The children’s motto at the Nagelfluhkette Nature Park is learning while playing between the forest and the bog. On the road with future Junior Rangers.
“Are we sure we want to start with the quiz right away?” asks Alexander Feurle. The nature park guide gets a resounding “yes” from the children around him. So the day starts with questions about flora and fauna Nagelflukete. Girls and boys are currently training to become junior rangers in the nature park. It’s the third and last day. It runs on foot from the Hörnerbahn mountain station near Bolsterlang via Ochsenkopf to the Ostertal at Gunzesried.
The first stop of the day is in half an hour. Today’s theme is the forest. “Why do you need a forest anyway?” asks ranger Florian Heinl, whom the children call Flo, and many hands answer. Children sit in front of him on the slope. “About the weather,” “As avalanche protection” and “About the game” were some of the answers the 29-year-old got. Another answer can be seen in the immediate view: on the other side of the valley behind the left shoulder of the instructor, the remains of a groove can be seen. The forest is also important for protection against such events, especially in the forest Allgaeu.
A forester trained in 2016 led the training of a junior ranger for the first time
Heinl is a Ranger with heart and soul and is clearly excited to pass that enthusiasm on to the next generation. Trained forest supervisor in 2016 supervised junior ranger training for the first time. Lady dog Fanny is always by his side. She is also a beloved companion of children.
After an hour’s walk, it’s time for lunch at the top of the Ochsenkopf. A summit book entry for all 17 young rangers should not be missing before the descent after snacks, about which there is still much to discover.
Junior Ranger training is for children between the ages of nine and twelve. Some of them had previously attended nature park schools. There are a total of four junior ranger camps in the program this summer, two of them on the Allgäu side of the nature park.
Why peat moss is important to the functioning of all nature
An important problem that still needs to be solved is the wetland. A large body of water in the nature park. Trainers show impressively why and how it works. Florian Heinl holds a piece of peat moss in his hand to express this. A lot of water is still running, even though it hasn’t rained in over a week. He then pours water over the moss again to demonstrate how much water it holds and why it is so important to the functioning of all nature.
It continues down through the forest and swamps. “You better not touch the plant,” shouts Alexander Feurl to the younger rangers standing in front of him. They had just discovered a blue monastery on the roadside. An impressive and beautiful plant, but also one of the most poisonous on the European continent, explains the 38-year-old. A qualified biologist considers these moments important. It does not make sense to work only with fixed elements of the program, but also to answer spontaneous discoveries and questions, as in the case of Eisenhut. The goal is to introduce children to nature in a fun and playful way so that they can later pass on their knowledge.
Making your own herbal curd in the Nagelfluhkette nature park is very popular
Meanwhile, the Grafenalp in Ostertal is almost reached, but there is one more highlight before the last part of the hike. This leaves Florian Heinl with something to explain again. So all the junior rangers sit up and listen. Many well-filled bushes are rooted behind Hal’s back. Some with rowanberries, others with marsh berries. How do you tell the difference between the two? Some have red flesh and an easily recognizable circle on the bottom. These are blueberries, and they are the ones that can be picked now to eat together later. Many are also eaten immediately, which is betrayed by countless blue hands, lips and tongues. The kids are obviously enthusiastic about it. And how did the three days go? He had a lot of fun, – says Noah, who has already attended the nature park school. Twelve-year-old Liselotte also liked the program. She particularly liked one part of the second day’s program: “Collecting herbs and cooking…