Last week, on the 1st & 2nd of September, forty participants gathered for the Participatory Strategy Development workshop, organised by the Angermünde City Administration at the church of Altkünkendorf, a village at the entrance to the World Heritage forest Grumsin.
The participants came from NGOs, Angermünde City Administration, tourism development, the Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin, local forest owners and interested citizens.
The workshop was offered in course of two consecutive evenings for people who are engaged in the Beech forest Grumsin on a voluntary basis, and for people who are professionally involved. Nevertheless, the workshop was open for all interested people throughout its course. The discussion was facilitated by two coaches of the Conservation Coaches Network Europe.
Participants developed ideas and activities within the following strategic areas:
- In which further sectors can the World Heritage be integrated (e.g. culture, education) ?
- How can the local population develop a positive connection to the World Heritage beech forest?
- What kind of possibilities should exist for citizens to be involved and informed?
- How can the visitor guidance and information be improved?
- Which actions can contribute to experience the World Heritage beech forest Grumsin as a visitor in a positive way?
- Which concrete steps can be developed by local actors to foster regional development?
- How can visitors and the local population better experience the European dimension of the World Heritage?
Apart from this, several participants brought up the pressing issue of private car traffic and parking difficulties in the village due to increasing visitors. The problem is already tackled by several public actors within their range of possibilities, however, up to now there is no financial support e.g. from the federal state for an overall concept development and implementation.
The results of the workshop are the basis for further development within BEECH POWER, but also within upcoming projects and initiatives. Participatory approach with the collaboration of motivated and engaged actors is key for the long-term sustainability of these results.
A similar workshop format will be implemented soon by the BEECH POWER partners in Slovenia and Croatia. The partners are looking forward to comparing results, identifying similar working areas and further cooperation.