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Published: 2024-01-26 Updated: 2024-01-29, 10:31

Skogsungdomarna – New Initiative for Young Forest Enthusiasts

NEWS On 16 January, Skogsungdomarna stood in Lindellhallen at Umeå University to recruit new members. The initiative Skogsungdomarna started in September 2023 and aims to be a meeting place for young people interested in forests in Västerbotten.

Hello! Who are you standing here in Lindellhallen today?

– We are Arvid, Emma and Anna, and we are the leaders of Skogsprogram Västerbotten's Youth Council, or Skogsungdomarna as we have chosen to call it. We are here to inform about our organization and recruit new members.

Tell us about the initiative Skogsungdomarna. What is it?

– Skogsungdomarna is an organization for young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who want to experience and discuss forest issues. Our task is to be a platform where young people interested in forests can meet in Västerbotten. Thanks to the fact that we are financed by Future Forests among others, we can organize free activities with the aim of making all the values ​​of the forest visible. The idea is that the young people also should have the opportunity to form their own ideas on forest issues, test their opinions and be able to influence those in power.

The idea is that the young people also should have the opportunity to form their own ideas on forest issues, test their opinions and be able to influence those in power.

What have you done within the organization and how did it go?

– Until now, most of the time has been spent on finding young people who want to join the council. We have been to schools, universities and youth centers and talked to many different people. It was very exciting to hear about all the different relationships people have with forests! Some tend to be in the forest often, while others have no relationship with it but want to create one. Some want to drive a machine while others want to pick mushrooms. It's fun that we have such a wide spread!

– We have also had a few meetings. The most recent meeting was held at Västerbotten's museum, where we looked at the exhibition "How many trees are there in the forest?" and received a guided tour by Iréne Gustafsson. Afterwards we had coffee and got to know each other. We also planned for the spring's activities because we want everyone to be able to participate and influence what we do, even if we leaders are the driving force in the beginning.

What do you have planned for the future?

– This spring we will visit a reindeer owner to discuss reindeer husbandry in relation to the forest. We will also get a historical walk in the forest by Lars Östlund where we look at old remains that reveal how the place was used way back in time up to the present day. Requests from the members are also to focus on forest food and mushroom picking, which we are happy to do this autumn when the forest's pantry is at its most well-stocked! There is also interest in kayaking and driving a forest machine.

The most challenging so far has been to get across the message that everyone has a place in Skogsungdomarna, whether you know a lot or nothing at all about forests.

What do you hope to achieve with the initiative?

– We hope to learn new things about the many values of the forest, not only from the activities and lecturers we have, but also through discussions with each other. We also hope that we can give a youth perspective on the forest and influence those in power. In addition, we hope that our activities will be fun and that the members will make good memories and make new friends.

They conclude by highlighting their message:

– The most challenging so far has been to get across the message that everyone has a place in Skogsungdomarna, whether you know a lot or nothing at all about forests. We believe that people might feel that they must have a background in order to participate, but that is not the case. We want to be a platform where people with all kinds of backgrounds come together! This is how we get the most out of our youth council. 

More about Skogsungdomarna

Forest Program Västerbotten's Youth Council is supported by Västerbotten's Regional Forest Program in collaboration with the research platform Future Forests at SLU and UMU. The initiative started in autumn 2023 and is currently led by Anna Hansen, Emma Munters, and Arvid Sjöberg, who all study in Umeå and are very interested in forest issues. 
 
Leaders 
Anna Hansen, 22, comes from Jämtland and studies Community Planning at Umeå University.

Emma Munters, 26, comes from Uppsala and is in her third year of the Forestry Program at SLU in Umeå.

Arvid Sjöberg, 25, comes from Stockholm and studies the Forester Program at SLU in Umeå. 
 
Read more here (In Swedish)