Part 1 of 2 of Go4BioDiv International Youth Summit in the Bavarian Forest
Day 1: After almost 12 hours of travel, in my case, from Freiburg to Frankfurt to Falkenstein, 47 nationality-diverse participants arrived at the Bavarian Forest. The organizers assigned us to our respective “tents” that became our house for the next ten days. Not the typical tarps, mind you, but houses like the oriental and airy Vietnam hut to the Spartan abode from Benin. I stayed in a five-star tent with proper beds. The cold nights though were a bane! We wrapped the day up around a campfire with Bavarian beer and Stockbrot.
Day 2: The organizers officially welcomed us to the Wilderness Camp at the foot of the Falkenstein. We were separated into three groups, and my group hiked into the Bavarian National Park. We witnessed and discussed issues on forest management, or lack thereof. Not managing is the National Park administration’s management strategy. It’s not ineffectiveness, rather, management is left to nature’s way. The bark beetle that is viewed by many as a culprit to the deterioration of the forest, is considered a natural part of the forest’s system. Only minor management practices are employed on the forest regarding this issue, such as cutting down infected trees that may fall along foot paths.
We discussed the European Commission’s Natura 2000 program while we were filmed by the state television network. We had our claim to our three minutes of fame a few days later in the prime time, Abendschau (Night show)!
Day 3: To better appreciate the concept of biodiversity, we had an agro-biodiv breakfast. Some tables had more food variety than the others. This introduced us to the rest of the lecture that day on access to genetic resources and benefits sharing, protection of forests, and ecological footprint. That night, we started working on our Youth Summit Declaration and activities for the expo in Bonn.
Day 4: A trip to Fraeunau taught us the basics of glass-blowing, as well as the town’s rich history in the glass industry that is well-preserved in the Glass Museum. Earlier, we colored the massive ecological footprint that we exhibited in Bonn.
Day 5: We continued working with our respective group, and presented the first draft of the Declaration to the whole participants. In the afternoon, we had hiked up to the Watzlikhain.
(To be continued…)