Forests toolkit #1 – Humans and the forests: Interviews with three generations


Anna Lodén, Helen Forsgren, Christina Ottander, Lina Varg and Jenny Hellgren


Umeå University

Forests are one of our most important natural resources, and part of the solution to the challenges we face. People and stakeholders have different interests in forests, underpinned by environmental, economic, cultural and social values. Often, these interests and values conflict with one another. How to manage forests is a complex and highly topical issue.

The aim of this activity is to place the forest theme in an authentic, local and historic context, and to highlight its relevance to students’ everyday lives. Conducting this activity contributes to highlighting different perspectives on the topic of Forest use vs. Forest protection.


  • 15
  • 16
  • 17


  • Forest use Vs. Forest protection


  • Between 2-5 hours

Students’ resources

In the activity, students start by reflecting on the human use of forests today, yesterday and in the future. To gain more information about the topic, they interview parents, grandparents or other people from three different generations about their relationship with and use of the forest. They also learn how general forest use has changed throughout their lifetime. 

Teachers’ resources

The task is to collect information from three generations about their relationship with the forest, what they have used it for, and if it has changed during their lives. The students choose which three people to interview. Some might need help finding older people to interview.

It is important to allow students to have agency in planning the questions to ask. By doing this and allowing the students to share their experiences in whole class settings, the diversity in the classroom will be visible.

After the interviews, students should take time to reflect upon a series questions, related to how their perception of the topic changed with this activity.