First twinning exchange after lockdown successful
The pandemic had its effect on the continuation of the Eurosite Twinning Programme, were unfortunately, in 2020 no twinning exchanges were able to take place. However, little by little the world is opening up again, which resulted in the first twinning visit of 2021: the WE Young People See Nature initiative visited the Dutch island of Texel from 6-10 June 2021. Normally, such trips are joined by school classes from Poland and The Netherlands. In this case, only the Dutch teens were able to participate due to Covid restrictions. Therefore, the organisers labeled this ‘the field lab’ edition as they are not complete without the Polish participants.
WE Young People See Nature is an initiative by Eurosite members Hans Hofland and Kazimierz Rabski. The ‘WE’ stands for West-East and symbolises the cooperation and cultural exchange between Poland and The Netherlands. Under normal circumstances, two exchanges per year take place: one to Poland, and one to the Netherlands. During the exchange week, the teens are given cameras to take pictures in Natura 2000 areas.
The Dutch teens that took part in this edition visited ‘De Hors, accompanied by Leo Hofland of ‘Landschap Noord-Holland to learn about the dune landscape, and the famous Natura 2000 area that are the Dutch mudflats the ‘Wadden’, as well as the Natura 2000 area Duinen en Lage Land Texel. Additionally, during other excursions to, amongst others, the old harbour of Oudeschild and the Hoge Berg nature area of Staatsbosbeheer, the youngsters were asked to discuss about visitor management and its (potential) pressure on natural areas, fishery, and windmills at sea. A final stop was made at the ‘nature farm’ of Mrs. Roeper in the town of Waalenburg. Here, the teens were given a tour on the farm on which intensive agriculture used to be driven. Currently, 125 hectares of farm land is ‘leased’ to Natuurmonumenten as a form of land stewardship and private land conservation. It resulted in an increase in both fauna (return of arable birds) and flora (orchids that disappeared are blooming again).
Photo credits: Hans Hofland