Year of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Major

International Studies

Directing Professor

Jon D Bohland

Abstract

Over the past two decades, there have been 108 Forest Schools (FS) that have popped up across the United Kingdom. This Forest School revolution, as some are calling it, can largely be attributed to a rise in British environmentalism and a shift towards a more sustainable, ‘green’ future for the nations. The Forest School Movement conceptualizes nature as an expressive realm of moral power, a recreational space to be explored, and as a holistic ecosystem which should be preserved in its diversity and interdependence. The movement utilizes nature to cultivate a ‘green image’, which allows them to access the market of British environmentalism. Instead of constructing a space of inclusion, this ‘green discourse’ of the Forest Schools is used to denote the socioeconomic status of these schools as the providers of a unique experience, which is then used to justify the expense of such an education. This results in the exclusion of children from a lower socioeconomic background. The construction of an overwhelmingly white space can also be found in this movement, as the FS depict an atmosphere of environmental friendliness but fail to extend the appreciation for nature to people of color. Although advertising their schools as a space for all and where children can learn by using virtually nothing, in reality the Forest Schools have commodified and commercialized nature, as well as cultivated a white, elite space in order to access a very specific type of consumer.

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