The Forestry Bureau of the COA announced the oncoming opening of the Dongyanshan Natural Education Center at June 5th, the same as the World Environment Day. While facing the tide of universal environmental distress, the Bureau responded not only by means of preserveing the wildness but also moving progressively by promoting environmental education.
Environmental education is usually fully expanded in developed countries, nevertheless it is still at the beginning in this country, Jen-Teh Yen, Director General of the Forestry Bureau pointed out. Being the main administrative organization of Taiwan’s ecosystem, the Bureau should take the responsibility for setting up permanent environmental education organizations. Providing a happy learning opportunity within the forest for the people to understand and enjoy nature. We hope the people can better understand the concept of forest protection via the leisure for attending environmental education activities,thereby identify oneself with the environment by cherishing and protecting nature. Finally, a balance between sustaining natural resources and development can be achieved.
A natural education center is a place that integrates the environmental specialists and professional education programs, and that is based on the natural environment, which has its unique characteristics, according to Director General Yen who gave this definition. The center will be a multi-functional occupational organization including education, research, nature’s protection, cultural preservation and recreation. It provides the professional environmental education service for the students and society.
The natural education centers will be built in the national forest recreational areas or forestry cultural parks. Professional education specialists will be introduced to the current narrator and experience activities, and all together become the framework of the educational programs for the school circles. The Bureau emphasizes that the natural education centers run by the Bureau will be operated in nature authentically and systematically, providing the ecological learning and experiences that programs offer to society.
The first natural education center of the Forestry Bureau - Dongyanshan Natural Education Center-has come to a completion after one year of preparation, and it will start to operate on June 30th, Director General Yen said. After that, the Luodong Forestry Cultural Park, the Basiianshan, Aowanda and Chihnan National Forest Recreation Areas will also become natural education centers within one year. In the near future, at Chukou, Shuangliou and Jhihben of southern and southeastern Taiwan, more natural education centers will be organized. After this, there will be a complete natural learning network surrounding the island. It is estimated that the learning centers can provide more than 100,000 people every year with the experience of green learning in the future. All the learning centers will be combined and become the biggest environmental education platform. It is expected that via the promoting of the quality and quantity of ecological learning of Taiwan, the environmental protection concept of the people can be strengthened.
Director General Yen gave special thanks to the environmental education academic circle for their full support during the preparation of the natural education centers. The outstanding environmental education specialists from this island, such as Professor Ju Chou, Professor Huei-Min Tsai of the Graduate Institute of Environmental Education, National Taiwan Normal University, Professor Yu-Ren Guo of the Chinese Culture University, Professor Jhong-Hong Wu of the Graduate Institute of Environmental Education, National Taichung University, Professor Wei-Li Chen of MIngdao University, Professor Ming-Huang Liang, and Professor Shih-Jhang Syu of the National Dong Hwa University, all of whom cooperated as a team, researching the realistic model and setting forth the development of the natural education centers.
It is expected that the establishment of the first governmental learning center of the forest will trigger more and more organizations, either governmental or private sectors, to participate, the Forestry Bureau added. The efforts can be combined and fulfill the future of the qualitative “Nature Guidance Happy Learning” educational environment.
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