Volunteer programmes

Volunteer programmes
Some providers offer the opportunity to undertake voluntary work in the ecological sphere. © lia.la/ pixelio.de

Involved sectors

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishery, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection, Other: Private peolpe, NGO, Companies

Affected habitats

Forest, Shrubs and wooded areas, Bogs and fens, wetlands, Alpine habitats, Grassland, Arable land, Areas for settlements and transport, Waterbodies

Description

Some providers offer various target groups, e.g. families, companies, schools and private individuals, the opportunity to undertake voluntary work in the ecological sphere (e.g. in woodlands). Participants thus make an active contribution to forest, climate and species protection while gaining a very intensive experience of the ecosystem at the same time. The purpose of the volunteering is to improve habitat quality at specific project sites. Relevant programmes also inform the volunteers about connections within the various habitats and make a contribution to sensitisation and awareness-raising. Focussing measures on the creation of a biotope network is an option in this context. Cooperation through current "corporate social responsibility" initiatives also helps to raise environmental awareness and increase knowledge of the importance of connectivity measures in an up-to-date way while drawing attention to the problems arising in this context.

Impact

Ecological impact  
Improvement or preservation of habitats As a result of the volunteer work, and depending on the location and the measures undertaken, habitat quality can be improved.
Element of ecological network By gearing projects towards ecological connectivity, activities focus on relevant elements.
Other Volunteering raises awareness of nature conservation and, depending on the thematic focus, of the importance of connectivity measures.
Time of realisation for measure Weeks: Depends on the specific measures being carried out. To increase participants' motivation, it is beneficial to achieve rapidly visible results.
Impact scope Local (municipality): Assignments are carried out at local level. The impact increases with appropriate large-scale planning.

Implementation

Implementation period Weeks: Often, assignments last one week, but may only last for a few days. Several groups may contribute to the implementation of Individual measures.
Frequency Non-recurring, Recurring: Single or repeated action, depending on type of measure.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Low (1'000-10'000 EUR): Tools and vehicles must be available, as well as experts to explain and manage the projects; publicity work.
Socio-economic impacts No direct impact: Relevant initiatives may also be attractive to tourists, and positive regional economic effects can be achieved.
Sources of financing Private sponsor
Legal situation Relevant organisations cooperate closely with forestry or nature conservation.

Further information

Evaluation The Bergwald Project has worked since 1987 to preserve the mountain forest with a main focus on Austria, Switzerland and Germany and, since 2006/7, Ukraine and Catalonia. WWF Switzerland also offers volunteering opportunities for companies with a focus on dry meadows in Lower Engadine (ECONNECT pilot region Inn-Etsch).
Information Switzerland: http://www.bergwaldprojekt.ch http://www.bergwaldprojekt.de http://www.wwf.ch/de/aktiv/engagement/freiwilligenarbeit/

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