FOREST FRIENDS FOREVER – these were the farewell words of 40 children after a week they spent together in a camp in the framework of FOR SOC project. From 4th to 11th July 2016, 40 children and 10 adults from Ukraine, Norway and Slovakia met in a children's camp in the mountain resort Drienica in Slovakia. 15 children came from Transcarpathia, 15 - from Slovakia and 10 - from Norway.
The aim of this international event was to create space and conditions to explore the nature, find new friends, learn about work in the forestry, get new knowledge about the forest as unique ecosystem and natural beauty of Slovakia.
The program for the forestry camp has been prepared by the National Forest Centre in Zvolen, Slovakia as part of the project “FOR SOC Forests for society - forests without barriers", with the support of Norway and Slovak Republic. Certified "forest educators" involved from Slovakia and Norway, during the 8 days of the camp made the learning interesting, interactive and entertaining for the children. The language of communication during the camp for children and adults from three countries was English.
The first day began with short presentations about own country’s natural beauty, famous people and traditions. Ukrainian children symbolically welcomed everyone with anthem of Ukraine and bread and salt.
The following days were filled with games and activities aimed at learning about the forest and nature in general. The children were led by the self-invented motto: " WHY BE INSIDE WHEN ADVENTURES ARE OUTSIDE”. There were really many adventures: children opened the “Forest Gate”, tried out the role of hunters, predators and preys; looked for forest treasure, drank from the Spring of Wishes; made art objects from natural materials; learned about the first aid in nature and a lots of other exciting things.
That's how much children walked in average each day in the surrounding woods! Accompanied by foresters of Sabinov Urban Forests, from them children learned about how trees are marked for felling and how trees especially valuable for biodiversity are marked; why water-keeping facilities are important for forests; how charcoal is produced; if it is always necessary to plant trees; how to find traces of animals. During this forest tours in playing and interactive form the children got the understanding that everything in nature is in balance, and that forest performs a number of different functions!
Children also took part in traditional camp things like sports activities, dancing and singing evenings, horse riding, gatherings by the fire and night games. Camp participants enjoyed two interesting excursions, one to Spis Historic Castle and Strbske Pleso lake and the other to sightseeing tower Gradova in Kosice, Kosice ZOO, as well as visited the project partners – Church forests Pro Populo Poprad and Kosice Urban forests.
For 15 Ukrainian children from Uzhgorod, Mukachevo, Tyachiv and Vynohradiv district who participated in the camp this was a good opportunity to meet their peers from neighboring Slovakia and distant Norway, learn new things and have a rest. In their school essay “How did you spend your summer holidays?" they will definitely write: "I have made new friends from Slovakia and Norway!"
More information about the project and the camp see on  and