On this website, we present the results of our Erasmus-project ‘Back to nature – the open air is our classroom’ which we worked on with our partners from Ireland and Poland from 2016 to 2018. Feel encouraged to browse over our findings about environmental issues, signs of climate change in the three participating countries, examples of lessons which took place working on the above topics and new paedagogical concepts which fit the subject-matter of our project and could be applied elsewhere.
We were asked to give an interview about our project after it had ended in October 2018 which we were very glad to give. We were all sure that the aims of the project have been reached, that all participants got on that well that they want to work in another project together again and that there has been a real change of mind amongst the participating pupils and teachers with regard to a more sustainable lifestyle.
The third and last mobility which took place in Germany, was based on the knowledge we had gained during the first and second mobility to Ireland and Poland. We layed a major emphasis on our area being a biosphere reserve with the special flora and fauna required for such an area. The Irish were really impressed by the acreage of woods in our area and just as much by the renewablew energy, especially solar panels which are to be found on private houses as well as on whole fields in the area of Birkenfeld where we visited the Umweltcampus. The other experience our partners were especially impressed by was the close vicinity to France which they got to know while canoeing from France to Germany. A third highlight was our visit to Trier during which our guests were stunned by the impressive visibility of Roman history as well as the beauty of the city as a whole.
Having done sports together in the three participating countries, having become conscious of the environmental issues of each country and having got to know the special traits of each country we are eager on continuing our partnership in another project and we are sure that we have raised the awareness in all participants for a sustainable lifestyle.
On the second day of the German mobility, we visited the biosphere reserve firstly in the form of a barefoot path in Ludwigswinkel set in a beautiful landscape near a little river. We walked along the path with bare feet and experienced the different textures and temperatures of the material under our feet and enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere. Then we went to the biosphere house in Fischbach where the diverse geological, biological and ecological phenomena of this area are presented. Our guests and their hosts really enjoyed the nearby treetop path as well. As soon as it was dark, we went on an ecological guided night walk in the forest during which we experienced sounds of animals which our guide explained to us and saw water bats with the help of a special torch and a detecting device.
Our visit to the Ecological Campus in Birkenfeld impressed all participants in many ways: firstly, it is the only campus in the whole of Germany that produces its energy itself and does not have any emissions due to a highly developed technology. Secondly, it was amazing to see with which enthusiasm the students and tutors guided us through the different departments and thirdly, we were allowed to visit laboratories and to witness which tiny creatures live in the nearby National Park Hunsrück-Hochwald under microscopes. Again our guests from Ireland were fascinated by the amount of solar panel fields which the government supported in this area which hasn’t got any other large firms.
On the third day of our mobility, our combined Erasmus group went to the Polish-German Spohnsh Haus in Gersheim/Saarland for an ‘ecological backpack-tour’. In the morning, groups were formed who worked on diverse topics, for example the ecological footprint of producing a pair of jeans, the ecological footprint of several foods and their transport, i.e. the environmental effects of our modern wasteful lifestyle. As an aftereffect, the female Irish teacher made plans to buy clothes more consciously in future. In the afternoon, the group went into the woods for a hike which entailed different stops that demonstrated in practical ways like a seesaw or a globe on strings held by the whole of the group the subject-matter which the group had been working on in the morning. All participants were really impressed by the outcome of this eventful day.
The whole group became conscious of the importance of living consciously with regard to consuming food, materials and natural resourses like fuel and the devastating effects of a careless and wasteful lifestyle.