Reports of learning exchanges

Tutee: Baiba Bekiša, staff of the Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia
Host: Lower Saxonian Section of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ‘Flusslandschaft Elbe’ (Elbe River Landscape)
Date: 13-18/05/2013
Subject: Volunteer management as a tool for engaging local community

cPIYosEPClbBEzGyfwW7BifkmviRbtW9jQsaglgex7gI had a really intense week – I have learnt and seen many things relating to nature conservation, socio-economic development, preservation of cultural heritage, participated in interviews with local farmers for the Junior Ranger newspaper, joined an excursion about the project ‘Green belt’. Most important for me was to see how the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve concept is implemented in the region and how well the network of corporation is established with local authorities, farmers, volunteers, NGOs etc. I definitely have learnt a lot and I will take some good examples with me and will try to implement them in the North Vidzeme Biosphere Reserve. This exchange is also a good step towards closer cooperation between the Biosphere reserves in Germany and Latvia; we have many things in common. Particularly, I was impressed by the kind and warm welcome of the administration staff, everyone made my stay more memorable and I will remember our visits to different farms during the event “Kulturelle Landpartie. I also had a chance to meet Anna Brauer, who visited the North Vidzeme Biosphere Reserve in Latvia two years ago, and we had nice conversations on nature protection and shared our experiences obtained through the Grundtvig project ‚Volunteer management in European Parks‘.



Tutor: Sabine Stab, Chief of the Saxony Switzerland National Park Information Centre, Germany
Host: Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia
Date: 26/08-01/09/2012
Subject: Development of visitor/nature education centres, involvement of volunteers and local society, monitoring etc.

My impression is, that both sides profited broadly from the open-minded, comfortable, and pleasant learning situation at both Latvian National Parks. All the week the programme was perfectly prepared by the placement managers, and – even more important – I always felt cordially welcomed. There was a severe interest in all participating colleagues to share experiences and learn from each other. I found especially valuable that the typical problems in administration and every days tasks of a nature conservation information centre could be outlined and discussed very openly, and that by this, we were able to elaborate some very practical solutions. I learnt a lot about nature conservation in the Baltic states, including the administrative structure, the development of staff, and some of the current challenges – and was impressed about the pristine natural heritage which is taken care of in Latvia.



Tutor: Anna Brauer, Volunteer in the Niedersächsische Elbtalaue Biosphere Reserve
Host: Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia
Date: 05/09-25/09/2011
Subject: Environmental inspection work and nature education activities

Tutoring-Teilnehmerin in LettlandThis tutoring helped to start an exchange of knowledge and experiences between biosphere reserves. I experienced intercultural friendliness, learned a lot about the history and culture in Northern Europe (especially the Latvian and my own) and gained many helpful skills. I am grateful that I got a lot of support and thus, was able to experience this interesting time. I not only learned some beautiful Latvian words, but I got to know the friendliness of this people, the Latvian proud and respectful attidude towards nature and it’s powers and the high value of old cultural landscapes. Furthermore, I experienced the cultural differences as very worthy to train in international competence. I gained skills that will help me to find my place in my future working environment and I got a lot of ideas and plans what to do.