Landscape Education and Awareness Raising in the 21st century

Ana Firmino, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Department of Geography and Regional Planning,

Simona R. Grădinaru, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL,

Janez Pirnat, University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Facutly, Department of Forestry,


Transmitting the knowledge of landscapes and landscape ecological approaches to different audiences in education and other training initiatives in the 21st century is a challenge. Schools at primary and secondary level as well as academic teachers are nowadays faced with a whole range of new academic subjects (computers sciences, law) and fields of interest (health, media) that like to see their knowledge represented in education. 

The aim of this symposium is to explore different approaches in teaching and awareness raising at different levels and for different audiences and to stimulate the debate about the importance of teaching landscapes using new, innovative, creative and interactive methods in different settings (indoor and outdoor).

From the perspective of educational science, following questions are discussed: What powerful knowledge can this subject or field of interest offer to help students lead the life they feel worthwhile living? How can we make students get involved with and understand the powerful knowledge that has been identified? So, it is necessary to take a closer look at justifications for choices of knowledge discussed so far and at the teachers’ understanding of the subjects they teach. Activating methods that can make students think critically about themes and topics are introduced, including some practical examples selected to be easily understood by different target groups (primary schools, 12-18 years’ students as well as undergraduate and graduate students and training of practitioners).


This symposium is a joint collaboration of APEP (Portuguese Association of Landscape Ecology) together with Associations of Geography Teachers (APG), IALE-Europe (WG 2 Education in landscape ecology – Sharing knowledge and experience), IALE International (Working Group Landscape Ecology in Schools), and recognised experts in didactics.

It will be possible to address all topics of landscape and landscape ecology (conceptual, theoretical, methodological, from nature conservation, ecosystem services to multifunctional ecosystems, and habitat mapping…, people's perception…). Since scientific materials used to teach Landscape Ecology are sometimes too complex and sophisticated to be used by school teachers, there is a need to adapt education and training to the needs and capacities of the different generations and target groups. Thus collaborations between scientists and teachers is crucial.  Landscape Ecology competences (knowledge, skills, attitude) should be available not only for researchers who specialize in this domain, but for children and young adults who will work in various fields. We are targeting colleagues involved in education and awareness raising of landscapes from different disciplines such as geography, biology, ecology, archaeologylandscape architects among others.

Depending on the submitted abstract, the session will be divided into sections focussing on a specific issue:

  • Reflecting papers about general didactic principles and landscape ecology
  • How to address landscape related issues with young children in primary schools?
  • How to address landscape related issues with teenagers in secondary schools?
  • Landscape education at the academic teaching – addressing generation Z.
  • Training landscapes to the wider audience, decision makers and practitioners.

Contributions can deal about theoretical and didactical principles when teaching landscapes or examples of teaching methodologies applied in the different levels.

The session will end with a discussion how to progress in landscape ecology teaching on the different levels.

Participants of the congress having examples of good practices can bring them to the congress for exchanging them in an interactive format of an exhibition with posters and materials to be demonstrated to all participants of the congress that will be installed during the whole congress. The didactic materials will present and explain concepts of landscape ecology and demonstrate their application to different case-studies, thus bringing patterns and processes to people and creating action. These materials intend to be valuable tools to fill up the gap between practice and academic research and are of particular interest for technicians at different levels, teachers and all those who apply and disseminate the principles of landscape ecological thinking expressed in the congress theme “from pattern and process to people and action”.

What can participants be expected to learn?

New tools, new technics, new methodology, new creative ideas….


  • Selected papers will be published on-line.
  • We can try to establish a link to a platform where examples presented during symposium (and also others) may be available freely (or just for members of IALE) for use and distribution