In order to decrease the ecological footprint, conference participants made a voluntary donation of 350€ in total to support planting trees. We will plant the Edible Forest with the help of our partner Gaia school http://gaiakool.ee/.

Gaia School in Estonia works with children from 7-13 years. Each year a new 1st class starts, so today there are classes 1-7, and in 5 years there will be a full gymnasium of 12 years. The main site is in Tallinn with ca 90 children and there are four other locations in Estonia with a total of 147 students. Gaia Education’s whole-school approach enhances the environmental performance of schools as institutions, and promotes integrated governance, and stakeholder and community involvement by imparting the values and tools that today’s children and youth will need to build and maintain more sustainable societies.

Raine Lindepuu, the English teacher and a project manager of Gaia School wrote:
Gaia School is like a tree. Planted in fertile soil in 2014. Bravely it plunges its roots deep into the ground, drawing power from everyone and everything around it. By touching its rough trunk, children can learn about the world. According to Gaia’s philosophy, the Earth itself is one big living organism and Gaia School family is a part of her.

One half of this Gaia tree is like an ancient, smart and powerful entity that belongs to the old sacred forest. There are many people in Estonia who still know the magic of the forest and sacred groves. The indigenous people of Estonia, according to their customs, have preserved nature in sacred groves and other sanctuaries for as long as man has inhabited our country. It is important for children to learn about the ancient beliefs and customs of their people, to play in the woods, to feel the presence of nature and to realize the importance of preserving it.

Gaia’s children found their sacred forest at the outskirts of Tallinn, it is known as Iru Sacred forest. We entered this place for the first time with Ahto Kaasik. Ahto is the elder of the Estonian Maavalla Koda (Estonian House of Taara and Native Religions http://www.maavald.ee). He has published a book called “Natural Sanctuaries”. With his protection and support, Gaia School began to bond with Iru sanctuary. Gaia’s children know that you can talk to the forest, draw strength from the forest, and give offerings to forest creatures. Gaia School is the pioneer and leader of the sacred groves movement, inviting other schools to join in seeking and protecting the sacred sites of Estonia.

The other half of the Gaia tree is an edible plant. We are aware that pure food is what gives us pure energy and we have the opportunity to grow that food ourselves. There is no better way to get to know plants than to actually see and touch them. And taste. Just imagine a walk through a wonderful garden that offers not only beauty for your eyes but also refreshment for your body. Everything your eyes can see can be harvested and used for food. Fruit trees, berry bushes, various herbs, edible flowers, plants suitable for making tea. The Gaia School family includes people who are inspired by the idea and ready to create it with their students. We have the desire and the will to sow seeds, plant plants, create beds based on the principles of permaculture. Gaia’s children take care of their edible forest and are willing to work hard for it. We have already started; the first permaculture beds have been made in one Gaia School location – Saku and the plan of the edible forest has been put on paper. 4th Baltic Sea Conference on Literacy support helps us to make it happen.

Why does Gaia School do all this? Why is it like a tree? Because only being with nature can one understand nature. Only by being truly part of the tradition can one understand the tradition.

For further information and cooperation please contact Gaia Kool by email
info@gaiakool.ee