Germany has 39 UNESCO world heritage sites. One of these is the Wadden Sea. The environmental pedagogue Ulrike Lamp gives the guests of the Nature & Youth hostel in Tönning an insight into this fascinating biosphere.
From the crest of the “Süder” dike in Vollerwiek, only a few kilometres to the west of the youth hostel in Tönning, one has clear sight over the national park “Wadden Sea of Schleswig-Holstein” with its sleech fields and tidal inlets. It makes up the UNESCO world heritage site “Wadden Sea” together with the Lower Saxon, Hamburg and the dutch tidelands. “It’s the largest continuous area of tideland on earth”, says the biologist Ulrike Lamp. Being a stopover site for migrating birds, it is immensely important. “It is vital to protect these natural areas. But it is just as important to get people interested in the beauty and singularity of the Wadden Sea!”. “With their organised events for school classes, tourists and families, youth hostels, like the one in Tönning, can make a large contribution to sustainable nature and culture tourism. So I’m very pleased that the GYHA is now an official cooperation partner of the association of UNESCO world heritage sites in Germany.”
Specific Environmental Education
The Nature & Youth Hostel Tönning has taken a leading role in this area. “We offer many programmes about the world heritage Wadden Sea. In these programmes we cooperate with the information centre in the Wadden Sea National Park in Schleswig-Holstein, the “Multimar”. The programmes are designed for children in primary schools all the way to high school students and families. “Even students visit us regularly!” The package “Wadden Sea” consists of single modules, that can be put together at will. They include a survey of the Wadden Sea, continuing the research in the Water lab, a guided trip to “Multimar”, a presentation on the mud flats as a biosphere, and extra trips like a boat trip on the Eider. “It is important for us that our guests have the chance to explore the Wadden Sea on their own. For us, that is the key to sustainable environmental education.
Ulrike Lamp graduated from university as a biologist, her focal points are zoology and botany. Since 1999 she has been planning, organising and managing the eco-pedagogic programmes in the Nature & Youth hostel in Tönning.
Exploration of the Wadden Sea
Just on nine o’clock, two and a half hours before low tide, Ulrike Lamp meets up with grade 10 pupils in front of the youth hostel. Together they travel to Vollerwiek, and from there they go on a two hour tour through the mud flats, equipped with buckets, dip nets and digging forks.
Back in the youth hostel, she gets changed and quickly goes to her office, because a few teachers, that are with fifth grade pupils in Tönning this week, would like to go on a boat tour on the Eider. So Ulrike Lamp calls the shipping company and organises the tickets.
After she organised the boat trip and how the classes will get there, Ulrike Lamp takes a break. “When the weather is nice, I like to go outside, or I read the latest publications on our national Park.”, she says.
After lunch she meets up with two groups of tenth grade pupils in the water lab to examine the crabs, worms and mussels they collected in the morning and intensify what they had learned.
The Journey of the Crabs
While the first group is still in the water lab, the other group looks at the journey each crab goes through, from the nets on the north sea coast to the refrigerator in the super market. “The pupils acquire the information on their own and present it to the rest of the group.”
Now the last details for the following day have to be organised. Together with Maria Schmidt, who is doing a voluntary ecological year at the youth hostel in Tönning, Ulrike Lamp discusses the following day’s schedule.