Absolutely, we know our forests! We have just received the “Forest Experts” award from the German Forest Protection Association.
Do you enjoy observing the lively activity on the butterfly bush? Our forest children, soon to be forest experts, can explain the connection to you. As part of the “Waldkönner” (Forest Experts) program by the German Forest Protection Association, they approached the stinging nettle from all sides – fearlessly, and without gloves. The children know how to pluck the leaves without getting burned, and if something goes wrong, they quickly find the antidote at the roadside: the ribwort plantain. But what’s the deal with the butterflies?
During their journey, the children discovered caterpillars on the stinging nettles, which they examined closely under a magnifying glass. Through the story of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” they learned that these caterpillars later transform into butterflies, in this case, the peacock butterfly. Stinging nettles are not only the primary food source for caterpillars of this kind but also vital for biodiversity and the ecological cycle. The children realized that no stinging nettles mean no butterflies (and no tasty stinging nettle chips). Thus, the plant is indispensable for the diversity of species and the ecological balance.
This is precisely what the Waldkönner program is all about: “Show commitment – Protect forests and climate together.” The project is dedicated to preserving our forests, fostering early experiences in nature to cultivate mindfulness and understanding of ecological connections. Although we are in nature every day at the forest kindergarten, we still wanted to participate in this program because merely being outdoors does not automatically equate to education for sustainable development. The sought-after certification constantly gives us the opportunity to impart environmental knowledge deliberately in our daily activities.
Since spring 2021, we have been completing various modules and have now collected enough points for the award. Alongside training for the team and a parent evening on the topic of “Education for Sustainable Development,” the regular educational work with the active participation of the children is essential. Their interest shapes the topics that allow us to vividly demonstrate the relationship between the forest and the climate. If we get chips and stinging nettle salt as gifts for parents – even better, then everyone benefits. Just like from forest and climate protection!
Learn more about the program: