FEE Global Action Days 2017

During November 6-12, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) once again invited everyone around the world to participate in promoting their work through FEE Global Action Days.

The Global Action Days are meant to be for all students, teachers and communities around the world to actively share their activities towards being more sustainable in their everyday lives.

On 10 November, the FEE Head Office staff gathered to collect all the inspiring and positive actions from across the world and shared them on all our social media platforms, promoting sustainable development and awareness-raising activities.


During the Eco-Schools National Operators Meeting that took place in Paris from November 17-20, International LEAF Director, Barry McGonigal, introduced the GAD initiative and presented the results from the sharing actions performed by the FEE Head Office during November 10.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram results after the first GAD in November 10.

The next FEE Global Action Days will take place during 16-22 April, 2018. Save the dates and plan your actions for next year’s #FEEGAD!

Until then, you can join our Facebook group to stay up-to-date!

Treslag i Norge: Identify tree species with this new app


Tree species in Norway (Treslag i Norge) is an application that allows you to identify the most common tree species in Norway. The target group is pupils and the explanations are therefore based on images, and not so much on words. The app is meant as an aid throughout the whole year. The species are presented with a complete set of pictures from all four seasons: buds, leaves, flowers, fruit, bark and branches, in addition to the whole tree.


You may also identify your tree by using identification keys. Two different keys have been developed, one for the leaves in summer and one for the buds in winter. Not everyone is familiar with the biological terms of leaf and bud identification, therefore each choice is illustrated.

This tree identification app was developed by the Forestry Extension Institute in Norway. It is available for free on mobile phones and tablets for both Android and iOS operating systems.

The language of the application is Norwegian but can still be used by others, due to the many images and illustrations. As an aid, a short instruction manual in English has been made. You can download it by clicking here.

LEAF Trinidad and Tobago Kicks Off


Two schools in Trinidad have applied to complete the LEAF programme in accordance with the LEAF cycle. Asclepius Green launched the LEAF programme in 2015 and has facilitated several LEAF related activities in five schools over the two years. Now, Asclepius Green is happy to welcome the University School and Fast Learners Academy into the full cycle of the LEAF programme. So far, both school have participated in the LEAF workshops geared towards orienting teachers and parents about the LEAF methodology, how to set up the forest committee and how to record and enter data required for the LEAF application. The participants came up with creative and innovative ways of engaging the students in activities throughout the entire year using Math, Science, Social Studies and Arts.

Fast Learners Academy will implement the programme using one class as the pilot focusing on Energy and Recycling.

The University School has expressed their delight in participating in the LEAF program because of their commitment to enlightened and self-reliant children and believe having moral and cultural values produce caring and nurturing members of society. What is also special about the University School is the entire student population will participate in the LEAF cycle for the entire year. For the tree planting exercise on September 21, there were over 303 students, teachers and parents participating. The school had a Special Assembly and Ceremony that comprised of tree planting, formation of the peace sign, prayer, and singing the Jackson Miller classic "Let there be peace on Earth".

In Tobago, LEAF National Coordinator joined the Secretary for the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment and former President of Junior Chambers International (JCI) Tobago Chapter, Councillor Kwesi Des Vignes and the current JCI President, Ms Brettney Romeo and the two Tobago schools, Bishops High School and Tobago International Academy, to celebrate the annual symbolic event. 

Asclepius Green would like to take this moment to specially thank the two Forestry Divisions for assisting us in locating the tress and thanks to Semaphore Signs BV in the Netherlands for donating the LEAF promotional materials to Trinidad and Tobago in an effort to create programme visibility and increase participation in FEE programmes.


Fifth Graders Explore the World – a new learning resource is coming to schools

Here it is! The long-awaited toolkit for fifth grade pupils (aged 10-11) called "Under the Sky of the Earth" has just been sent to more than 320 schools which are involved in LEAF in Czechia.


And what can pupils and teachers look forward to? The annual plan of learning activities is again accompanied by six students from a fictional Forest Class. Their characters were made to reflect six common student types according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, so we really see students identify with some of the types, which keeps them motivated.

Pupils can enjoy a lot of new discoveries and experiments, especially outdoors in nature. They will recognize various forms of the forest in different climate zones, discover new continents, taste food that grows in forests around the world and understand how plants and animals adapt to different conditions. They will observe selected habitats of our mild climate zone and compare it to other areas, play with evolution, and finally make a picnic full of exotic as well as home grown fruits.

"In this new toolkit we´re showing pupils the diversity of nature on different examples. We want to stimulate their curiosity" says Jan Fronek, national LEAF coordinator.

What research has shown

Before this resource was published, it had been tested on approximately 200 children in 10 selected schools during one school year. It also included learning impact evaluation, which showed that there was a measurable increase in pupils' understanding of the phenomenon of adapting organisms to different conditions.

"The children were incredibly excited  and I saw they wanted to know more," says Katka Vrtiskova, a teacher who tested the toolkit with her pupils during the last school year.

South Africa is the 26th country joining Learning about Forest programme


We are delighted to announce that LEAF's presence globally is still increasing!

Foundation for Environmental Education's member organisation Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa will officially run the LEAF programme in South Africa.

Welcome to the LEAF network!

WESSA implements effective environmental, ecotourism, education and youth development programmes throughout South Africa. The organisation improves the school curriculum through education for sustainable development and provide critical work skills training, which creates job opportunities and sustainable livelihoods in local communities. WESSA's environmental initiatives contribute towards the restoration of ecosystems, while its ecolabels support tourism growth and development by encouraging responsible tourism practices and the improved management of coastline.

Learning about Forests Programme is now present in 26 countries around the world!

Find all LEAF National Offices on our website.

Forest Games 2017 in Norway

Norway has recently completed its first national Forest Games. The Forest Games is a competition in forest knowledge and outdoor activities, where all fifth grade pupils are invited to participate. Hundred schools throughout the entire country signed up, involving 2550 pupils. The first rounds were performed in the forests nearby the participating schools. Pupils participated in various activities, solved riddles and submitted reports with documentation of what they have done, found and learned. Many of the reports were made in a very beautiful and creative way, showing that the nature had inspired the classes. Based on these reports, 17 county winners qualified for the final.

On June 14, the final competition was held at the National Forest Museum. Each team was formed by four pupils. Without assistance of any kind, they had to complete various tasks. The pupils were tested in their knowledge of tree species, flora, insects, birds and bird sounds, animal tracks, wooden products, and waste management. In addition, their practical skills were tested, as they for instance had to shoot with air guns, tie a fly for fly fishing, row a boat, and make a bonfire.

In other words, winning the Forest Games required versatile skills in forest knowledge and outdoor life. Becoming the best school also required good cooperation within the team, and creativity.

The Forest Games is a collaboration between Forestry Extension Institute, Hamar Nature School, National Forest Museum, and Norwegian Forestry Society. The purpose is to increase the knowledge about forests and forestry among both pupils and teachers. Further, the goal is to give teachers ideas and inspiration to increase outdoor learning at school.

1 million children set to venture into the great outdoors

Teachers worldwide unite to reconnect students with the world beyond walls

Press Release by Project Dirt on Outdoor Classroom Day

Monday 15 May 2017: Over 1 million children in more than 8,000 schools around the world will step outside on Thursday 18 May and embrace the great outdoors, setting a new record for the Outdoor Classroom Day campaign. In the UK alone there are well over 400,000 children getting involved from Penzance to Shetland!

Project Dirt, the NGO that is leading the campaign globally, says it will be the highest number of youngsters ever to get outdoors on the day as part of a concerted global effort to make outdoor learning and play a cornerstone of every child’s day, and represents a new chapter in thousands of schools around the world.

The UK is the front-runner of the campaign and leading the way with nearly half a million children in over 3,000 schools signed up and ready to take part. From den-building and bioblitzing, to practising maths with stones and reading under trees, the day will see teachers take at least one class outdoors and help children embrace their nearby natural environments.

The last 30 years has seen a dramatic and steady decline in the amount of time children spend outdoors. A Public Health England study found that 50 percent of around 1.5 billion visits to parks and green spaces in England in 2015 involved a walk with a dog, but only nine percent of those were with a child. It also found that 12% of children (c 1.3 million) had never visited the natural environment in the previous 12 month period.1

The campaign is highlighting that not only does time outdoors improve children's health, wellbeing and happiness, it also gives them a strong connection to the natural world; a connection that is crucial if the next generation are to be the future guardians of our planet.

Richard Louv, the acclaimed author of The Nature Principle, invites us in a recent essay to imagine a world “where every school has a natural space where children experience the joy of learning through play once again. Where teachers are encouraged to take their students on field trips to the nearby woods and canyons and streams and shores. Where educators feel their own sense of hope and excitement returning to their profession and to their own hearts.”2

Nick Gardner, CEO and co-founder of of Project Dirt, and an environmental campaigner for over two decades, is worried. “Children will only grow up to protect the environment if they love it. They will only love it if they go outdoors regularly. That’s one key objective for Outdoor Classroom Day, to inspire schools worldwide to join together to make the outdoors part of every day!”

He added: “There’s still time to join the movement. Teachers, parents and anyone who cares about childhood and the future of our planet, can register their class to go outdoors on Thursday.”

To sign up, visit www.outdoorclassroomday.com

The campaign is led globally by Project Dirt and supported by Unilever’s Dirt is Good brands.




For more information, images or to request interviews please contact Olivia Pullman:

E: olivia@outdoorclassroomday.com M: 07792 919 314



1.    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/498944/mene-childrens-report-years-1-2.pdf

2.    http://www.childrenandnature.org/2017/05/03/imagine-a-newer-world/



Notes to editors

About Outdoor Classroom Day

Outdoor Classroom Day is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. It is encouraging schools worldwide to make outdoor learning and play part of every day.

In 2017, there are three key campaign dates: on May 18, 2017, the focus is on Europe, the USA, Canada and South America. On the day, thousands of schools will take lessons outside and prioritise playtime.

About Project Dirt

Project Dirt aims to resource thousands of grassroots community projects, and to capture and share the stories of those achievements. Its online platform enables successful relationships to be formed between the business and community sectors.  Project Dirt's mission is to create a vibrant and active online community where individuals, communities, companies and local authorities can share knowledge, advice, best practice and access resources.

About Dirt is Good

Dirt is Good (DiG) is the campaign supported by Unilever’s leading detergent brands including OMO, Persil, Skip and Via, sold in over 78 markets. We believe that by getting dirty, children develop, learn and grow through rich memory-making experiences. These experiences often come in the form of ‘real play’: play that is free, exploratory and sometimes messy, allowing children to enjoy the present and thrive in the future. Our vision is to create a play-friendly world so that all children everywhere can experience play every day.

VIDEO: The story of the Tiny Forests in the Netherlands

More than fifty percent of the world’s population lives in an urban environment. Tiny Forests and trees in the city help the urban population to stay connected to nature while improving their lives with better air quality and lower instances of flooding.

Our member organisation in the Netherlands IVN has a significant experience in planting and maintaining Tiny Forests. 

Watch the video about the creation of the first Tiny Forest in the Netherlands.

Find out more about Tiny Forests in the Netherlands here


Latvia's Forest Olympians compete in Tērvete

Is forest increasing more that it is being harvested? Can lady tights be made out of wood? Which are pine and which are spruce seeds?

This year, teams of the final of Forest Olympics had to show their strength in two rounds – in the active and educational orienteering competition and in the presentation of creative performance. To participants’ minds the most memorable tasks from the 30 in the orienteering competition were the riddles in the Witch's Forest of the Nature Park, sawing the birch disc to precise 400 grams, and also recognising products that contain wood, which surprised not only children but also teachers with the wide possibilities of wood use.

To find out more about this wonderful event, please read the full report here.

Learning about Forests National Operators Meeting dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals and Tiny Forests

The Learning about Forests National Operators meeting 2017 took place on 24th-26th April in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The LEAF NOM is an annual event where the status and developments of the LEAF programme are discussed alongside innovations in the sector and plans for the future.

The LEAF NOM 2017 was hosted by FEE's Dutch member, IVN, and was underpinned by two main themes:

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - The role of Foundation for Environmental Education in promoting the SDGs worldwide with specific emphasis on what can be achieved through the LEAF programme.
  • Tiny Forests -The importance of urban forests and trees to battle climate change and stimulate biodiversity.

A concise document linking the LEAF programme to each and every SDG will be circulated soon and will include the insightful feedback which arose over what was an extremely productive few days.

The Tiny Forests initiative was very well received by the participants and there was a firm consensus that the LEAF programme should look towards integrating the concept into its plans for the future.

Thank you to everyone who made the event such a success through their active participation and engagement!

PRESS RELEASE: LEAF Global Action Days


Barry McGonigal, International LEAF Director | E: barry@fee.global
Karine Galstyan, International LEAF Assistant | E: karine@fee.global

Copenhagen, 17 March 2017

Time to act and help the environment! The Global Action Days is a campaign by the Foundation for Environmental Education's Learning about Forests programme that invites students and teachers to come up with innovative ideas that raise awareness, create positive change, help the environment and lead to a more sustainable future. These ideas are put into action on a chosen date each year, collectively known as Global Action Days.  Schools are invited to share their ideas for action and positive stories on our website and social media sites. 

Global Action Days are open to all! Schools and students both within and outside the FEE network are welcome to get involved. Join thousands of students around the globe and show that together we can make a difference!

Join us! 21 March, LEAF Global Action Day, to coincide with International Day of ForestsSchools are welcome to select another date to suit their needs. 

It’s all very simple! Plan your action, document the action by taking pictures, making a video or writing an article, register your school online and SHARE with the rest of the world on our Global Action Days Facebook page .

All the information on how to join this action can be found: http://www.leaf.global/about-gad

#LEAFGlobalActionDays #FEE #LEAF

Students Planting for the Future During Tree Week March 2017 in Ireland


Students from Carnane National School, Co. Limerick participating in An Taisce’s Learning about Forests (LEAF) programme celebrated Tree Week, Friday 10 March, at Coillte’s Curragh Chase Forest Park, Co. Limerick.

The LEAF programme explores forests as a whole and looks at topics such as biodiversity, water, climate change, products and community and actions students can undertake to help protect and enhance our forests. Rachel Geary, LEAF National Coordinator said ‘The team is thoroughly enjoying working with the schools, exploring how schools can engage with this exciting new programme in a meaningful and fun way’.

The programme also recognises the importance of tree planting and giving students the opportunity to sow seeds for the future.  An Taisce teamed up with the Tree Council of Ireland and Coillte to provide native saplings for Limerick schools participating on the LEAF programme and took part in a tree planting ceremony at the forest to celebrate Tree Week.

240 native saplings were distributed to 15 of the participating schools, in Co. Limerick, for planting in their schools grounds and the wider community during Tree Week. A further 60 saplings were planted in Coillte’s Curragh Chase Forest Park during Tree Week with three of the schools that visited the Curragh Chase for their Forest Based Workshops.  These interactive workshops aim to reconnect the students with their environment, educating them to be more conscious of protecting it and instilling in students a sense of ownership of the natural world that surrounds them.

Brendan Fitzsimons, CEO of the Tree Council of Ireland said ‘The Tree Council of Ireland are delighted to be associated with the LEAF programme. These LEAF students will remember planting a tree for National Tree Week every time they visit Coillte’s Curragh Chase Forest Park. Coillte have been donating trees for National Tree Week for many years, which is a tremendous help to the Tree Council of Ireland.’

This year the emphasis is on Coillte’s Curragh Chase Forest Park as a focal point for training and events in the region. The park, which is managed by Coillte, covers 313 hectares of mixed woodlands, park land and lakes which together provide a rich habitat for a diverse range of animals and plants.

Pat Neville, Coillte said ‘Coillte are very proud to be associated with An Taisce’s Learning about Forests programme and are delighted to offer our forest park in Curragh Chase as a venue for school children to learn more about forests and the natural environment in a wonderful outdoor setting’. 

From left; Kay Hartigan from The Tree Council of Ireland, Bernard Burke from Coillte, Rachel Geary, LEAF National Coordinator and Matt Kelleher from Mulkear Forestry.

From left; Kay Hartigan from The Tree Council of Ireland, Bernard Burke from Coillte, Rachel Geary, LEAF National Coordinator and Matt Kelleher from Mulkear Forestry.

LEAF Ireland would like to thank Coillte and the Tree Council of Ireland for their support. The LEAF Limerick project has been made possible with a grant from JS Greene Memorial Foundation.

Find out more about LEAF Ireland on their website.

More amazing pictures from Ireland can be found on Flickr.

Northern Ireland as 25th LEAF country

We are delighted to announce that Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA) will become affiliate member of Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and will run Learning about Forests (LEAF) programme in Northern Ireland.

LEAF now is present in 25 countries around the world!

NIFSA was set up as an independent charity organization in 2008. Since that NIFSA has worked with over 7.500 children and trained over 20 Forest School Leaders to a Level 3 standard. NIFSA has developed its own Forest School qualifications specially adapted for Northern Ireland. Forest Schools are an exciting and inspirational experience for children. They encourage them to work as a part of a team, explore all senses, develop communication skills and much more.

Welcome to the LEAF network!

LEAF Programme officially launched in USA

We are delighted to announce that LEAF's presence globally is still increasing with Foundation for Environmental Education's member organisation in United States, National Wildlife Federation (NWF), which will officially run the LEAF programme in USA. With NWF joined, USA is now 24th Learning About Forests country.

Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation is one of America’s oldest and most respected conservation education and advocacy organisations.

The NWF is a voice for wildlife, dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat and inspiring the future generation of conservationists. The National Wildlife Federation has a number of programs designed to inspire kids to get outdoors, help wildlife, and become more aware of the nature in their neighborhood and community.

The National Wildlife Federation is a full member of the Foundation for Environmental Education and it is also running Eco-Schools and the YRE programmes of FEE in USA.

Welcome to the LEAF network!




PRESS RELEASE: FEE and General Motors sign a Partnership Agreement to run the Pilot Year of the Eco-Green Project



Barry McGonigal, International LEAF Director | E: barry@fee.global
Karine Galstyan, International LEAF Assistant | E: karine@fee.global


Copenhagen, 27 January - The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and General Motors (GM) have signed a Sponsorship Agreement to build together a strong Global Environmental Educational Project. The project, name is Eco-Green Project, which be launched in Brazil February 2017 and in three other countries throughout the world (Germany, Poland and Spain) in September 2017.

The project aims to engage LEAF member countries alongside GM facilities in a drive to improve sustainability in local communities. Together they develop goals and action plans that result in on-the-ground school and community actions for a sustainable future. 

The emphasis will be on General Motor’s sustainability topics and FEE’s environmental educational programmes, and will include topics such as water, biodiversity, forests, healthy living and eco-system services. During the Pilot Year, the project will focus on the theme, Forests and Water. 

Objectives of the project

  • Ensure students learn to enjoy the outdoors, experience and observe
  • Increase awareness about Forests and Water and ensure students are capable of making decisions on environmental issues
  • Develop young people as advocates for conservation & promotion of local environmental and biodiversity actions – ensure students take responsibility for their future
  • Develop a project that is easy to apply to all types of educational facilities
  • Promote critical thinking by ‘learn by doing’ study approach
  • Select science based resources to allow teachers to promote environmental education activities

Who can participate? Schools will be selected by the National Operator in each of the participating countries.

If you are representing a school from one of the participating countries, and your school is interested in joining project, please contact your National Operator directly. Contact details can be found on LEAF or Eco-Schools websites on the 'Contact' page.

More information about the project can be found on the Eco-Green Project website.


LEAF activities in Hyogo, Japan


3rd grade elementary school students took part in several LEAF activities in Hyogo, Japan. Students participated in tree-planting activities, and learned how to set up a net for preventing animal injury.

Afterwards, students participated in a “memory game”. They had to memorize leaves, seeds and other forest items that the instructor picked. Then they were given a task to find the same items from the forest. Most of students didn't know about Konara oak (Quercus serrata) which is popular in Japan. They found out that the acorn is a nut of the Konara oak through the activity.

Few days later, the instructor received several letters from students. They were writing, that they look very much forward to seeing the Konara oak grow bigger and they are happy to be able to recognize KONARA tree now. Which shows that students are now interested in the forests and trees through the LEAF activities.

Thank you FEE Japan for sharing this story.

LEAF activities at Malta’s famous Buskett woodland

120 indigenous trees were planted at Buskett, Malta. In an event organised by the National Stakeholders committee of the LIFE project- Saving Buskett on behalf of the PARKS Directorate, 120 students from 6 schools planted; carob, oak, olive, pine and bay laurel at Malta’s main woodland.

The trees planted will form part of a wider initiative of an international NGO - ENO - Environment Online which is present in more than 150 countries through a virtual network of educators. ENO has made a commitment at the UN RIO+20 Summit of planting 100 million trees by the end of this year and the campaign has been running for the past five years.

The students also had the opportunity to engage in various hands-on educational sessions led by experts on various aspects of the woodland including: forest fires; woodland lichens; tree identification; scavenger hunt; the countryside code; tree age, girth and height and also plant pest control.

One of the highlights of the event was definitely the short tour around this unique and beautiful woodland. The PARKS Directorate has embarked on a very ambitious LIFE project; Saving Buskett. The project is co-financed by the EU LIFE+ Funding Programme under the Nature and Biodiversity priority area. The project commenced in July 2013 and is expected to be completed by May 2018. Since the project is at an advanced stage, the students could admire the meticulous work done by the PARKs personnel in the careful removal of alien species the building of rubble walls and reforestation by planting of indigenous trees.

The event was organised with the support of; Nature Trust FEE Malta, BirdLife Malta, Plant Health Directorate, Maths Support Unit, Civil Protection Department, Argotti Botanic Gardens-UOM, Ms Jennifer Fiorentino.

Further info can be obtained from: http://lifesavingbuskett.org.mt/ 
Interested schools in Malta can book a visit to Buskett by contacting Mr Neville Ebejer on email john-neville.ebejer@gov.mt to make the necessary arrangements.

LEAF Meeting with Teachers in Cyprus

A meeting focused on the Learning About Forests programme took place at  the EuroLife Office in Nicosia on 23 November 2016.

Most of the Teachers involved in the programme gathered from all over Cyprus and were welcomed by their hosts, EuroLife, and greeted by the Commissioner for the Environment and the Representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The National Operator, Dr Michael Ierides, outlined the programme for the year 2016-2017 and presented the materials from the Forestry Department. 

As this year’s LEAF theme is Forest and Water, Mrs Maria Postekki from the Water development Department made a presentation and handed out informational materials for the current theme. Finally, a wonderful booklet of forest activities was distributed to the teachers, which was warmly welcomed!

A competition to create a collage from fallen leaves from a forest was announced, with a prize of an overnight stay in a forest for the whole class, titled “a night in the forest”.

On 28 November 2016 a Press Conference was organised to announce the support of EuroLife to Learning About Forests programme in Cyprus within its Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

LEAF Teacher Training Courses in Japan


At the request of local authorities, other organisations and forest related companies, FEE Japan organised several teacher training courses.

During the two day course, FEE Japan introduced the concept of LEAF and some activities related to the programme.

Participants also discovered different values of the forest and had an opportunity to be a LEAF instructor. Each participant facilitated a LEAF activity, while the rest of the group took part in it.

One of the participants introduced the “Look for colours of Autumn” game. It is most suitable for primary school children.

Firstly, children are asked to collect “Autumn colours” and sort them in umbrellas. At the end of the activity all the leaves are mixed in one umbrella and an “Autumn shower” is made! The activity allows children to discover the forest through it’s different colours and species.

These training courses were very successful and FEE Japan is planning to start implementing them yearly.

ENO Plant A Tree For Peace Day

The event took place on 21st September to coincide with the United Nations 'World Peace Day'. It is part of a global campaign which invites children all over the world to focus on environmental issues, fostering an appreciation of peace and increasing the awareness of school children about the importance of trees and forests on a global scale.

The planting of trees symbolise hope and the continuity of life. This year the LEAF network was extremely well-represented with 169 tree-planting activities taking place involving some 6672 students, teachers and community members. While the global figures have yet to be released, in total the LEAF network alone planted a staggering 2390 trees: congratulations to all involved!!

Find out more about the initiative here.