This blog is arguably a little late to be published, but I got there eventually.
In October 2012 Chris Millican, Milly Piggott and myself (Joe Newberry) boarded a long-haul flight bound for Taipei, Taiwan via Hong Kong. The team worked closely with the Taiwan Forestry Bureau (TFB) for just over two weeks.
Around three quarters of Taiwan are wooded and TFB are responsible for the management of much of this. Within the forests TFB managed 18 National Forest Recreation areas, 8 of which have their own education department and it was a 5 year programme of partnership between FSC and TFB’s nature centres that drew FSC staff.
The visit started with several days In Taipei where Chris gave a number of talks to a public audience at a professional forum on outdoor education and Milly and I gave talks to TFB staff on our work as Tutors. During our time in Taipei we met with several key figures in TFB including Director General Lee.
After Taipei we headed south-east to the first Nature centre on our tour, Chihnan in Hualien County. In the Nature centre on the forested slope above Lake Liyu (Koi Carp) their tutors demonstrated a fantastic range of courses and resources, including papier mache models of each bear species from around the world.
Next our journey took us further south to Taitung County where we started with a tour of Jhihben Nature Centre. We were looking for suitable field sites for investigations because over the next few days we were going to run a workshops for staff of Nature centres from around Taiwan with a big emphasis on Fieldwork and A-level Investigations in particular.
The Workshop involved getting TFB staff into small groups and encouraging them to make a scientific observation within their surroundings. Once they had made an observation it was up to them to formulate hypotheses, design a method, collect data, then analyse and evaluate their data to present their findings to their peers. The groups came out with some very interesting and imaginative investigations and in a very short time where able to present some pretty solid findings and lovely posters.
Once the workshop was over we had just enough time at Jhihben to observe a little teaching before continuing south to Pingtung County and Shuangliou Nature Centre. At Shuangliou we were escorted by TFB staff and volunteers around the Nature Centre where we got an idea of the fantastic facilities, and to get an idea of the programmes that go on there.
After Shuangliou our visit to Taiwan was drawing to a close, just enough time to head down to Kenting, the most southern county of Taiwan to meet with staff there and complete our circum navigation of the fantastic country. After a day’s rest we took the high-speed train up the east coast back to Taipei where we said our goodbyes and board a plane having learnt a lot from the TFB staff we worked with, and shared some memorable experiences with the people of Taiwan.