Practice week at the school on Heidenstein in Schwörstadt
In close collaboration with the elementary school Schwörstadt, a local working group of specialists and professionals was created under the direction of the "Forest Creates Future" foundation. From the beginning, the aim of the group was to introduce the practice of sustainable and ecological management to young people. It is a clear insight into the reality and development policy of the FRG on the example of Zambia in Africa. This project is additionally supported by Engagement Global with financial support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
For five days, the students of the 4th grade of the elementary school Schwörstadt learn and experience what sustainable water and forest management means in this region. In comparison, the 20 students learn how the coexistence of humans and nature in Zambia and Madagascar takes place and how to handle the resource of drinking water there.
What were the highlights?
- Forest and natural history excursion
- Studies of water quality
- visit hydropower plants
- Sightseeing waterwork Maulburg
- Excursion to the treatment plant Herten
- Change of perspectives from the perspective of Africa
- Cultural experience Zambia and Madagascar
- Comparison Zambia with Germany
- constructive future work
At the end of the exciting practice week is a new beginning. The primary school at Heidenstein in Schwörstadt is moving closer to the Lubanga Shabongwe Basic School in Namwala Zambia and is partnering.
District forester Thomas Hirner brings the forest life, the functions of the forest and the cycles of air and water in many different ways to the pupils. With search games, sequences of research and explanations of the many mutual questions, the group opens up the native forest piece by piece. In between, Uli Hälker indulges the children with a snack, and that on all practice days.
Under the guidance of Matthias Kipf and Andreas Tröndle from the District Office Lörrach, the students investigate life in the Gresgenbach. Under the microscope, this becomes visible, which is barely visible to the naked eye. Based on the presence of certain small animals and cancers, the children are able to determine the water quality. But also the determination of plants and trees was in the foreground of the biological investigations. Finally, a hike along the river "Meadow" with visits of snail and turbine power plants followed.
"How is school in Japan going, in Greenland or in Spain?" Governing mayor Christine Trautwein-Domschat is involved in the group work "School in Japan". After this step, Johannes van der Weijden comes to Africa. With multi-faceted little stories and a lot of feeling for the children, he introduces them to the African world of animals, plants, school situation and water problems. Targeted selected images and samples of exotic fruits supported his authentic presentation and made them an experience. So prepared, the whole class dived into the reality of one of the poorest countries in the world, Madagascar. The fresh impressions of the project manager Helmut Hälker from the Madagascar trip in April of this year raised many questions. The children's concern about predicament in Madagascar's life and education was only one side of the coin. Amazingly constructive were the many questions and comments of the pupils. Not the misery of the people but the search for improvement and possible solutions stood in the foreground of the consideration.
First of all, the pupils experience how groundwater is purified, enriched with lime and provided germfree for the supply of households. Matthias Kipf from the Landratsamt and Andreas Gaensle, the water master in the Maulburg waterworks, not only explain the processes and sources of drinking water production in the region, but illustrate this in concrete terms during the excursion through the plant park. For the students, the next step is to clarify the question of water purification, after the newly won fresh water has flowed through our households, toilets, showers and washing machines. The sewage treatment plant Herten turns out to be extremely suitable to clarify this question. With simple consumer-oriented questions, Jürgen Nass, head of the Herten sewage treatment plant, picks up the 4th grade and introduces them effortlessly. Amazingly deep, he can enter into the elaborate processes of water purification with age-appropriate language and illustrate it with pictures and videos in the training room of the plant. The subsequent visit allows to clarify the last questions. In the end, they all get a picture of the cleared, completely odorless and clear water just as the plant leaves the Rhine. This is also necessary, because a few miles further the city of Basel draws its drinking water from the Rhine.
On the final day, during the panel discussion, the children demonstrated their own and decided opinions on which topics they consider explosive or less important in a country like Madagascar. The round consisted of four children, the mayor Christine Trautwein-Domschat and the moderator Helmut Hälker. As member of the board of the foundation “Forest Creates Future” he picks up the pupils’ focal points. In the future he will primarily strive for reforestation, child protection and education in the regions around the national parks.
Johannes van der Weijden succeeded in working out with the children some significant differences between Zambia and Germany. This also applies to the example of homemade toys of the Zambian children in comparison to the high-tech offer in our consumer-oriented world. It was therefore all the more astonishing that the pupils were not only enthusiastic about the construction of the simple push-pull vehicles made of old plastic bottles and wood, but also left them out in a hurry to make the schoolyard unsafe. It often takes much less than we believe.
For headmaster Björn Tscharntke, it is clear that in the future he will stick to such close-to-practice concepts and systematically and increasingly incorporate them into the curricula.