Education for sustainable development

"Forest and water project in Ruhla - water in time".


The year 2023 has been declared the "Year of Water" by the town of Ruhla. The UNESCO Global Geopark Thuringia Inselsberg - Drei Gleichen took up the topic together with the local AWO youth club "Freetime" and developed an ESD offer (Education for Sustainable Development). On three project days from 10-12 July 2023, the young people devoted themselves to the topic of water and forest with their diverse interrelationships. The focus was on the nature discovery trail "Am Breitenberg" (the GeoRoute 10 of the Geopark) with the Green Classroom. Through experiments with water, wood and forest soil, the children learned what simple things everyone can do every day to use the valuable resources of water and wood carefully and prudently so that we can preserve them in the future.

The children were guided by the staff of the Geopark Management Office (e.t.a. Sachverständigenbüro Reyer), Kerstin Fohlert and Nancy Schröter, as well as the geotourism staff of the town of Ruhla and tour guide of the Kittelsthal dripstone cave, Jonathan Harjes. A total of ten interested children from Ruhla, grades 6-8, from the Gymnasium and Regelschule decided to take part in this holiday programme and, together with youth club leader Silvia Gürtler, were eager and interested.

On Monday, the children explored the mica slate on the Breitenberg with hammer and magnifying glass and examined the forest soil that developed on it with a drill stick. At an old pile site, the children even found charcoal remains. In addition, each child built their own water filter and observed how filtration takes place in the soil with different materials and how much water a soil can absorb.

Tuesday was all about water. The children learned about the earth's water cycle in a playful way and took water samples at different places in Ruhla, which we then tested for pH value and conductivity. One of the local lifeguards of the Ruhla forest pool, Hans-Joachim Ziegler, gave us an insight into the inflow and outflow as well as the purification of the pool water, which is fed by the local mountain stream. As a crowning finale, the children convinced themselves of the good water quality by swimming.

On Wednesday, the children got an insight into the work of foresters: the district forester of the Breitenberg, Steffen Schmuck, explained to us about forest conversion and the current challenges of climate change for the forest. The children realised that wood is an important renewable local raw material and also learned about all the important tools of the forester and were able to try some of them out themselves. The forest games were about proving oneself in strength and dexterity. In the afternoon, the two-day homework was evaluated: each child was to measure and record the water consumption using the water meter. Together we worked out for which activities water is consumed daily and how each individual can reduce the demand.

At the end, all the children received a certificate and a Geopark button and were visibly proud of it. Everyone is already looking forward to the last project day of the forest and water project, which will take place in the autumn holidays. Here, we will plant trees of the future at the nature adventure trail "Am Breitenberg" with the district forester Steffen Schmuck and each child will take over the sponsorship for their planted tree.


For the project group:

Dipl.-Geographin Nancy Schröter

e.t.a. Surveyor's Office Reyer

Management Office of the UNESCO Global Geopark Thuringia Inselsberg - Drei Gleichen

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