Na-Tür-lich Dorf - Nature conservation at the doorstep
Na-Tür-lich Dorf – Bottom-up creation of individual small-scale projects aims to conserve nature at the doorstep of villages throughout two LAG areas in Germany
Village habitats (e.g. structurally and species-rich gardens, swallow, sparrow or barn owl nesting sites, village and near-natural meadows and pastures) in the neighbouring LAG areas of Eifel and Zülpicher Börde had undergone decades of deterioration. The "Na-Tür-lich Dorf" project aims to motivate and empower residents to develop individual small-scale projects to promote biodiversity and environmental protection in their communities. Through this project, flower strips, wildflower meadows, native perennials, shrubs and fruit trees and mother shrub beds have been planted and nature garden consultations have been performed, as well as online lectures on topics such as nature gardens, green roofs, wild bees, etc. Pilots to establish nibbling hedges, roof greening, façade greening and sandariums (wild bee nesting beds) were supported, as was distribution of nesting aids kits for bird and bat species. Public awareness raising was also conducted through mass media and ecological village walks to showcase different local biodiversity initiatives.
More than 2,000 people have participated in the project, including four districts, two LEADER regions, 20 cities and municipalities as well as numerous associations, initiatives, educational institutions and private individuals. In one district along, over 100 micro-measures have been implemented. Another community created a 100-metre-long flowering strip and various day-care centres and schools built bird and insect nesting aids. Nature conservation features have been designed and established to create wildlife habitats and corridors to prevent landscape fragmentation. The online presentations were well attended (over 200 people in some instances) by not just local residents but people other German federal states and surrounding countries. Similar projects focused on bottom-up community development of small-scale projects to benefit local biodiversity have been created based on the "Na-Tür-lich Dorf" example, and species protection measures have been carried out with cooperation partners as well as other larger events, e.g. the Eifel Seed Festival.
Projects implemented by local people for the sustainability of their local area promote socially active village communities. Villages where the inhabitants were well networked or organised in associations experienced more participation in the project and bottom-up development of individual small projects by the residents.
Free expert advice and support with accessing available project funds helped local actors carry out their project ideas in a professional manner. Raising environmental awareness and identification of the regional flora and fauna were also important prerequisites.