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  • Writer's pictureHartwig Imlinger

Green Forest School in Ortaca, Mugla, Turkey

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

The Erasmus+ project Ortace Green Forest School, funded by the Turkish National Agency, was supervised in Vienna by Bilim and the association Großes Schiff.

1st part of the project in Vienna from 10.10.2022 - 20.10.2022

The association Großes Schiff put together an interesting programme for the Turkish delegation around Ayse Suna Sözgen, more precisely Aysun, Senem, Sevgi, Deniz, Özgür, Sinan, Tahir and Ümit.

Monday 10.10.2022: We met the group at the WUK (a Cultural Centre in Vienna) in Baumgasse and got the first impressions of the project, then we went to the Green Prater with Marisol Ayala, the environmental biologist of the association who did the first workshop of nature-education with the group.

On Tuesday 11.10.2022 we went to the water park in bright sunshine to observe rare birds and turtles.

On Wednesday and Thursday they had a break and did a programme organised by Bilim.

Friday 14.10.2022 we had a workshop day with the forest educator Stefan Lirsch, whom the founder of the association Ivana Reyero knew from a BAFEP8 (Elementary Pedagogical Education in Austria) seminar, and got to know him and already some methods of forest education. We all especially remembered the foxhole meditation, an exercise over a foxhole, in which we immersed ourselves in a meditation in silence into the foxhole. Stefan shared his knowledge and methods with us and to everyone's delight he agreed to accompany the leadership of the association, Ivana Reyero and Hartwig Imlinger to Turkey for the second part.

On Monday, 17.10. we visited the La Rueda children's group in Wasnergasse, the first children's group of the association, which has existed since 2015, and had the pleasure of singing a Turkish song with Özgür.

Afterwards, we were able to see Marisol Ayala's nature education workshop in the Augarten with the older children from Wasnergasse.

On Tuesday 18.10. we were able to visit the forest school in Lobau with the group, again in bright sunshine, and then finish off the Dechantlacke with a nature-pedagogical, motopedagogical adventure, we swung over the lake with a swinging beam.

2nd part of the project in Ortaca/Mugla/Turkey

The Großes Schiff Association is accompanied by the experienced forest pedagogue Stefan Lirsch (among others, he was responsible for the first forest pedagogical project in Vienna in a public school, in the NMS Dirmhirngasse, author of several books on the subject, more info on him at

On Monday, 24 October, we had our first meeting with the government representative of the district of Ortaca (Kaymakam), who gave us a half-hour audience and was very positive about the project of Ayse's team.

Afterwards, we had an appointment with the education director of the region, who was also positive about the project. The Turkish group told us that our mere presence had already made a difference. In the afternoon, we went to an empty school in Fevshiye to inspect it. Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the nearby forest because of a barbed wire barrier.

On Tuesday, we were introduced to the beauties of Ortaca County: we were able to visit a nearby open-air thermal bath with a healing mud at a very picturesque lake and then take a boat ride over impressive mountain scenery to the beach.

Just before the beach, the mascot of the region, a large water turtle Caretta Caretta, showed itself, which impressed us very much.

On Wednesday evening we organised a round in our accommodation, led by Stefan, to answer questions and get the group in the mood for tomorrow's workshop day.

Thursday then took place at a fantastic woodland site, with nice sunshine and temperatures around 28 degrees. Stefan showed us some interesting methods of forest education. And afterwards in the afternoon the group had the task to realise their vision of the forest school with the method of Land Art, a task the group dedicated themselves to with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.

Friday 28 October was the day of the presentation, where we presented our Erasmus Plus project in front of 85 Turkish teachers. Ümit perfected the video the night before.

At lunchtime, we were invited to the mayor of Ortaca, drank cay with him and discussed further possibilities for the forest school.

Großes Schiff then made another agreement about future Erasmus+ projects and future support for the school foundation.

On Saturday we went back to Vienna. It was a fantastic and exciting two and a half weeks and we are grateful to be part of this project.

Here you see the video of the turkish group about these fantastic 2,5 weeks:

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