#EFUF2021 Friday Morning live Guest Rooms – about Teaching and Learning in Nature

#EFUF2021 Friday Morning live Guest Rooms – about Teaching and Learning in Nature

From March to May 2021, the European Forum on Urban Forestry is organising a comprehensive programme with exciting speaker line-ups. Friday mornings, from April to May 2021, held a special surprise – EFUF2021 invited all tree lovers to start off their Friday mornings with an early bird get-together to listen to urban forestry stories told by a range of inspiring speakers. Click here to have a closer look at whom joined in.

All insights are made available as podcasts as well, which you can access easily through the myEFUF app. The free app is available for download from the App Store or Google Play and ready to guide urban forestry enthusiasts through a wide range of online events.

Do you want to listen in about environmental education, environmental campaigning, turning one's passions into reality and unique career paths in urban forestry? You can now also listen to the #EFUF2021 Friday Morning live Guest Room insights on Spotify - follow the myEFUF Urban Forestry Playlist here. How about tuning in while walking through your favourite nearby park or forest?

Kicking off the Friday Morning Live guest Rooms on April 9, Dr Urša Vilhar, research fellow at the Forest Ecology Department of the Slovenian Forestry Institute shed light on the importance of getting children and teenagers into the forests and emphasised the benefits of teaching and learning in nature. Dr Vilhar talked about experiences and results from the LIFE+ EMoNFUr project, which monitored urban forests in Milan and Ljubljana during a 3-year period. She further presented different activities and online resources that support learning activities in nature, looking at children and teenagers as opinion shapers and future decision-makers.

Many miraculous things happen in the big forest. So, walk slowly, listen up and keep your eyes wide open.

BigForest mobile app, developed in the frame of LIFEGENMON project

Dr Urša Vilhar

From teaching materials for teachers and educators, workshops for kindergartens and schools, open days for the general public, special events for families to children’s books and cartoons, online learning resources and outdoor activities designed for children with special education needs in the frame of Erasmus + project Green Learning Environments, Forest planetarium in the frame of the Interreg Danube project URBforDAN – Dr Vilhar showed that there are countless ways to engage children and adults with nature. Do you want to learn more?

We invite you to mark your calendar for the upcoming URBforDAN event to get to know solutions ready for transfer to your city - click here for more information and registration.

The Handbook for Learning and Play in the Forest

This resource is part of the Forest of Experiments collection of the Slovenian Forestry Institute and aims to connect activities with learning experiences through playing in nature. Designed for curious forest enthusiasts of all ages and those willing to gain more knowledge and experience about the manifold processes going on in forests, the handbook follows four main themes: Trees, forest animals, water and genetic diversity. A range of fun activities offer unique opportunities to dive into the forest with all senses and to adapt the learning process to the participants’ individual needs, following the principle of “flow learning”, which takes into account excitement of enthusiasm, focus of attention, direct experience and sharing of inspiration. Read more about the book here or download the PDF version.

Further readings and insights:

Photo Credits: Maja Bovcon

#EFUF2021 Friday Morning live Guest Rooms – about Teaching and Learning in Nature

Gender Equality in Urban Forestry – Reality or Utopia? (May 10)

On May 10, an international round of panellists joined online from Switzerland, Belgium and Canada to discuss about Gender Equality in Urban Forestry.

Access the full recording here.

Moderated by Jerylee Wilkes-Allemann (Bern University of Applied Sciences), the webinar focused on gender differences in the professional domain of forestry, arboriculture and other typical or less typical activities. Four panellists shared their insights with us:

The panellists discussed about the importance of empowerment for individuals and communities, role models, confidence building and workplace policies. After a vivid discussion and insightful comments from attendees around Europe sharing their personal experiences regarding gender equality in their daily working life, the panellists concluded that opening the discussion and enhancing visibility is crucial for further steps on the way to promoting gender equality.

Learn more about other exciting upcoming Urban Forestry events here:


#EFUF2021 Friday Morning live Guest Rooms – about Teaching and Learning in Nature

Under the trees, into the woods – International Summer School in Ghent, Belgium (August 19-27, 2021)

Deadline for Application: May 15, 2021

Worldwide, urbanised regions are looking for strategies to plant more trees and forests in order to enlarge the urban forest cover. In the light of climate change and the transition to resilient territories, there is a growing understanding of the importance of trees and forests for society.

Flanders (the northern part of Belgium) is one of the least forested areas in Europe and does not succeed in increasing the forest cover. It seems as if there is no space for more trees and forests in this urbanized region, characterized by an extensive urban sprawl and heterogeneous landscape where nearly every square metre of land is intensively occupied. Yet there is quite a lot of space where trees and forests can grow. However, this space often remains ‘invisible‘ because it is related to other types of land use or is ‘untouchable’ because of sectoral claims. There is, with other words, a need to find new spatial systems to intertwine more trees and forests within the built-up fabric.

The aim of the summer school is to explore possibilities and test concepts for tree and forest configurations in an urbanized territory. The focus will be on the interfaces between trees/forest and other types of land use. This means the interfaces where for example housing/working/food production/ mobility meet up and interact with trees and forest, where synergies can arise but ‘frictions‘ as well. Guiding principles are the spatial characteristics of trees and forests, process characteristics and the multitude of contributions that trees and forests provide to people (also refered to as ‘ecosystem services’). The focus will be on landscape-architectural and social-ecological aspects.

During the course of this summer school, a range of lectures of both international and local experts will ‘feed’ the design process. A reader, together with a Treescape Atlas of the study area and a Treescape Catalogue will be provided to the participants before the start of the summer school.

The summer school is linked to the ongoing Treescape research project, focusing on the exploration of new strategies and concepts to intertwine trees and forests in urbanized territories.

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash


Drs. Bjoke Carron, Prof. Hans Leinfelder, Prof. Jos Van Orshoven (KU Leuven)

With contributions and supervision of Martine De Maeseneer (KU Leuven/ MDMA), Prof. Marta Labastida (University of Minho). Other supervisors and lectures of (international) experts are to be confirmed.


Arrival: before August 19th 2021 Summer school: August 19th-27th 2021

Departure: after August 27th 2021

Application and deadline

Eligible for participation are all (international) master students, recent graduates and young researchers in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Urban Design or Urban Planning and Forestry.

Deadline for application: May 15th 2021

Confirmation of acceptance: May 31st 2021

Interested candidates should send their CV, a motivation letter (maximum 300 words in English), including maximum 3 images (150 dpi), to bjoke. carron@kuleuven.be.


Students enrolled in programmes at participating universities: no registration fee. The participation fee is 200 euros for students who are not connected to the KUL or the University of Minho, but that this amount could be (partly) dropped if the Summer School were to be (partly) online.

Given the current condition of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, all summer schools are currently organized with prejudice.

For more information, contact: bjoke.carron@kuleuven.be.

Check out the project’s Facebook page:


#EFUF2021 Friday Morning live Guest Rooms – about Teaching and Learning in Nature

EFUF digital developments

Written by Clive Davies, Convenor of EFUF International Steering Group, EFI, Newcastle University, MD2 Consulting Ltd

Photo by Vitaly Vlasov on Pexels

In translations of Plato’s, The Republic, the philosopher says that

“a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve the problem”. 

This neatly describes the position that the EFUF international steering group found itself in 2020 when due to COVID-19 the 23rd annual EFUF meeting set for Manchester, UK, had to be cancelled. Perhaps with good foresight, the steering group also thought that the prospects for a ‘present in person’ EFUF in 2021 seemed risky too, which has turned out to be the case. There was concern that unless efforts were made to keep EFUF active during the pandemic, future Forum meetings would be in jeopardy. In the autumn of 2020, EFUF steering group member Bianca Baerlocher proposed the development of a digital platform for EFUF that would provide the opportunity for an on-line Forum to take place in 2021. An editorial steering group was set up to steer this development. The steering group was delighted that the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Fachhochschule Graubünden University of Applied Sciences and ArboCityNet took up the challenge of developing a digital platform based on an application called MyEFUF. This was launched in March 2021. MyEFUF is linked to EFUF’s other digital outlets, including the website and social media accounts. 

Photo: ArboCityNet

The myEFUF application is the portal to EFUF’s 2021 digital semester, which features a wide range of activities and events. In March, the opening event called ‘Urban Forestry Days’ with support from a range of organisations, including the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Horizon 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project, attracted a large international audience not only in Europe but globally. The EFUF 2021 semester continues until the end of May, but the platform will continue throughout the year, for example, an event in June 2021 is already well developed. The platform also includes a marketplace for partner events (please use it) and an ability to share posters and other digital content. More information about the app and how to download it can be found here. In summary, there are a wide range of upcoming events, and if a mobile app is not your favourite platform, these can also be accessed at https://efuf.org/programme/

Having started the digital platform, there are other interesting and exciting developments planned, which will be shared through EFUF’s social media in due course. The good news is that whilst the digital platform provides an opportunity for EFUF’s network to stay in touch, we plan to have a present in person forum again in May 2022. Look out for announcements on myEFUF and www.efuf.org

#EFUF2021 Friday Morning live Guest Rooms – about Teaching and Learning in Nature

The White Rose Forest: Nature Recovery through a transdisciplinary and multicultural Community Approach

Written by Prof Dr Alan Simson, Chair of the WRF Governance Committee and the WRF Steering Committee

Broughton Sanctuary – a White Rose Forest Project. Credit: Broughton Hall Estate

The White Rose Forest (WRF) was initially launched in the City of Leeds on Yorkshire Day – 1st August – in 2000. Set up as a West Yorkshire Regeneration Initiative, it aims to encourage economic investment and human health and well-being through environmental improvement, in particular through the planting of trees. The WRF has now expanded to include North Yorkshire, and thus now covers an area of some 9424 km².

A Community Forest is a place with a Forestry Plan, and a partnership to deliver that plan. We therefore work in partnership with local authorities, landowners, businesses and communities to plant millions of trees in our urban centres and countryside that will help manage flood risk, combat climate change, create jobs and provide happier and healthier places for us all to live, love, work in and enjoy. The WRF engages with five specific planting zones, comprising the urban forest, the sub-urban forest, the peri-urban forest, the ex-urban forest (commute areas) and rural woodland.

Broughton Sanctuary Community Tree Planting, Credit: Broughton Hall Estate

Each zone requires a specific design approach, and the ex-urban areas are coming under increased pressure to expand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the shift of employment and habitation away from town and city centres to ‘greener’ localities.

WRF activity is transdisciplinary and adopts a multi-cultural community approach. Get to know the three prime themes running at the moment:

  • Green Streets: Improving the design of urban streets by reducing traffic, increasing urban green especially street trees and providing better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists;
  • Landscapes for Water: Planting trees in the right places to help slow the flow of surface water into streams and rivers, thus helping to prevent urban flooding downstream;
  • Trees for Learning: Working with schools and community groups to promote the concept of urban forestry, enhancing the process of widening and deepening community involvement and connection to the planning, planting and management of their trees and woodland.

WRF planted approaching 2 million trees to date. Once these trees are established, they will also store significant quantities of carbon and help to deliver the Government’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2050.

Credit: WTML

The WRF is one of four Community Forests in the north of England working together to create the Northern Forest. The Northern Forest was set up by the UK Government in January 2018 as an environmental counterpart to their Northern Powerhouse Strategy, aiming to plant in excess of 50 million trees by 2032 to significantly increase the canopy cover of the region, and to improve the quality of life there for both people and wildlife. The Government has set up a Nature for Climate fund, which has earmarked £12.1 million (over €14 million) for tree planting this season, led by the Community Forests, and the White Rose Forest has benefitted from received £3.7 million (over €4.29 million) from this fund to plant 218 ha of new woodland this season, which has also enabled WRF to increase staff by three.

A Current White Rose Forest Project: Broughton Sanctuary, Broughton Hall Estate

Broughton Sanctuary at Broughton Hall, an estate some 30 km north-west of the City of Leeds, has become home to the largest tree planting scheme to take place in England this season. WRF has planted 160 ha of resilient woodland between December 2020 and April 2021 – the equivalent of 224 football pitches. Tree species have been selected to meet the objectives of biodiversity and to offer maximum resilience to climate change. The genetic provenance of the native species used were carefully considered prior to planting. The woodland area comprises 57% of high to medium forest; 28% of medium forest to scrub (no more than 20% of which are scrub species) and 15% of open ground. The tree planting marks the beginning of an ambitious nature recovery programme that will transform one third of this 1200 ha estate into a much wilder state, thus increasing biodiversity and wildlife. As well as tree planting, early interventions to kickstart the recovery process will include the natural regeneration of trees, scrub and grasslands, the creation and restoration of wetland habitats and sensitive woodland management.

The project has generated considerable media interest, having been featured in five national newspapers, and has appeared on Channel 4 News in the UK. WRF tried to get the title of the video changed – it isn’t the biggest tree planting operation ever undertaken in England – only the biggest undertaken this season. Guess that’s the media for you!

“We surely have to wake up to the fact that respecting and supporting nature has to be a high priority on the ground now. Our lack of a harmonious existence with the Earth is causing the extinction of species across the globe, as well as a deep lack of belonging for humanity […]. We believe that the change we need to see will come through the union of rewilding our ‘outer nature’, such as the nature recovery and rewilding project at Broughton, along with the rewilding of our ‘inner nature’, which perhaps has been the root cause of deforestation and degradation of nature in England. Our health and future as a species depend on the holistic health of our land […]. We are enormously grateful to everyone who has been involved in our nature recovery project so far. A huge thank you to the White Rose Forest, Defra, Kirklees Council and the Environment Agency.”

Roger Tempest, the custodian of the Broughton Hall Estate, and his partner Paris Ackrill, co-founder of Avalon Wellbeing

Community Tree-Planting at Broughton Sanctuary, Credit: Broughton Hall Estate

“We are committed to tree planting and natural regeneration on an unprecedented scale, and part of that will be a major focus on regenerating land alongside our watercourses. The benefits of doing so are vast, from helping biodiversity recover and absorbing carbon, to slowing the flow of surface water and reducing the risks of floods downstream. The rewilding of Broughton Sanctuary is a fantastic example of this, helping to plant trees where they are needed most and offering vital protection from flooding for communities all along the River Aire”.

Lord Goldsmith, UK Government Forestry Minister

Finally…The successful delivery of this project during a particularly challenging planting season has been achieved through close collaboration between Broughton Sanctuary, the White Rose Forest Delivery Team and the Forestry Commission. The new woodland forms part of WRF’s Landscape for Water Programme, that aims to reduce flood risk for urban areas close to major rivers and waterways in North and West Yorkshire, whilst also improving local water quality, biodiversity and recreational opportunities for local communities. The White Rose Forest is proud to support the Broughton Sanctuary in delivering this hugely important project that will help to protect our environment and the local communities along the River Aire, including Leeds. Broughton Sanctuary joins local authorities across Yorkshire in the leadership they have shown in responding to the climate emergency. Thanks to the support we have received from the Government and businesses, the White Rose Forest has never been in a better position to support this response by working with landowners, communities and fellow professionals across the region to plant trees and to deliver the essential long-term environmental and community benefits they can bring.