UNESCO World Heritage beech forest Grumsin – catalysator of ecosystem-based sustainable development

Hallo Liebe Leute!


My name is Anna and I am from Czechia. I’ve been contemplating applying for IVY basically the whole course of my master studies ever since I’ve been told about this opportunity in one of the classes. So, after my graduation I realised there is no time like today to go and experience something that’s been on my mind for so long. And I’m glad I have! Although, kicking my experience off amid global pandemic almost made me believe in the opposite, everything eventually fell into place and with the help of the IVY team I was able to volunteer first remotely from the comforts of my home and later arrive to my host organisation of Angermünde City Administration in Brandenburg, Germany.


Actually, the remote volunteering had its advantages as I utilized that time during June by soaking up all the necessary information about the project I applied to volunteer for called BEECH POWER (World Heritage BEECH Forests: emPOWERing and catalyzing an ecosystem-based Sustainable Development). That helped me to get used to the new environment and allowed me to become an asset to the project much faster once arriving to my placement organisation in Germany.


The project is connected to the component part `Beech forest Grumsin` that my IVY placement host organisation has on its territory, only 8 km away from the city. The component part `Beech forest Grumsin` is one component part of the transnational serial UNESCO natural World Heritage site named `Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe` stretching amongst 78 component parts in 12 European countries.


The city administration is involved in conducting together with stakeholders a participatory situation analysis and strategy development and implementing additional activities in terms of communication with partners and establishing new networks, preparing activities to involve children and youth and to connect local residents to their World Heritage Beech forest. Additionally, they invest in researching, documentation writing and more. Even though the BEECH POWER Academy with our Croatian partners planned for this summer and autumn had to be cancelled due to Corona, there are couple of events in preparation. And I get to be part of it all.


The conditions in Brandenburg have been kind to us, so we used this opportunity and arranged a pilot marketing activity by the City of Angermünde within the BEECH POWER-project during the month of August addressing the creation of functioning communication and cooperation among all concerned stakeholders involved in visitor information as well as secure that they are able to provide quality and up-to-date background information to the visitors of UNESCO World Heritage component part Beech Forest Grumsin. Participants were informed about ongoing steps within Grumsin and were given the opportunity to exchange information, share experiences and collect ideas for further improvements.


This was my first experience with stakeholder involvement within my IVY placement and I had the chance to assist the preparation of this activity as well as the implementation itself. That included picking the right place, setting up the venue, securing equipment and catering as well as taking over the photo documentation of the event. And finally – networking!



It is amazing to see how the abstract principles of cohesion policy and the motivation to keep improving the state of our environment and quality of life gets translated into a real-life activity positively influencing local community and its region.


`And why all that? ` you may ask. Well, The City of Angermünde with the `Beech forest Grumsin` on its territory joint up with four other World Heritage Beech Forest component parts in Europe for the project within Interreg Central Europe under the priority `Cooperating on natural and cultural resources for sustainable growth in CENTRAL EUROPE`.


To explain the importance and uniqueness of the beech forests - The beech is a fascinating and resilient tree species that was once after the end of the last Ice age covering large areas of Central Europe. Due to anthropogenic activities the large, undisturbed beech forests with their rich ecosystem are more and more scarce. You find more information about the European Beech forests and the World Heritage site under: http://www.weltnaturerbe-buchenwaelder.de/en.html


Hence, in the Interreg project BEECH POWER five Beech Forest World Heritage component parts collaborate on delivering outcomes in the work packages focusing on:

  1. Empowering World Heritage Beech communities as model for ecosystem-based sustainable development

  2. Creation of a sustainable model for buffer zone management around World Heritage Beech forests

  3. Development of an exemplary European Beech Forest Quality Standard and Certification System

And Angermünde City Administration as municipality deals mainly with the first work package, which is reflected in the activities we get to prepare. So encouraged by the overall success of the first activity we are looking forward to hold a participatory Strategy development workshop with local stakeholders in the upcoming week as well as we are working hard on the preparation of Autumn holiday outdoor art school for local children as a part of my Citizen Engagement Activity within IVY. But more about that exciting stuff later.


Liebe Grüße,


Anna

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