With the contest, ERA honors initiatives and actions in which the focus lays in the link between the walker and its surroundings and which contribute to a respectful encounter with the environment while walking.
The winners of the Eco Award 2011 fulfilled these requirements.
1st Prize: Schopflocher Moor – a perfect combination of nature and hiking.
The Schopflocher Moor was formerly the only high moor in the Swabian Alb. It was already severely damaged by peat extraction and endangered in its existence. Therefore, the Schwäbische Albverein took for already more than 80 years many different measures to save and restore the bog. By gradually buying up residential land further destruction was stopped and due to improved aquatic environment and removal of emergent trees the situation improved significantly. The Schwäbische Albverein organizes regular annual day of care when approximately 80 volunteers in their spare time remove shrubs and trees around the bog to keep it open. Additional work is being performed by the team for landscape protection of the Schwäbische Albverein.
At the same time had the area which was in the past crisscrossed by many paths became integrated in an environmentally compatible way into the network of hiking trails. In a joint project of the state administrative bodies for nature conservation, forestry and land consolidation and with the help of the Schwäbische Albverein the first boardwalk was built in 1976 to serve the visitors needs. In 2003, the boardwalk was expanded and made accessible thanks to the Schwäbische Albverein for visitors on wheelchairs.
The following objectives were reached:
- promotion of nature conservation
- preservation of the most important moor in the Swabian Alb
- promotion of walking
- implementation of a trail concept
- wheelchair expansion
2nd Prize: Mountain Meitheal Ireland / Cruagh Wood und Three Rock Mountain
Mountain Meitheal and its volunteer path repair crew were approached by Dublin Mountains Partnership to provide durable, sustainable and environmentaly sound trails to the network of paths in the sensitive areas of Dublin Mountains. These paths are of very high standard and adhere to the best practice, all of them for use of walkers, ramblers and visitors, as well as local landowners.
The action consists of the following tasks:
- the provision of a bogbridge (boardwalk) across 370 metres of wetland area in Dublin Mountains offering access to walkers and other non-motorised users based on best international recreational and environmental practice
- installation of raised treadway of 401 metres on new section of Dublin Mountains way
- provision of a stonepitched raised treadway on Three Rock Mountain – Dublin Mountain
The actions were located in the Cruagh Woods and also in the Tree Rock Mountain, all in the area of Dublin Mountains.
Mountain Meitheal are a group of volunteers undertaking hands on trail projects in their mountains and in their forests with the aim of protecting the environment and promoting sustainable outdoor recreation into the future.
Their objectives are simple, attempting to counteract some of the pressures that are evident on Ireland’s mountains by working with the various landowners including, the National Park & Wildlife Service, Coillte and private landowners. They also promote the concept of sustainable recreation through the LEAVE NO TRACE message and are members of the Leave No Trace Ireland group.
3rd Prize: Ass. Sentieri degli Dei – Monti Lattari- Sorrentina Onlus. Italy
The idea that was core of the action was the necessity of preventing severe problems in the Park area, in particular the high rate of forest fires in summer. Education, training and sensitization of local communities served as the basis of this initiative to preserve and to protect the landscape patrimony of the Park.
In order to promote awareness of the natural values of this territory inhabited and to re- capture the natural heritage as a common good, the action promoted the activation of virtuous citizenship initiatives.
The focus was put on prevention and information as the best tools for the nature protection of the area. The whole project had as its objective – to inspire and introduce good behavior at the Regional Park of Monti Lattari.
The whole action was performed during the period from 2009 until 2011 in the area of the Campania Lattari Mountain Regional Park Area: 27 municipalities, located between the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento Coast and Agro Nocerino area and it consisted of these three parts:
- environmental awareness and information (within the school context)
- environmental Education
- fire prevention: Forest Fires Sighting Fields (AIB Fields)
The project was successfully completed in February 2011 and, due to the results obtained, its innovative characteristics and to its easy possibility of duplication in other regional context, it is now quoted by “Fondazione per il Sud” as a model project.
3rd Prize: Klub českých turistů- Kogler’s Trail in the Krásná Lípa Region
The idea behind the action of restoring this first historic trail was the effort of the family members of Rudolf Kogler, who devoted to the construction and operation of the trail many years of their life. It was also a wish to support the idea of Krásná Lípa city residents who wanted to restore and expand this first nature trail in the country.
The objective was to introduce visitors in a friendly way to the city and the region of the Czech Republic – the unique nature of the Czech Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Protected Landscape Area of the Lusatian Mountains and the Elbe Sandstone, Lime and the nature reserves. School children spontaneously learn about local fauna, flora, geology and the natural history. Finally, the activity wanted to promote the region on the Czech German border incl. putting attention on its historical context. The Nature Trail starts from the House of the Czech Switzerland where tourists can visit a permanent exhibition, see a movie in a cinema and visit the large info centre and can obtain a deeper knowledge of this field of tourism and understand the environmental characteristics of the area.
The first educational natural trail ever was created in Czechoslovakia in 1941 by Rudolf Kögler, born in Krásná Lípa. Rudolf Kögler made by himself wooden dashboards, which he also distributed in that spring of 1941 and placed them in that area. He acted also as a guide on this trail. The trail led from Doubice to the Wolf Mountain. As part of the trail there was also a plastic geological map of the Krásná Lípa region. In 2002, the Klub českých turistů in cooperation with the town of Krásná Lípa CSOP Tilia started a process of restoring this unique trail. The renewed trail passes through the original route and the circuit was extended to 22 km in length. The trail is nowadays equipped with more than 40 didactic boards and other interactive elements, furniture and tourist signs. The aim of the reconstruction of the first-ever trail was to introduce to the public many interesting places and the Lusatian Mountains and the National Park Czech Switzerland and to provide a possibility for great outdoor activities connected with learning about interesting places of the Krásná Lípa region, its history, geology, flora and fauna. As part of this educational nature trail there is a publication as well as a brochure with a map. KČT issued a badge for this tourist area, which everyone who passes through the trail obtains.
Around 8000 tourists pass through the Kögler’s Krásná Lípa trail each year and schools visit not only the trail but they attend also educational classes of organized programs focused on ecology and nature and environmental protection. Kögler’s trail is also part of the IVV.
This activity led to a deeper knowledge of the local wildlife and the landscape, as well as its history.
The action was located at Krásná Lípa area, the trail reaches the PLA Lusatian Mountains, the Protected Landscape of Elbe sandstone area, the Czech Switzerland National Park and passes through the State Nature Reserve Lime. It is also part of a national conservation area. The geological map itself in the Gardens at Krásná Lípa is a national technical monument.