ACT!
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Experience nature!

Discovering the forest near Göttingen through a special tour

 

University of Göttingen

Project Team:

Sarah von Hardenberg, Christoph Kohlmann, Björn Zengerling

Evaluation Team:

Prof. Hans-Dieter Haller, Leena Freitag, Jutta List-Ivancovic

Abstract/Summary:

Near Goettingen there exists an adventure trail through the forest to experience nature built by the forestry office in the late nineties. The tour consists of 13 stages where people get different information and tasks. The visitors acquire knowledge about the flora and fauna on their own through thinking, solving a riddle or discovering something. The aim is to experience nature with a high amount of mental and physical activity and with all senses.

In the project a group of students took a walk through the forest following the tour. The students had to find the way and discovered and experienced nature.

Rationale/Background:

The aim of the tour is to bring nature closer to the people. The visitors should experience the forest through discovering it with all their senses. This experience can sensitize them for the ecosystem forest and the relations between man and nature.

Protecting and appreciating nature is a collective responsibility of all citizens. Several studies show that awareness and knowledge about the relevance and function of the forest for a sustainable future of human kind are disappearing more and more. Projects like the guided tour can counter this development by stimulating environmental awareness.

Target Group and Context:

  • Students from Goettingen studying different subjects.
  • The group consisted of six people between 21 and 25 years old.
  • Their previous knowledge about the forest near Goettingen varied as well as the interest to discover nature.

Objectives:

  • Discovering the flora and fauna near Goettingen
  • Providing an understanding of the ecological system forest
  • Raising awareness of the relationship between man and nature
  • Experiencing nature with all senses
  • Promotion of environmental responsibility

Informal Learning Activities:

The students took part in an excursion to the forest near Trendsetting An adventure trail guided them through the forest. The students had to find 13 stages where they got different tasks such as listening, discovering, jumping. They were ask to find the way on their own and to stay together in the group. They needed to communicate and cooperate with their colleagues to choose directions and to understand the different stages.

Evaluation:

  • <b>Leading questions of the evaluation were:</b>
  • What do the participants learn when they discover the forest with the tour?
  • Which competencies will be promoted through the project?
  • How must a tour through the forest be designed to stimulate learning?
  • The project was evaluated by the project team via questionnaires before and after the tour. The project leaders accompanied the group through the forest, took notes and they also filmed the tour. The results were analysed and transferred to the IAS-system with support of the evaluation team.
  • <b>The evaluation focused on the topics:</b>
  • Knowledge about environment and nature
  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Ecological awareness
  • Getting and using information

Results:

The project was received well by the students. They had fun to discover the forest with the group and the communication and cooperation was very good. They gained knowledge about some animals and experienced nature with all their senses.

The evaluation with the IAS-system showed that learning took place in some fields, but the tour did not have a very high impact on the ecological awareness or the knowledge about environment and nature in general nor on the communication and cooperation skills of the participants. The students reported that the tour was a nice experience, but it did not have a great impact on their relationship to nature or the flora and fauna near Goettingen. For a greater impact the tour could be integrated in other learning activities or it should be repeated (e.g. regular walk through the forest). Nevertheless the tour was a success and the students enjoyed it.