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This autumn UPM is organizing forest trips for 6th grade primary school students in five different cities where UPM mills are situated in Finland. The aim is to provide students positive forest experiences and tell information about sustainable use of forests. On excursions called “Commercial forest – Development and sustainable use” students will get familiar with the commercial and recreational use of the forests, wildlife management and the end products from the forest. 28 different schools and approximately 1200 students and teachers are expected to attend to the excursions.
The excursions are organized together with Finnish Forest Association and The Finnish 4H organization in Jämsä, Kouvola, Lappeenranta, Pietarsaari and Rauma. “Forest trips are special experiences for students and the trips support children’s learning and understanding of the forest nature”, says Inka Musta, Environmental Manager of UPM Wood Sourcing and Forestry. “Forests and the products from wood belong to our everyday life and we would like to increase the respect of forest and wood as renewable material.”
UPM has organized similar excursions also in 2017 and 2018. The most memorable moments for students have been planting seedlings, stories about wildlife experiences and having a picnic lunch by the campfire. For many students, the school day in the forest has been a refreshing change, and for some it might have been even their first forest trip experience.
Expert of the youth communications in Finnish Forest Association, Suvi Pessala tells, that the content of the excursions supports the curriculum of the primary schools’ environmental studies. The themes in the curriculum are e.g. the sustainable usage of the nature resources, the useful utilization of the forests, biodiversity, climate change and its mitigation. “These topics are studied in the 6th grade. This year, the climate change as a topic has also been introduced more strongly on excursions. The students start with basic facts: For example, how the trees catch the carbon during photosynthesis? Together with students we try to find carbon sinks but also sources of carbon in the forest.
Forest trips are part of UPM’s Biofore Share and Care programme. The programme focuses on projects that are relevant to both UPM’s business and responsibility goals. The focus areas are: Reading & Learning, Engaging with communities, Responsible water use and Boosting bioinnovations.