Today the participants took a train to visit Eberswalde, home to the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development.
After trekking through the snow, the group were welcomed by Wolfram Eilbacher, a lecturer in Forest & Environment at the University. Situated in Brandenburg State, the facility is home to 75 teaching staff and 2000 students, with high rates of growth in both student numbers and research.
Wolfram spoke proudly of the courses on offer, including his own, Forest Management, which has been highly accredited due to its hands on teaching, international aspects and research elements.
The admin building for the University, only recently built, is true to their sustainability message. They have designed their own type of light bulb in order to get a sense of natural light in their rooms, and have included lots of glass, to give a sense of transparency to the workings of the council housed within.
The group moved on, by bus, to the ‘Information Centre for Wood Energy.’ This organisation was established to encourage more local people to make sustainable choices when heating their homes, in this case using wood instead of heating oil. To make this endeavour possible, furnace companies pay to lease display space for their machines, and with this money the education work is able to continue. However, they were keen to state that the advice given was independent of the companies involved, and unbiased. The organisation has partnered with another in Poland, hoping to pass on their knowledge. They are also in the process of building a bigger centre, from where they can reach more people. So far they have had 2500 enquiries, and most importantly, have been able to integrate this work with the university, through Masters and Bachelors students conducting research on the construction process of the new building.
On returning to the university, Christoph Nowski, a lecturer, gave an overview of the courses available, noting the successes of students who have been through their education system, and the partners that they work with e.g. GIZ & the Potsdam Institute.
The day came to a close with two final presentations, wrapping up the week on the Whole School Approach.
Anna Kulozik works in teaching children ‘Landscape Education.’ This work was initially started in rural areas, due to their high migration rates, and served to help people recognise what great resources and potential lay on their doorstep. Children were able to meet people who worked with the land e.g. fishermen, old train enthusiasts, and create music, theatre & books to represent where they live. This process gives children the chance to see situations from different perspectives too, an important skill to develop for their futures.
Finally, Transfer 21 arrived to explain how they instigate teacher training in schools and through courses, using ESD projects e.g. Working through the 16 Syndrome Concepts.
The group had questions for both presenters, interested in how successful they had been and how they had overcome resistance to their ideas, a topic visited earlier this week with Nomvula’s project.