The motto for children in Nagelfluhkette Nature Park is learning through play between forest and heath. On the way with the future junior rangers.
“Do we really want to start a quiz right away?” asks Alexander Feurle. The nature park guide gets a loud “yes” in response from the group of children surrounding him. So the day begins with questions about flora and fauna Nagelfluh chain. The girls and boys are currently training to become junior rangers in the nature park. It is the third and last day. It runs from the mountain station at the Hörnerbahn near Bolsterlang over the Ochsenkopf to the Ostertal near Gunzesried.
The first stop of the day is after half an hour. Today’s topic is the forest. “Why do you even need the forest?” asks ranger Florian Heinl – called Flo by the children – as a question and many hands answer. The children sit opposite him on the slope. “Because of the air”, “As protection against avalanches” and “For the game” are some of the answers the 29-year-old got. Another answer is in direct view: on the other side of the valley you can see the remains of a shed behind the director’s left shoulder. The forest is also important for protection against such events, especially in Allgaeu.
In 2016, the trained forester supervised junior ranger training for the first time
Heinl is a ranger with heart and soul and is naturally happy to pass this enthusiasm on to the new generation. In 2016, the trained forester supervised junior ranger training for the first time. The dog lady Fanny is always by his side. She is also a beloved companion for the children.
After an hour’s walk, it’s time for lunch at the top of the Ochsenkopf. A note of all 17 young rangers in the summit book should not be missing before the descent is after the snack, on which there is still much to discover.
The junior ranger training is aimed at children between the ages of nine and twelve. Some of them had previously attended the nature park schools. A total of four junior ranger camps are on the program this summer, two of them on the Allgäu side of the nature park.
Why peat moss is important for the functioning of nature as a whole
An important issue that has yet to be addressed is the bog. The large water reservoir in the nature park. The trainers show impressively why and how this works. Florian Heinl holds a piece of peat moss in his hand and then expresses it. There is still a lot of water coming out, even though it hasn’t rained in over a week. He then pours water on the moss again to demonstrate how much water it can hold and why it is so important to the functioning of nature as a whole.
It continues downhill through forest and heath. “You better not touch the plant,” Alexander Feurl shouts to the younger rangers in front of him. They have just discovered a blue monkhood by the side of the road. A striking and beautiful plant, but also one of the most poisonous on the European continent, explains the 38-year-old. The qualified biologist sees these moments as important. It makes sense not only to work through fixed program points, but also to respond to spontaneous discoveries and questions, as with Eisenhut. The goal is to make the children sensitive to nature in a fun and playful way, so that they can later pass on the knowledge.
Making your own herbal quark in the Nagelfluhkette Nature Park is a hit
In the meantime, the Grafenalpe in the Ostertal is almost reached, but before the last part of the hike there is one more highlight. For this, Florian Heinl has to explain something again. So all the junior rangers sit back and listen. Many well-filled bushes are rooted behind Hal’s back. Some with blueberries and others with brambles. How do you differentiate these two? Some have red flesh and an easily recognizable circle on the underside. These are the blueberries, and it is precisely these that can be gathered now so that they can be eaten together later. Many are also eaten immediately, as betrayed by countless blue hands, lips and tongues. The children are visibly excited about it. And how did the three days go overall? He had a lot of fun, says Noah, who had already attended a nature park school. 12-year-old Liselotte also liked the program. One part of the program on the second day appealed to her in particular: “I thought it was great to gather herbs and make my own herbal quark.”
At the end of the course, Noah, Liselotte and the other children receive a certificate and a T-shirt. An exciting junior ranger training is coming to an end.