School forestry units can become partners in reforestation projects, planting trees for environmental actions. Forestry schools are established to present students the work of forest professions in practice, to give them knowledge about the forest and basic environmental skills.
The Climate Russia portal spoke Russian with Vladimir Zakharov, a senior district forester of Moscow's Orekhovo-Zuyevo forestry. Vladimir is actively involved in the international environmental movement since 1991. He has an education of a forestry engineer. In 2012 he was invited to take over work on the development of forestry school in Orekhovo-Zuevo district.
About forestry schools
Our students plant forest nursery stock in their seedling nurseries, which are then being moved to forests or towns. During mass planting actions, the members of school forestry units, along with foresters, instructing and helping inexperienced citizens to learn the wisdom of forest science. Students are active participants of reforestation actions. They also participate in wildfire–prevention campaigns.
Mostly, we plant oaks. It has become rare in our forests, and without some human help it would not be restored. Collection of acorns, planting them in the nursery stock, care, digging, planting - all these activities are carried out by schoolchildren under the supervision of school teachers and foresters.
Since seed harvests do not happen every year, we find acorns from other regions that can used in our climate conditions. This October, thanks to the school forestry units of Volgograd, Vladimir, Kaliningrad and Krasnodar regions, we started our experimental plantings.
History of school forest units in Russia
The first forestry school appeared in the Bryansk region in 1952. The idea of attracting students for the practical works in forests was so interesting that by the 80s there were about 6,000 school forestries in the country, which included more than 200,000 middle school students.
During the 90s, school forestry units were in decline and they were restored only in 2000s. At the moment, we have 9 school forestry units in our forestry. Some were established during the Soviet times, others are new.
About 76 school forestry units are currently operate in the Moscow region with 1230 pupils studying the forest ecosystem of Moscow suburbs and getting involved in all kinds of forestry activities – starting from a drawing competition to forest planting. They also prepare scientific works to participate different competitions. Many of them start their future careers here – entering the Moscow State Forest University afterwards, and then – working in different forestry organizations across the country.