Systematic management of
forest property is raising the interest of ever younger women. In Kainuu the
women have become really enthusiastic about forestry. Over 150 women
participated in the first round of Metsänainen (women forester) training. Most
of them have signed up for training in nearly all of the 12 subjects. Training
is organized in all the municipalities in Kainuu.
Tarja Seilonen and Katja
Tampio-Malinen from Kuhmo received the invitation through the forestry
association of Kuhmo and immediately took to the idea. Small children, their
own jobs and a lack of time, in addition to the traditional arrangement that
the man takes care of forest business, have stopped them tackling forestry
issues on their own. “The
training was just what we needed,” they both said happily. ”We caught the good atmosphere right at the
introductory event; the group was active and Sari was inspiring,” says Katja.
“Of course we had some
skills already, but all the central areas of forestry have become familiar
through the training package and our knowledge has deepened. Other important
goals were working together, getting to know people and exchanging experiences,”
says the project manager of the Metsänainen project, Sari Härkönen.
Forestry is familiar to
Tarja Seilonen from her childhood. When she and her husband bought the home
farm a few years ago, the matter became all the more urgent. Training provides
the confidence to take matters up and be an equal partner in deciding on the
management of shared forest property.
“The division of duties
is still being worked out, but I think my own areas of competence will shape up
through training. It's worth it to
invest in one's own forest; conservation is combined with production in its
management,” says Tarja Seilonen.
“There is never too much
information. You could get it from books, but this training has been by far the
easiest way of getting the most up-to-date information on forestry. The women
pose different questions and comment on matters actively; things are looked at
from a wider perspective,” Katja and Tarja say.
Network of female forest
owners in Kainuu as a goal
“As active participation
increases, one’s perspective also broadens and then it is easier to do the
right things at the right time. The possibilities of participating are also
increased, since more women are needed for positions of trust,” says the architect
of the project Marjut Silvast, herself a member of Northern Finland's Union of
Forest Owners' board.
The training is built
around 12 subjects. Each participant can choose whether to attend them all or
pick only those subjects that they feel to be useful and relevant. Field trips
and visits to several destinations are made in addition to the courses, so the
subject matter is also applied and observed in practice.
“The younger you are when
you acquaint yourself with matters of forestry, the better your qualifications
are to make your forest thrive and to profit from your investment,” Sari
Härkönen reminds us. It would be worthwhile involving children with the forest even
when they are young by taking them along for planting, giving them their own
namesake forests whose growth they can follow and whose management they can
participate in, showing them all the phases involved in forestry.
Metsänainen training is
given throughout the Kainuu region. The project is funded by Oulujärvi Leader
and Elävä Kainuu Leader local action groups, and forestry associations in the
Text and photograph: Marjo Nousiainen