Seeing, listening, knowing - Environmental education in Freiburg
„You only see what you‘re aware of, and you only protect what you know.“ The slogan for Freiburg‘s Nature Trail is as valid as ever – after all, environmental protection and nature conservation have to offer specific experiences and direct, hands-on adventures if they are to be successful. Environmental education begins in nursery schools and primary schools and plays an essential role in the awareness of sustainable development.
Environmental education in schools and universities
A number of initiative groups, projects and bright ideas, like the benefit run to raise funds to expand a school‘s own solar installation or to renaturalise a section of stream, are testament to how committed Freiburg‘s schools are to climate protection. Many of these waste avoidance, water-saving and energy-saving projects are supported by money and equipment from the City of Freiburg. The Interdisciplinary Centre for Renewable Energy (ZEE) and the Master‘s degree in Renewable Energy Management (M.Sc.) from the University of Freiburg also offer opportunities for young adults to obtain qualifications in renewable energy.
Extra-curricular learning opportunities
Outside of schools as well there are a whole series of opportunities for learning about the environment under the supervision of the City of Freiburg – from the young to the young-at-heart. The Municipal Forestry Office therefore maintains nature adventure and forest trails, offers guided tours and project days for school classes or supports private forest nurseries with the provision of sites and forestry know-how to enable fun-based access to the woodland ecosystem.
The WaldHaus Freiburg serves as a Centre of Expertise on issues of woodland and sustainability, pooling and professionalising services relating to forestry education and environmental education. It also encourages inter-disciplinary discussions about the issues of woodland and sustainability across national borders.
Since it was set up in 1986, the Freiburg Oekostation, the Environment and Nature Conservation League‘s (BUND) environment centre in the Seepark, has been running seminars, guided tours and events covering the entire range of environmental issues, from solar energy to green building.
The Stadtgut Mundenhof is an animal enclosure, organic farm and nature education centre in one. As part of the KonTiKi project, children and school classes learn how to handle pets from all over the world and learn lots of interesting facts about the proper way to keep pets, nature conservation and environmental protection in a fun-filled way.
Freiburg Planetarium does not only look out at distant galaxies but also focuses on the planet Earth and its biosphere. Issues, like the water cycle, greenhouse effect or the importance of the sun for the energy supply of the future, are illustrated in programmes, like „The Secret of the Trees“.
“Freiburg ScienceNet Region“ ONLINE GUIDE
Since it was set up in July 2007, teachers, students and other interested parties can use this online portal to gain an overview of over 250 extra-curricular environmental education courses provided by over 60 different institutions.
“Education for sustainable development“ fund
At the start of 2013, the Municipal Council of the City of Freiburg resolved to set up a fund for „Education for Sustainable Development“, which supports educational providers for all ages. Application is open to all institutions, associations, organisations, project managers and individuals who offer education and training on specific topics relating to the many dimensions of sustainability, providing they meet the criteria of the „Freiburg Sustainability Education Cloverleaf“.
The cloverleaf illustrates key issues, such as energy, food, transport or consumption, viewed from the four perspectives of sustainability – environmental protection, sustainable economic development, social justice and culture. The „Education for Sustainable Development“ Fund has an annual funding figure of 40,000. A judging panel decides on the funding of the projects submitted.