Seals and Seeds on Annual IWSS Network Meeting

The Seal Centre Friedrichskoog and the touristic town of Büsum set the scene for this year´s annual meeting of multipliers of Wadden Sea education and World Heritage interpretation. From 7 to 9 November 35 colleagues from visitor centres and nature NGOs throughout the Wadden Sea met to exchange, explore and “escape”: The Seal Centre Friedrichskoog provided insight into the planning of the new exhibition and introduced a brand-new escape game on the SDGs. Guided tours in Büsum with the night watchman and the local National Park Ranger presented the historic development and current challenges of tourism in a popular destination bordering the National Park and World Heritage Site. The local tourism director gave an impressive overview on Büsum’s various efforts to become more sustainable, including give-away flower seeds for insect friendly gardens that literally help spread the seed for nature awareness among the many visitors.

A barcamp workshop offered the chance to discuss various current topics relevant for the participants such as the design of mobile information stands, the use of mascots in Wadden Sea education or the improvement of bird watching tours. Bird watching and how to activate participants of bird excursion was also the topic of a field trip to Meldorfer Speicherkoog on the last day of the workshop. With a view to present Trilateral Wadden Sea Education and World Heritage Interpretation at the Trilateral Governmental Conference, the participants were asked for short interviews on their personal motivation to engage in Wadden Sea education. The recordings were compiled in a short film that can be found here: [link to youtube video].

“This 19th meeting of the IWSS network was again a great opportunity to bring together old and new colleagues from Wadden Sea education and jointly further World Heritage education”, says Anja Szczesinski from WWF Germany, who coordinates the IWSS activities together with Annika Bostelmann from CWSS. And further: “We look forward to our 20th anniversary next year and to and to an inspiring and fruitful continuation of our wonderful cooperation”.

The annual meetings of the International Wadden Sea School (IWSS) network take place at rotating locations in the trilateral Wadden Sea region usually in week 46. The next meeting is scheduled for November 2023 on the island of Norderney.