E. Public awareness and dissemination of results

E1 NATURA 2000 – General public relations

Following a communication strategy, many measures will be realised in this action. The team will publish booklets, leaflets, a wall calendar and a layman’s report. In those publications, the new mascot can have its appearance. Moreover, the public can visit events and this website.

E2 NATURA 2000 – Special public relations

Measures in this action aim to educate about Natura 2000 and to attract additional participants and multipliers. On that account, there will be new hiking trails, an app to identify plants in the Rhön, a game for children, exhibitions and competitions like a photo contest or the election of a meadow queen.

E3 Qualification of guides for nature and landscape with a special focus on the protected natural resources of Natura 2000 in the SPA of the Rhön / Hessen Biosphere Reserve

As a well-recognised hiking region, the Rhön has high potential to spread knowledge about the special characteristics of mountain grassland to a broad public by guided tours. To achieve this aim, the training and qualification of guides for nature and landscape is indispensable. The “Rhönklub” (in cooperation with the Biosphere Reserve and the Nature Park) volunteers as a partner for tuition with its hiking guide training. With an additional module on Natura 2000 and its protected natural resources, the guides can extend their qualification.
In cooperation with the Biosphere Reserve, the Nature Park, the municipalities and the regional tourist facilities, the qualified hiking guides will then offer guided tours, workshops and join-in activities.

E4 Exhibition space NATURA 2000 in the New Rhön Biosphere Reserve Visitor Centre

Central tasks of the Biosphere Reserve Rhön are environmental education, education for sustainable development, as well as active communication with locals and visitors. Information centres are an adequate means and a pivotal element of educational offers.
The Rhön in Hesse has the largest coherent Natura 2000 sites in the federal state of Hesse. Therefore, imparting and communication knowledge about the protected natural resources of Natura 2000 is one of the key issues for an information centre in the Rhön Biosphere Reserve.
Further, education is a way to increase acceptance, which is very important for the LIFE project as the team often has to interact with land users. Experience has shown that very often several years are needed in order to convince people in a region of a certain project and to create sufficient acceptance. A central information centre will make an indispensable contribution.

E5 Economic consultation on Natura 2000

The current situation of low acceptance and efficiency of Natura 2000 is due to insufficient information and, on the other hand, because of the low added value which can be generated on nature conservation sites.
The economic consultation will offer the opportunity to combine requirements of nature conservation on cultivated sites with specific economic models of the farm, and this for the first time in the project area.
The consultation supplements the information flow of the measures A.1 (Agro-socio-economic study), A.4. (Grassland concept Natura 2000) and C.1. (Consultation on Natura 2000 grasslands) and transfers the findings to the farms. In contrast to a conventional economical consultation, the hypotheses will be oriented on Natura 2000 aims and the aims of biodiversity of the State of Hesse. The economic effects of the different hypotheses will be calculated and discussed together with the farmer.

E6 Professional know-how transfer and networking with other LIFE-projects

In this LIFE-project, specific external expertise should be integrated and knowledge transfer with other national and international projects should take place. The team will host different workshops during the duration of the project in the Rhön, for example about meadow breeding birds or the control of neophytes.

E7 Group of progressive thinkers in agriculture

In this action, a group of progressive thinkers of about 20 farmers who are committed to the project will meet at least every three months, or more frequently if necessary, and will develop field trips, educational courses or information activities. Further, they can use their expertise to develop new strategies to improve the profitability of the management of nature conservation sites (e.g. production of hay milk cheese, production of hay with low fructan, diet hay) and of work economy and efficiency in landscape maintenance (e.g. hay drying).

E8 LIFE macht Zicken – Promotion of goat keeping

Currently the keeping of goats in the project region does not have particular relevance although their use is indispensable for landscape maintenance, especially on rough grazing. It is the only way to counteract the threats caused by management deficits efficiently and persistently. However, due to a lack of experience with these wayward animals, farmers have been hesitant to use them. Practical knowledge is missing because the tradition of goat keeping has been abandoned.
Therefore, specialist consultation during the project will strengthen the husbandry of goats and donkeys on rough grazing in the Rhön by offering support. The consulting will contain technical information and information on animal keeping, and it will outline the possibilities and limits of grazing with goats (and donkeys) on the different sites.

E9 Public relations and supervision of local stakeholders

In order to safeguard sustainability of the project, the participating stakeholders and municipalities in the Rhön need intensive supervision. The detailed conservation measures will be flanked by public relations in order to improve the acceptance of Natura 2000 in the project area. Therefore, a person in charge of public relations and supervision of local stakeholders during the LIFE-project was hired.

New hiking tour with information board - picture: LIFE team

Networking with other LIFE project - picture: LIFE team

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