Danube Nature Guides

Danube Nature Guides as multipliers for raising awareness and advocacy
for cultural linkages and nature-based development options
along the Danube

Young Danube at the village of Beuron, next to the Naturschutzzentrum Obere Donau (Foto Schmidt-Halewicz)

For german participants of the educational project in 2018: information flyer see here.

In Germany, in public awareness the Danube represents a great east-west axis for various economic, cultural and historical relations as well as a blue and green corridor of nature. In Baden-Württemberg, people moreover link the Danube with the historical emigration of the “Donauschwaben” to south-east Europe which used boat transport on the Danube, starting in Ulm.

Nowadays other migrations occur in roughly reversed direction, and also growing contacts by trade and tourism contribute to the emerging cultural exchange axis along the Danube. Thereby, the Danube links regions with very different levels of the strength of the civil society, economic wealth, vividness of traditions, biodiversity and touristic destination value. Rural areas along the Danube in south east Romania are still very poor, with a lack of perspectives for the personal development of social and economic skills for young people, often resulting in emigration.

In the proposed project, German and Romanian Danube nature guides will be trained as multipliers in two regions along the Danube, as the Upper Danube in Baden-Württemberg and the Lower Danube in the counties Braila, Galati and Tulcea in Romania.

Lower Prut Floodplain Natural Park-Galati-Romania (Foto Florin Matei)

Building up on the existing linkages between the regions, several topics will be approached: the Danube as a blue-green corridor with a continuity of unique and diverse habitats for water-dependent flora and fauna, land use and human impacts on typical habitats in the floodplains, traditional and technically optimized agriculture and fisheries, the associated natural and cultural diversity and their opportunities for nature-based development, the concept of ecosystem services as an integrative approach by assessing the human benefits from natural resources, environmental education of the civil society, self-initiative and development of nature-based economic practices with a focus on nature-based tourism.

Two joint thematic field applications will be developed in Romania and Germany “Discover the Danube floodplain – field trips”, which specifically refer to conditions in the nature park „Upper Danube“ along the Danube in Baden-Württemberg and in the Lower Danube in south-east Romania, also referring to the protected areas of the Biosphere Reserve „Danube Delta“, the RAMSAR area “Small Wetland of Braila”, the “Lower Prut Floodplain Natural Park” (with 250 breeding bird species) and to the “Macin Mountains National Park” with its contrasting dry and humid vegetation complexes comparable to the “Schwäbische Alb” Biosphere Reserve.

During these thematic field applications 15 young adults at the age of 16 to 24 years from Romania will be trained together with 7 adults from Baden-Württemberg, who have already passed a German training course with a certification as a guide for aquatic ecology on Danube area (“wbw Gewässerführer”).

Thereby, the young Romanian participants will be supported even after the finish of the project by the German Gewässerführer through voluntary individual collaboration, which will help to the development of a lasting network of trained naturalists from both endpoints of the Danube corridor. The project will thereby contribute the visibility of nature-based tourism in Romania, and also support the future establishment of certified nature guides in Romania, too.

Learning about fish (Foto Schmidt-Halewicz)

Project Time: 2 Years – March 2017-Febr. 2019

Project applicant: Naturschule Region Bodensee e.V.

Main teachers in water biology and sustainability: Dr. Sabine Schmidt-Halewicz (D), Dr. Gabriela Costea (RO)

Project partner: Green East Corridor Association (GEC) (RO), Naturschutzzentrum Obere Donau (D)

Project budget: 66.235 Euro (Requested funding 49.635 Euro, Co-payment 9.300 Euro, Sponsorships 7.300 Euro)