GNF - 6th Project Meeting get grEEN in Germany

Environmental Education for Nature Conservation




Topic of the meeting:

Radolfzell at Lake Constance (Germany)

9 - 11 February 2012

Environmental Education for Nature Conservation


Project implementation


The sixth get grEEN meeting was held in Radolfzell at Lake Constance. Focal points were the discussion on the necessity and use of social networks as well as different forms of innovative concepts of environmental education. Furthermore, the participants visited different Radolfzell city facilities related to environment, energy and education. 


First thematic focal point was the discussion on the necessity and use of social media in environmental educational work. Today we can hardly refrain from the use of social networks to reach people. At the same time, it became clear that „regular feeding” the networks requires time and staff. At the city administration of Villacanas for instance, an expert is exclusively responsible for social media. For the rather small Polish organisation ETNA, it is almost impossible to hire someone exclusively to manage a social network. At the beginning of the meeting, project partners presented their participation in social networks such as Twitter, Tuenti and Facebook.

Field Visits 


Geocaching – an innovative environmental education approach

In preparation for the guided geocaching excursion in the afternoon, the concept of the geocaching nature treasure hunt of the Tourismus Untersee organisation (Lower Lake Constance tourism organisation) was presented to workshop participants. Geocaching is a kind of electronic paper chase or treasure hunting using a GPS system receiver. Treasure hunting: Five stations had to be found. Each station is located in a nature reserve at Lower Lake Constance and provides lots of information about the nature, landscape and species diversity. To get the coordinates for the next station, the treasure hunters have to answer questions concerning the respective nature reserve.

Despite the freezing cold in Radolfzell, the Spanish and Polish attendees participated with great enthusiasm in the practical geocaching activity. Guided by a member of the Tourismus-Information Radolfzell, the participants had to find several geo-caching locations. Successful hunt increased the motivation to discover the next locations. All in all, the participants found that the geocaching concept was a very successful approach to get people enthusiastic about their environs.


Volkshochschule Radolfzell (Adult Education Centre)

To get to learn educational programmes for adults, the group was invited to visit the Volkshochschule (VHS) Radolfzell. Mr. Donath, head of the VHS, explained the concept of the school and particularly the courses related to sustainability issues. Mr. Renz, from VHS, gave a lecture on the concept of sustainability in the kindergarten (playschool). 

This kind of public instruction, mainly financed by public funds, was unknown to the get grEEN group so far, and thus of particular interest. The Spanish colleagues decided to try to implement the overall approach to environmental issues in the education system of the city of Villacanas (to implement the environmental component into different courses being offered by the city).


Bio-energy Villages

The group visited two bio-energy villages. Under guidance of Volker Kromrey from the Bodensee-Stiftung (Lake Constance Foundation) the concepts of two different bio-energy power plants in the villages Randegg and Mauenheim were explained. The concept of bio-energy villages had already been presented during the fourth meeting in Spain on "Renewable Energies“, and attracted wide interest.


Environmental Department, City of Radolfzell

The head of the Environmental Department of the city of Radolfzell, Christoph Stocker, joined the group at the bio- energy plant in Möggingen. First, he presented the concept of the bio-energy village of Möggingen, which is operated by the Stadtwerke Radolfzell (Municipal Utility). Before setting up the biogas plant, the City of Radolfzell had launched a feasibility study, because, contrary to the other visited bio-energy villages, the wood fuel comes from the forests around Radolfzell, owned by the City of Radolfzell. To get additional material for the energy generation, for some time now, the Stadtwerke have started to undertake the care and maintenance of natural hedges along agriculturally used areas. These measures contribute to the preservation of diverse bird habitats as well. Additionally, Mr Stocker explained further environmental education activities of the City of Radolfzell such as a “fruit variety garden” for standard sized fruit trees, fruit tree pruning courses or landscape maintenance through special cattle breeds. 



Steffen Holzmann, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, presented an innovative campaign “Wir sind Aussteiger” against the use of nuclear power (


Klemens Gieles presented his WaLuBo project. The idea behind this approach is that teaching primary school children about the environment creates a feeling of respectfulness and affection for nature and develops a positive feeling regarding nature and environment, which later in life may enable them to intuitively choose sustainable behavioural decisions. Before our brain may consider making a decision, most often the feeling has already made the decision. 90% of any decision is emotional; we only use 10 % of our brains. Experiential education methods aim at taking this into account. Experiencing nature outside is considered as the basis for developing an emotional access to nature and thus sustainable behavior. Lots of children however, particularly „city kids“, living in low-income and uneducated families, have very few chances for this kind of experience and we should try to reach them in their homes, their groups and at their leisure activities and create interest in the environment. The promotion of intuitive behaviour, development of a positive feeling regarding nature and environment, fantasy and knowledge for sustainable living are the goals of the WaLuBo website concept.


The ORNI-School (ORNI Schule) education concept was presented by Katja Tolkachyova. „ORNI“ stands for Ornithology,  „School“ imparts bird-lore. It is unique throughout Germany and offers education for children and adults as well as training and advanced training to bird watcher.


Functional Aims:

  • To mediate knowledge about birds and their local and global networks in the environment.
  • To learn to appreciate and to experience our natural and cultural landscape.
  • To reveal the environmental change and its influence on the birds world as well as the possibility to act for everybody.
  • To pay attention to nature conservation and to consider a human being as a part of nature.

Vision: Transmission of Nature Observation Science is a service and implies a professional offer.



Workshop participants evaluated the meeting very positively and gave their opinion to single programme points. VHS is a very good concept with interesting subjects where you can always include a module regarding environment. Very exciting was also the visit of the Energy Villages. The WaLuBo concept was considered to be a very good idea and innovative idea addressing children’s hearts and not the mind. And ORNI school would have a good potential as a project on international level. Birds and ornithologists are everywhere and a project could be transferred easily to another region.


During the meeting the responsibilities of the project partners in work on the common Working Plan were distributed and the tasks for following month were set up.


As for this moment quite a lot of interesting ideas for common work have been assessed, the project partners decided to set up a list with further cooperation opportunities. The common Working Plan as well as the ideas list will be completed during the final project meeting in June 2012.



Ayuntamiento de Villacañas, Spain: Angeles Pontes, Julio Raboso Rocío Simón Cruza, Sagrario Rivera, Teresa Aparicio


ETNA, Poland: Roman Guziak, Kamil Łęczycki


Global Nature Fund, Germany: Silvia Jablonski, Katja Tolkachyova


German Society for Sustainable Development AGENDA21 (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Nachhaltigen Entwicklung)/ WaLuBo-Project, Germany: Klemens Gieles


Volkshochschule VHS Radolfzell, Germany: Uwe Donath


Lake Constance Foundation, Germany: Volker Kromrey


City of Radolfzell, Dep. Environment, Germany: Christoph Stocker

 Bio-energy power plant in the village Randegg, Germany
 Interior of the bio-energy power plant in Randegg
 Information board to the bio-energy power plant in Mauenheim, Germany
 Bio-energy power plant in the village Mauenheim, Germany
 Presentation Klemens Gieles
 Results of the workshop
 Presentation Katja Weickmann
 Aims for the project