The Ocean Blue Forests International Summer School (ISS) aims boosting blue growth through the education of Portuguese and Norwegian university students, with diverse academic backgrounds. Blue forests are key marine ecosystems for human well-being, yet they are underrepresented in education curricula and underappreciated in professional groups. The ISS seeks to improve professional skills and competencies in blue forests ecosystem benefits. By the end of the ISS, students will be able to apply the acquired knowledge into their professional contexts.
The educational contents of the ISS will cover the role of blue forests in the carbon cycle and how restoring these ecosystems can contribute to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. The program was created to provide a multidisciplinary approach, combining lectures, field trips, laboratory work, and outdoor and cultural activities. Students will have direct contact with multiple blue forests stakeholders in Portugal and Norway (scientists, NGOs, fishing communities, decision-makers, and media professionals). Experiential learning on the blue forests will be provided to the trainees while promoting direct contact with the local community, who is part of the undergoing Ocean Alive sustainability project “Keepers of the sea” (https://www.ocean-alive.org/en/keepers-of-the-sea). In addition, a digital platform will be available to support the program's contents about Blue Forests.
During the ISS students will conduct autonomous work that contributes to their evaluation. They will be challenged to apply their understanding to their own fields of interest and motivation. Students will develop and present a framework model on how they would solve a problem affecting blue forests.
The summer school will be held in Setubal (Portugal) to take advantage of the blue forests of saltmarsh, seagrass and macroalgae of the Sado estuary and adjacent rocky shores of the Arrabida region.