Last weekend, schoolchildren, young people and families from all over Latvia had an opportunity to get acquainted with the forest sector in the largest forest awareness event in the Baltics - the Latvian Forest Days that took place in Tērvete. The two-day festival in the Land of Kurbads was visited by 13.5 thousand guests of all ages.
On a 1.6 km long route, the Latvian Forest Days brought together 100 different forestry, woodworking and environment related organizations that took care of visitor education and well-being. Those interested were able to participate in forest cognitive workshops, to engage in diverse educational activities with dwarfs, Pigman and knowledgeable industry professionals.
“More than 50% of the territory of Latvia is covered by forests; we are essentially a forest nation and we need to know everything that happens in the forest - how it is grown, how it is tended and how timber is prepared. Large companies have the opportunity to meet their potential customers by showing the latest technologies and educating the public. It is more difficult to manipulate with an educated member of society than with an uneducated one. I am pleased to see that people were not in a hurry and enjoyed the ambience of the event. It is worth spending your free time closer to nature.
Looking at the increasing responsiveness and visitor interest, we are determined to continue the tradition and gather, educate and inspire people in the Latvian Forest Days also next year! We would like to thank both - our partners for cooperation and participation and all the visitors who indulged in the adventure, and I hope to see you all next year!” says Normunds Namnieks, representative of the organizers of the Latvian Forest Days.
The first day of the event, 24 May, was devoted to schoolchildren and young people: more than 9 000 students from all regions of Latvia took the opportunity to gain new knowledge. As many of the participants admitted, the visit to the park was like another class excursion at the end of the school year, where you can observe what you usually do not see or do on a daily basis - climb trees as arborists, build your own imagined land terrain in the sand, see the forest technique and try your hand in driving a harvester, “relax” in a cone bath, get acquainted with Pigman and much more.
The winners of various competitions were honoured during the first day of the event: we awarded the scholarship recipients 2018/2019, the winners of the LVM Forest Days 2019 sticker competition, the winners of the “For a Clean Latvia!” (Tīrai Latvijai) campaign organised by the association “Zaļā josta”. Anyone who attended the stands of diverse forest-related educational institutions could have an insight into their possible future profession.
During the day, there was also the final competition of the LVM Forest Game 2019, and Irlava Elementary School was announced the winner of the competition and will go on a forest expedition to Austria!
“The key to success is a good teacher who can motivate, understand and inspire. We are happy about our teacher and our team. This time, we were really keen on winning because this is the third year that we are participating in the Forest Game. And this year is ours,” shortly after announcing the results, Irlava school team share their joy.
Saturday, 25 May, was devoted to families - there were forest cognitive stands intended for both - the youngest family members, as well as for adults, inviting also parents and grandparents to actively participate in the forest activities. The dads appreciated the opportunity to see and try forest technique in action, while the moms got inspiration for arranging and decorating their gardens. Everyone was exciting to meet Pigman, the Patron of Clean Forests! The hunting dog parade and the forest trail series “Stirnu buks” race brought together both the big and the small, the young and the old.
Throughout the day, many new objects were opened, such as the exposition of the project “Smart Tree”, which tells us about the use of different types of wooden structures in construction: wooden frames, log beams, cross-glued wood panels.
“This house demonstrates how well and differently timber can be used in construction. It clearly shows the benefits of timber as a building material,” says Kristaps Ceplis, Head of the “Zaļā māja” Association.
The opening of the new Tērvete adventure bicycle park brought together all active leisure lovers in the largest event of such type in the Baltics. It already hosted the first competitions, even for the four-year-olds. The length of the bicycle trail is 2.8 km; it leads through an adult forest, young forest stands, as well as through a clear felling. On the edge of the trail, there are information stands where the specific place is described. In the future, it is planned to establish permanent thematic forest stops.
Latvian Forest Days 2019
The Latvian Forest Days are organised by JSC “Latvia's State Forests” in cooperation with Tērvete Municipality Council, the Latvian Forest Owners Association, the Latvian Wood Industry Federation and the Association “Zaļās mājas”. In 2018, the Latvian Forest Days took place for the first time at LVM Nature Park in Tērvete, bringing together around 12 000 people.