Uforest Specialization School: feedback from the students

20 students partecipated in our 14-day intensive training in urban forestry. How was their experience?

Held from the 12th to the 23rd of September 2023, the Uforest Specialization School was an unique opportunity for students interested in urban forestry. Through 23 seminars and workshops, 8 field trips, and 1 project development activity, the Specialization School provided in-depth knowledge and skills in urban forestry and related disciplines. In particular, the 32 international experts tackled topics of ecology, urban planning, ecosystem services, as well as public and private funding and communication and marketing. Finally, during the Specialization School, students participated in the Uforest Innovation Challenge, which immediately gave them a chance to put into practice what they were learning. Divided into groups, students had to develop their own urban forestry project responding to a specific challenge: developing a climatic refugia in the campus of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

The Uforest Specialization School was developed by the Uforest partnership following a long development process, which started with the “Uforest Training Needs’ Assessment and Stakeholder Analysis”. Thanks to this initial survey, Uforest was able to better identify the training needs of the urban forestry sector and provide specific learning opportunities. In this sense, the Uforest Programme was designed following the results we receive from that survey.

Who were the students of the Uforest Specialization School?

The Specialization School was reserved to 20 selected students of our e-learning courses “Nature in the City” and “Greening your City”. Not only were they coming from 11 different countries – Romania, Spain, Poland, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, France, UK, India and Mexico – but also from different academic backgrounds, such as forestry, architecture, ecology, and more. This mix allowed both students and professors to receive different inputs and point of view, creating a very stimulating environment. In particular, the multidisciplinarity of backgrounds proved to be especially useful in the group work related to the Innovation Challenge. 

How was the students’ experience of the Uforest Specialization School?

At the end of the Specialization School, we gathered student’s feedback through a survey. We are very glad to say that all students were satisfied with their experience during the training (75% very satisfied, 25% satisfied). At the same time, all the participants said that the knowledge and skills gained during the program will be beneficial for their academic or professional career (62.5% of students strongly agree, while 37.5% only agree). In fact, most students also affirmed that they would like to include urban forestry and related field in their future career plans. Finally, what students appreciated the most was the participation of international experts and the quality of lectures, the transdisciplinary approach, and the field trips to different urban forests in Barcelona and Milan. Check out some of the students’ feedback in the boxes below: 

I am so thankful for this opportunity. I have learned so much and I have met amazing people who have taught me other ways to see the world. Thank you so much to all the organizers for giving us this unforgettable experience.” (M.)

I would like to thank all the people that have been involved in approaching urban forestry to students with absolute success.” (A.)

Just want to say thank you. This program was far better than my expectations. Great organization and effort from all the ones involved. I wish there would be some kind of continuation to all the work done… maybe have some updates or a practical way to keep in touch.” (B.)

Thank you for everything, you have done a really good job!!!” (A.)