International Day of Forests celebrated in Finnish schools and day care centres by sowing trees
On 21 March, the International Day of Forests, children celebrate by flexing their green thumbs. The My Tree project has sent seeds of Scots pine to day care centres and schools for 30 years in a row.
The My Tree sowing project helps children grow tree seedlings on the windowsills in day care centres, schools and clubhouses.
‘The International Day of Forests in March is just the right time for sowing. In the forests, too, March and April are the time when pines scatter their seeds, as the spring sun and winds dry the cones so they pop open on the branches,’ says Anne Turunen, Communication Specialist (Forest Pedagogics), who is in charge of the My Tree project at the Finnish Forest Association.
Turunen says that pine seeds also serve as excellent learning material for larger learning modules. Every spring, the feedback from day care centres and schools tells about eager children keen to learn more.
Thirtieth sowing project in a row
The My Tree project, run by the Finnish Forest Association, started in the early 1990s and has steadily gained in popularity. This spring saw a record number of seeds ordered and delivered. They will be sown by 20,000 children in more than 500 schools, day care centres and clubs.
The seeds for the project are donated by Siemen Forelia, a company specialising in forest tree seeds, and the advisory and consulting company Tapio. The cooperation partners include Tapio, the ‘Forest Troll’ counsellors of the Outdoor Association of Finland, as well as the corresponding activity in Finlands Svenska Idrott [Swedish Sports in Finland]. The project organization tasks are financed by the Finnish Forest Foundation.
Even after the great sowing spree, the My Tree project continues in the day care centres and schools. By early summer, a tiny seedling has sprung up in the pot and will be planted out in the open, for pines do not thrive indoors.
If all the little trees sown by the children in the project would continue to grow and were re-planted side by side, they would make a forest of 15 hectares.