sounds, comparing the sounds in different parts of the forest during the course of an entire morning. There are activities helping children to understand the various interconnections that make up the total ecosystem, learn about the lives and behaviour of forest animals, and much more. The programme combines, sensory, knowledge-based, creative and movement-type activities which allow children to develop their natural creativity. They can also create images, collages and small structures for other visitors to admire.
Part of the teaching programme takes place at a former brownfield site next to the forest, which was revitalized for this purpose (including the planting of new greenery).
For more information on the Forest School and other activities run by Ostrava’s forest and parks management company, see its website.