The following article describes one of the projects run by the Finnish 4H, called Taimiteko. Emma Ilmonen and Eeli Salmela form the Finnish 4H explain what the project is all about.
Karoliina Ilmonen, 16, got a summer job from her local 4H association. Here is her story:
“I came across an advertisement on the 4H Finland’s website saying my local 4H association was hiring eight young people to plant spruce and pine seedlings as part of Taimiteko (Seedling Deed). I had some possible work opportunities for summer lined up however they were cancelled and so I decided to apply. I was delighted when I received a summer job with Taimiteko.
On the first morning all of us went to the peat bog where we would plant the seedlings. First we had an expert show us how the equipment works and how the work is done. We also received safety instructions.
Planting seedlings was a commission and so our salary consisted of how diligently we planted the seedlings. There were 4,000 seedlings in total. We worked for two days and each day for six hours. The work itself was very physical, but I was left with a great feeling when I knew I made new carbon sinks for the earth.
If I ever get the same opportunity to work for Seedling Deed, I would gladly sign up.”
Taimiteko – What it is exactly?
The aim of Seedling Deed (Taimiteko) is to implement concrete measures to offset carbon dioxide emissions and consequently slow down climate change. The project has an ambitious target: to plant 10,000 hectares of new forest by the year 2030, which is a total of approximately 20 million new trees. This will be done by planting seedlings in areas that haven’t been actively used for forestry or agriculture for decades.
Seedling Deed began in 2019. By participating, companies also provide jobs for young people since it is the Finnish youth that plant the seedlings. In summer 2020, Seedling Deed employed 200 youngsters in total. The work is done by young people under the age of 18 and the practical planting of the seeds is being coordinated by the local 4H associations. Over 200 local associations hire and issue employment contracts for the young employees. Employees also receive training for the job.
It is a natural way to improve themes that 4H Finland considers important. These include sustainable growth, biodiversity and employment for young people. In years and decades to come, forests that grow from Seedling Deeds will become learning environments for children and youth involved in 4H activities.
Emma Ilmonen & Eeli Salmela, 4H Finland