Professionalizing workshops for wayward youth

Confronted with the spread of juvenile delinquency, the nonprofit NABU in Gifhorn, a town in northern Germany, proposes to integrate juvenile delinquents in workshops that are professionalizing through the learning of horticulture and silviculture, and structuring through the accompaniment of educators.

Environment and Biodiversity

Gifhorn, land de Basse Saxe, Germany

Olaf Koschnitzki

€10,000 to the Selection Committee at 2013/12/10

Project leader

Naturschutzbund Deutschland Kreisverband Gifhorn e.V.

NaturschutzbundDeutschland (nonprofit for nature conservation in Germany, NABU) was created a century ago as an association for the protection of birds. But since the 1920s, its members decided not to restrict themselves to birds alone, and no less than 260,000 members are committed to nature conservation today.

NABU Lower Saxony is the biggest of the Länder nonprofits with its 46,000 members. One of its regional branches, based in Gifhorn, has been active for 20 years in nature and environmental conservation, and boosts a steadily growing number of members (over 3000). The renaturation of the GroßesMoor moorland, classed a nature reserve since 1984, with its 2700 hectares of land, is one of its flagship projects. There, in cooperation with the labor administration, the nonprofit is committed to getting long-term jobless persons back to work. It has identified old fruit trees and set up new orchards, which cover an area of 80,000 square meters and are regularly cared for by the volunteers. These orchards contribute to the protection of rare birds like the wryneck and the woodpecker. NABU also cares for many biotopes and offers nature excursions for people of all ages.

"Work in holidays" and "Training and work"

Today, NABU is intensifying the renaturation of the GroßesMoor moorland. Typical biotopes for high peatland are being revived on old land. The installation of renaturation measures is organized in close cooperation with the administrations for nature, water management and coastal protection. This project, called "New Bridges" is aimed at juvenile delinquents aged 15 to 21, condemned to allocate a number of working hours for a nonprofit project. For those who are still in the school system or in vocational training, it has the name "Work in holidays" for the others "Training and work", and enables them to acquire professional skills in horticulture and silviculture. The young people are counseled by educators in order to solve their personal or social problems. If necessary, they can also receive school training and/or basic skills to enable them to join the job market.

The foundation has been approached for the purchase of a trailer, which will serve as a shelter for the project participants and staff, and in which their clothing and working tools can be stored, as well as a number of specialized tools (power saw, brush cutter).

Professionalizing workshops for wayward youth

The Foundation's support for this initiative represents a good opportunity to demonstrate its role as a committed local partner, given the recent creation of StadtwerkeGifhorn with the participation of Veolia Wasser's subsidiary BS|ENERGY.