GNF - Nature Summer Camps 2004
Nature Summer Camps 2004 – Many hands support the Living Lakes initiative
 Summer Camps

In 2004, for the second time the Nature Summer Camps for young people took place. 85 volunteers from all over Germany set out to support six Living Lakes projects by working for two to four weeks between June and September in different lake areas. The participants were DaimlerChrysler and Lufthansa employees. Both companies have supported the Living Lakes initiative for several years. The collaboration is being extended and strengthened by the employees’ commitment to the Nature Summer Camps.


The Nature Summer Camp’s aim is to inspire environmental awareness and practical nature conservation among participants. Participants work on-site together with the local population and thus demonstrate to the local people that there is an international interest in protecting their respective lake area.

The Nature Summer Camps locations are spread over four continents:


Nestos Lakes - Greece

Together with the Living Lakes Partner EPO, the participants worked at the lakes and lagoons in the Nestos Delta, located in northeastern Greece. The volunteers restored wetlands, measured water levels, observed and counted birds. Furthermore, they helped to install a nature trail, maintain buffer zones that filter waters heavily used by agriculture and collected garbage in environmentally sensitive areas. This exemplary commitment can be seen as a sign for the local population  to become more involved themselves in beneficial environmental activities.

Lake Baikal - Siberia, Russia

Starting in Moscow the Nature Summer Camp participants went to Lake Baikal on a five day trip on the Trans-Siberian-Railway. Our partners at Lake Baikal are the environmental organisations "FIRN" and "GRAN" in Ulan-Ude. Together with local young adults the team installed an eco-park, cleaned mountain rivers, maintained and signposted nature trails. To experience the Russian way of life the volunteers were accommodated by local families who were very interested in the young people and their work. The Summer Camp managed to draw the local population’s attention to the important work of the Living Lakes partner.

Poyang Lake - China
Due to very basic living conditions China offers a very particular challenge for the Summer Camp participants. At Lake Poyang, the largest freshwater lake in China, together with young Chinese volunteers they helped to repair a visitor’s centre and a bird observation tower as well as build information panels for visitors to the nature reserve. In order to sensitise the local people for both the beauty of the area and the threats to nature, the participants assisted the Living Lakes partners in an educational campaign concerning environmental protection. Furthermore the young people helped to design and construct a photo exhibition in Nanchang.
Lake Võrtsjärv and Lake Peipsi - Estonia

Estonia attracted the Nature Summer Camp participants with its more than 1,000 lakes. Because of the partly nearly untouched nature the new EU-member state offers unique prospects for nature conservation. At Lake Võrtsjärv, Estonias largest lake, and Lake Peipsi, Europe’s fourth largest lake, the Living Lake partners ELF and the Lake Võrtsjärv Agency are active. This summer they were supported by the busy volunteers. Among reed-cutting and maintenance work of trails the participants assisted in the restoration of an old fishing village and landscape conservation in the Alam-Pedja und Emajõe-Suursoo nature reserve.

Lake Chapala - Mexico

Lake Chapala is in danger of disappearing because of overexploitation of water resources and was therefore proclaimed the ‘Threatened Lake of the Year 2004’ by the GNF. A very specific place for a Summer Camp! Nine German volunteers placed water level checkmarks, removed non-indigenous plants, erected information panels along trails and installed trash cans. Participants also assisted in the creation of information brochures and took pictures for the year 2005 calendar.

St. Lucia Lake - South Africa

Like last year most applicants chose the South Africa-Summer Camp but only 16 participants were able to take part in this especially exciting camp. Together with the Wildlands Trust, the young people worked at the Crocodile Center, measuring juvenile crocodiles, counting big and small mammals in nature reserves. Together with the "black communities" they worked in school projects and training projects. All this amidst the impressive scenery of Lake St. Lucia.

POEMA - Brazil

For five DaimlerChrysler employees an additional camp was organized at the program Poverty and Environment in Amazonia (POEMA) in Brazil. The main objective of POEMA is the improvement of living conditions of the local people through the sustainable use of the rainforests natural resources. The volunteers supported local project communities, ran a water pipe and also installed a water filtration system.