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After the fire incident in Izmir's Seferihisar district, Ege University Rector Prof. Dr. As a result of the meeting held by Necdet Budak on what can be done as Ege University, faculty members and staff working in different faculties of Ege University started to work on their fields of expertise. As a result of these studies, many proposals and projects emerged from soil and plant analysis to growing plant species that are suitable for the climate of the region and grow faster.
One of these projects was the Aegean Forest School, which aims to raise awareness and raise awareness as a social responsibility of Ege University. The main purpose of the Aegean Forest School project is to ensure that Ege University students receive training on forest-related subjects, and then, within the scope of Community Service Practices course, primary school students receive their education on this subject. The reason for the education of primary school students and the realization of university students is to create a learning environment in a brother/sister-sibling relationship. It is thought that the sense of closeness here will allow the information to be transferred effectively.
In this context, the Aegean Forest School was established under the Ege University Environmental Problems Application and Research Center, whose mission is to create social awareness about the environment and its problems.
The concept of Forest School is defined by the Forest School Association (2002) as an inspiring practice that aims to support the development of decision making and self-confidence, where education takes place with active participation in forest areas or in nature. The forest school is effective in terms of the permanence of the information, as it provides the opportunity to benefit from the materials by being in nature in the transfer of information on nature and forest-related subjects, and allows many stimuli to be given at the same time.
 Although forest school is generally considered as an application that supports the educational processes of preschool and primary school students, it is also used for adult education. It is known that the expression "Forest School" is an education model that aims to teach children with experiential and active learning methods by being found in nature, and it is indicated in the 2023 vision of the Ministry of National Education. At this point, with the Aegean Forest School project, it is aimed to raise awareness and awareness about sustainable forest, with the awareness that education is the first and most important stage in every subject, based on the importance that Ege University attaches to sensitivity to social issues.
Within the scope of the Aegean Forest School project, the presentations, booklets and educational materials prepared by the faculty members of the Aegean Forest School team and experts on forestry, afforestation and forest fires working in the Izmir Regional Directorate of Forestry are used in the primary schools determined within the scope of the project. With the "Basic Information About Forestry for Primary School Students" booklet prepared by the Aegean Forest School for primary school students, it is aimed to ensure that the information given during the education process is repeated. In addition, the bookmarks prepared within the scope of the project and the Tree of Life posters to be exhibited in primary schools are required to repeat the information and make it permanent.
The information contained in the Aegean Forest School trainings is conveyed to the students by the animals, which are the owners of the forest, in the presentations and booklets. The animals in question are characterized as Aegean Forest School Heroes (squirrel, mole, slotted lizard, worm, owl, snake, woodpecker, bee) and are in the position of spokesperson in conveying information about their area in the forest. In addition, during the education, activities related to trees and soil will be carried out with primary school students in the school garden, and environments will be created in which learning will be reinforced.
After the education activities of the Aegean Forest School Project, it is planned to organize activities for kindergarten students and teachers, with the participation of volunteer students and the allocation of space. It is believed that the Aegean Forest School project will develop and grow with the voluntary participation of Ege University students and the suggestions of faculty members in their fields of expertise, and will make significant contributions to the society.
Aegean Forest School Project Partners
For the Aegean Forest School Project, a cooperation protocol was signed between Ege University Rectorate, İzmir Regional Directorate of Forestry and Bornova District National Education Directorate.
The oak tree has been used for nourishing, protecting, healing, fire resistant etc. since ancient times. known to have properties. Oak tree has been a very important resource not only for the living things in the forest, but also for the survival of people in the periods when agricultural techniques were not developed. However, the oak tree is considered a symbol of strength and endurance. The oak tree, which has the feature of protecting its leaves in all seasons, evokes life with its longevity feature. Based on these points, the Aegean Forest School logo was designed as an oak tree, and it was aimed to emphasize the desire of the project to be strong and long-lasting, and to strengthen the perception that it is a source of life by supporting the phrase "Green is Life", which is the slogan of the project.
As the Aegean Forest School Mascot, it was determined as the Squirrel because it was perceived together with the oak tree and acorn. Squirrel, the mascot of Aegean Forest School, is accompanied by Aegean Forest School Heroes mole, hedgehog, rabbit, snake, owl and bee.
The squirrel, mole, hedgehog, rabbit, snake, owl and bee, who are the owners of the forest, narrate the Aegean Forest School Trainings. Aegean Forest School Heroes are selected and characterized from animals living in the forest, each of which is very important for the forest. Aegean Forest School Heroes The Aegean Forest School education takes place in the presentation and training materials, and the subjects related to the forest are conveyed through these heroes. It is thought that transmission through heroes will be more effective in terms of ensuring the permanence of knowledge.

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