The purpose of the SIRENE network is to bring together researchers in environmental and sustainability education and to increase the impact and visibility of these fields in the Finnish society. The network is used to strengthen the dialogue between the humanities and natural sciences and to build connections between scientific and artistic research.
SIRENE highlights environmental and sustainability perspectives in education and the society more strongly and cross-sectionally. The key is to convey knowledge between researchers and practitioners in the field. Sustainable solutions require more intense, in-depth interdisciplinary cooperation and research. The aim of SIRENE is to inspire discussion where multiple voices are heard. The members of the network believe that bold, interdisciplinary cooperation can give rise to new approaches to environmental and sustainability research and practice.
SIRENE aims to increase interaction between researchers and teachers, environmental educators, schools and educational institutions and other societal bodies. The results of studies conducted within the network can be utilized and applied not only in all levels of education, but also in the field of informal learning.
SIRENE was founded in 2016 by twenty researchers and experts in educational sciences, geography, environmental sciences and art education. In April 2016, a planning seminar was held in Tvärminne, Hanko, to decide on the name of the network, how it is organized, the creation of a website and a blog and the agenda for the first year of operation.
In 2016 and 2017, SIRENE received funding from the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation. The operations of the network were launched with this grant. Following the seminar in Tvärminne, in October of the same year, SIRENE organized an autumn seminar in Helsinki where the shared research interests of the members were surveyed and the future of the network was planned. At the same time, the SIRENE website was published (www.sirene.fi) and the SIRENE blog started (www.sirene.fi/blogi).
The steering group of SIRENE was expanded and diversified in the spring of 2018 so that the network would reach researchers and practitioners in environmental and sustainability education who work in different fields even better. As part of the reform, the research coordination group was incorporated into the steering group’s operations. The new steering group began its work in June 2018 and consists of the following people:
Sirpa Tani (Chair, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences), Essi Aarnio-Linnanvuori (WWF), Ann-Christin Furu (University of Helsinki), Maria Huhmarniemi (University of Lapland), Meeri Karvinen (Aalto University School of Engineering), Erkka Laininen (OKKA Foundation), Anna Lehtonen (University of Helsinki), Petteri Muukkonen (University of Helsinki), Anne Pellikka (University of Oulu), Ilkka Ratinen (University of Lapland), Mikko Simula (University of Jyväskylä), Pia Sjöblom (Åbo Akademi University), Anna Uitto (University of Helsinki), Veli-Matti Vesterinen (University of Turku), Noora Vikman (University of Eastern Finland), Veli-Matti Värri (University of Tampere), Lili-Ann Wolff (University of Helsinki), Henrika Ylirisku (Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture).