From 10-16 June the second part of the exchange project ‘We Young People See Nature’ took place. The first part had been in the Netherlands in October 2016. The exchange project evolves around bringing youth and nature closer together and is an initiative by Eurosite Board member Kazimierz Rabski and Magosia Torbe from Society for the Coast Poland and individual Eurosite member Hans Hofland from the advice agency Holag in the Netherlands.
During exchanges, youngsters between the ages 14-16 from a Dutch and a Polish school are introduced to nature. The project leaders let the youth experience nature, teach them how to value the environment, and elaborate on the history, landscape development and land use of the visited areas. The importance and value of Natura 2000 areas are often discussed throughout the field trips. In conncection to that, project leaders have the teens discuss the subject of the role of Europe in nature conservation.
All the while, the field trips and discussions are focused around photography. The camera is considered the tool for recording the subjects and to grasp nature in its essence. Photographs are reviewed during the evenings, and after a selection an annual photo book is developed.
To the Odra Delta
The young Dutch participants were warmly received upon their arrival in Poland on 10 June. During the second day, the assignment was to take a bicycle and a camera and experience the environment. Particularly special was the moment white-tailed eagles were flying over. Dutch students were very amazed and excited, whereas the Polish students were used to such sightings.
The field trip tot he Odra Delta took place on Monday, where The Czaronicin area with its Konik horses, wild boars, deer and Cranes was the absolute highlight of the trip. During the rest of the week, participants visited the city of Stettin (capturing nature in the city), a cliff on the Baltic coast, and celebrated Europe Day – where the mayor of Stepnica opened the photo exposition. He placed great emphasis on the value of exchange projects like We Young People See Nature. Eurosite would also like to emphasise the importance of such projects, since they introduce new generations to nature and Natura 2000 and have great educational value. For instance, during this exchange, particpants learned about subjects like urban green infrastructure, landscape development, biodiversity in the region, climate change, and coastal development.
Remarkable aspects of the exchange
Youth can entertain themselves without WiFI. Experiencing is participating, and value for nature is priceless. Support for nature conservation is important. Cultures may be different, but the participating youth is not bothered by cultural differences. Both the cultural aspect and the awareness it creates for nature conservation make We Young People See Nature a project that should maintain its activities. Eurosite wishes the organisation and the participants the best of luck with their next exchange to the Dutch island of Texel in September 2017. For more information, please visit the project website.
Photo credit: All pictures belong to ‘We Young People See Nature’.