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International Day of Forests 2023

What is International Day of Forests 2023?

The International Day of Forests is celebrated on 21 March each year to raise awareness about the importance of forests and their role in sustaining life on Earth. This date was proclaimed as the International Day of Forests by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, and since then, the event has taken place yearly, highlighting the need to protect our natural environments.

Forests are more than just a collection of trees. They are complex ecosystems that are home to countless species of plants and animals. Forests perform important jobs in maintaining important chemical and ecological balances by filtering water, purifying the air we breathe, and regulating the climate. They are also a source of livelihood for millions of people around the world, providing food, fuel, and medicine.

However, despite their importance, forests are facing numerous threats – something which International Day of Forests 2023 looks to highlight. Deforestation, illegal logging, and forest degradation are some of the most significant issues that forests are facing today, and these threats not only harm the environment but also have significant social and economic impacts.

What is the theme of the International Day of Forests 2023?

The theme of the International Day of Forests 2023 is “forests and health” and was chosen to emphasise the connection between forests and human health and wellbeing.

Forests provide a wide range of benefits in terms of both physical and mental health. Through photosynthesis, forests provide produce oxygen, and they also act to purify water as roots absorb nutrients that would otherwise pollute waterways.

Meanwhile, many people feel the mental health benefits of spending time in forest nature such as stress reduction, with several studies having shown that a visit to a forest environment lowers blood pressure and pulse rate. Forests also support traditional medicine practices and provide a source of natural remedies for many ailments.

With this in mind, by making the theme of the International Day of Forests 2023 “forests and health”, the UN is focusing on the symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world, and demonstrating the importance of respecting and protecting our natural environment.

How can I celebrate the International Day of Forests 2023?

To celebrate the International Day of Forests 2023, individuals and organisations can take action to promote the health benefits of forests. This can include participating in outdoor activities such as walking and orienteering, supporting sustainable forestry practices, and advocating for policies that protect forests and promote their health benefits.

The official website of the International Day of Forests 2023 also contains links to case studies, stories, and resources that people can access to learn more about the world’s forests and the people who live and work in them.

As with all awareness days, the effectiveness of the International Day of Forests 2023 depends upon people spreading the word and getting others involved. For this reason, one of the best ways to celebrate the event may be to inform others of what you know and direct them to websites such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations where they can find more information.

How to Support Students with Eco-Anxiety

Children and young people are increasingly aware of climate change and while this knowledge can be empowering if supported in the right way, it’s also not uncommon for it to result in climate anxiety. This is why we’ve developed a webinar on supporting students with eco-anxiety.

This webinar will provide you with advice and practical guidance on managing and reducing the impact of eco-anxiety on children and young people through a balanced and productive approach to climate change, which also equips pupils with knowledge and skills to negotiate the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.

The guidance contained within is based on the DfE’s ‘Climate and sustainability strategy’. This strategy underlines that, in order to help children and young people meet the ‘formidable’ challenge of climate change, they require ‘knowledge-rich education’, and are provided with opportunities to be agents of change.

Developing an Understanding of the Natural World

One of the best ways you can engage with the International Day of Forests 2023 as an educator is to get outside and share the joy of nature with children in your setting.

As such, we’ve produced a webinar to provide teachers and practitioners in early years with a fresh perspective on outdoor play. This encourages you to take advantage of rich learning opportunities afforded by the outdoor environment, to help young children grow as confident and ecologically aware citizens.

Outdoor play offers endless opportunities for young children to explore and consider with wonder the systems and relationships that exist in the natural world around them and beneath their feet.

This webinar is designed to provide strategies to help them begin to understand their place within the ecosystem and facilitate progression towards the DfE’s early learning goal for the natural world, identified in the statutory framework for the EYFS.