Tiny Forest Rangers
All large forests in the Netherlands have a forester, so all Tiny Forests in the Netherlands will have Tiny Forest Rangers. Any child can be a ranger. A Tiny Forest Ranger is a wildlife keeper, investigator and storyteller. They plant the forest, manage the forest, do research and tell family, classmates and local residents about the forest.
Why does IVN want to train Tiny Forest Rangers?
IVN is working to build a world in which contact between children and nature is a part of the everyday routine. Being outside, playing freely and discovering nature uninhibited helps children in their development. IVN brings nature close: at school, childcare and during leisure time. This is how we plant the seed of love and care for nature. With Tiny Forest we bring nature closer and by training Tiny Forest Rangers, we ensure that children embrace the mini forest and Dutch nature.
What does a Tiny Forest Ranger do?
In a Tiny Forest you may encounter a Tiny Forest Ranger. These are children from a primary school or childcare center nearby who protect and care for the forest. They plant the Tiny Forest, do research in the forest and learn about nature through telling stories. A Tiny Forest Ranger restores, investigates and tells.
The first group of Tiny Forest Rangers plant the Tiny Forest themselves with the whole class! The Tiny Forest Rangers walk around the forest and observe: what do they see, what do they hear, what do they feel, what do they smell? They fill in the Tiny Forest checklist and carry out minor maintenance tasks. They clean up litter and remove weeds that are higher than the trees. Students of group 7 of the Free School Zaandam planted the Tiny Forest in Zaandam and are now it’s rangers.
Many learning activities take place in the Forest. There are carpet tiles or dead pieces of wood in the forest. One child lifts the tile, and the other children say which animals they see. They check on the search card which animal it is and fill it in on the list of sightings. Sometimes, Tiny Forest Rangers grab a white sheet and hold it under a tree. When children shake the tree, animals fall on the white sheet. Children use the search cards from the materials box to find out which animals they have found and add them to the list.
At the changing of the guard, the group of last weeks’ Tiny Forest Rangers passes the baton to the new group. They indicate what the next Tiny Forest Rangers should look out for (crooked trees, drought, weeds, garbage) and share the data from the nature counting assignment in class. Students invite parents, friends and/or family for a tour of the forest. They show the forest, their own tree and the animals they found.