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Browsing by Author "Pulkkinen, Mira"

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  • Pulkkinen, Mira (2020)
    The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze children’s relationship to the forest. Forest relationship of Finns has been a lively debate in recent years, and there is a debate about what kind of forest relationships Finns have. Studies have shown concern about the distance between children and nature – children's freedom of movement has narrowed, children's leisure time has become more adult-led indoors, and concerns have been raised about children's poor skills in identifying plant species. The theoretical starting points of this study are in environmental education. I examine the forest relationship through the observed, experienced and shared dimensions. The material of this study consist of the writings and drawings of Helsinki's fifth-graders about their memories in the forest. Thirteen students participated in the study. All participants in the study and their guardians were asked for written permission to participate in the study. The material was analyzed according to phenomenographic analysis. The research results show that the forest relationship of children is multidimensional. The stories of the fifth-graders emphasize the experienced (subjective) and shared (social and cultural) meanings of the forest. Demonstration of observed (scientific) knowledge was emphasized only in some reports. Forest memories are often made possible by adults, but also independent interaction with the environment are sought in the forest. The forest is described and valued through personal meanings. The forest is used for leisure and being together with others. The results show that environmental education deserves special attention, especially in the areas of environmental information and environmental protection. Not all students’ forest memories convey a knowledgeable, close, and caring relationship to the forest. More up-to-date research data on the state of children's forest relations are needed to develop environmental education.