In a large farmhouse on about 10 ha. of land we try to give interested people an insight into the basics and the connections in the subject area ‘Man and the Environment’ This is done primarily with practical work on projects at the farm, but also in the surrounding area (the Butjadingen). We try not to separate work from general living. An attempt that is fun but not always problem free. Together with many friends we have been renovating the house and setting it up as an eco-workshop for 18 years. For six years we have had girls doing a voluntary ecological year, whose activities support us. At the moment Sigi and Svenja are helping us.
Our work is supported by ideas and course supplements from neighbours near and far: Gertrud Becker from Nordenham, the Miss Marple of environmental protection, lecturer in industrial damage in Nordenham Hans-Gerd Gerdes, Burhave, guided tours of the mud flats Lissi and Jan Gerdes, Niens, cheese manufacture Paul Hansen, chemistry and all round education and many others.
The non-profit making Association of Environmental Education in Iffens e.V.- (Association for the promotion of educational practises in nature and the environment) is the sponsor of the educational work. We receive financial support (unfortunately still too little) from private donors. We arrange seminars together with various educational and training establishments, among others with the LEB, the VNB, JANUN, the churches, the employment office in Bremen, the trades unions and universities.
On the North Sea coast, between Jadebusen and Wesermouth, lies the half-island formed from various influences, the Butjadingen. - The expanse of shallow marsh and the many farmsteads give the landscape its character. - The countryside, protected from floods by tall dykes, has long been used for agriculture, and more recently also for industry. - The saltflats in front of the dykes are reserves for resting and breeding seabirds. - The Wattenmeer, with its unique and varied living conditions, is an easy to see eco-system, and therefore a beloved theme for excursions of school classes, students, or adult education courses. - In various nature reserves, but also in the national park, Lower Saxony Wattenmeer, there is an attempt to preserve the original character of the countryside. To this the ‘swimming moor’ in Sehestedt also belongs. It is the only moor lying outside a dyke in Europe that floats at high tide. - Many modern dangers to the environment are also to be found in the confined space. To these belong heavy metals, asbestos and atomic power in the east, oil, sulphur dioxide, vinyl chloride etc. in the west of Butjadingen. Intensive cattle farming and tourism also cause Butjadingen enormous problems.
Our association, "Umwelterziehung Iffens e.V." is acknowledged to be of benefit to the community. Around 40 members comprise the society’s structure, at the head is Gertrud Becker from Nordenhham. Our main yearly meeting is regularly held on Ash Wednesday. This association accepts donations and fines . The "Iffens - circle of friends" is a group of donators who permit us the monthly debit of small amounts from their accounts . The association is an official placement for the voluntary ecological year, and engages itself with the regional young persons legal aid. Through the association we can - depending on the number of donations - subsidise the stay of the trainees or even the travel costs (grants programme). We have also been able to organise international projects through the association.
Donations account: Umwelterziehung Iffens e.V. acc. no.: 368 119 - 302 Postbank Hannover BLZ 250 100 30
The Centre of Environmental Education in Iffens is one of the few independent nature and environment organisations. Officially we are an agricultural concern with the particular emphases: research, training and hostelry. We are self-employed and have no fixed income. We live on that which the garden and animal keeping offer us. The necessary money we obtain from the fees we receive for courses or commissions. The voluntary year trainees are provided with a work contract through the state of Lower Saxony and the association of Umwelterziehung Iffens. Other trainees also work voluntarily, if possible with free accommodation and catering, without charge and without wage.
The costs of the house are shared by all overnight guests. Because of that we have low overnight charges but make neither profit nor loss from the hostelry operation. Investments and costly rebuilding are secured through other incomes (external chemical commissions etc.). Because we carry out almost all of the work ourselves these costs have so far been relatively low. The environmental societies support us morally and with considerable encouragement. In addition we get commissions from various societies for special courses, consultations, development of ideas, certificated examinations, seminars, presentations , readings, lectures, conference management, exhibition design, campaign consultations etc. Our fifteen years’ experience in the protection of nature and the environment, and the practical nature of our work are the key to our success.
Next contents: courses applied ecology course (Ökopraktikum) practical experience for your career (Berufspraktikum) group holidays walking tows of the mud-flats environmental education weekend how you can help the "Grodenhaus" how to reach us
The follówing courses can be booked by groups (secondary schools, youth groups, teaching-staff etc...). The course topics should be understood as suggestions, and can be altered to suit your needs. (N.B. courses are offered in German only.) Should the participants of a week or weekend course not already know the other members of the group, we recommend a get-together beforehand in your home town. Accommodation is provided in the farmhouse of the "Grodenhaus"- meals are your own responsibility. A kitchen and a selection of fresian recipes are provided for creative cooks! Weekend courses begin Friday evening and end Sunday afternoon. It is also possible to lengthen the period of stay. Dates available on request.
Course 1: Environmental Education
Introduction to the development of environmental education to the present day. Methodology of environmental education, illustrated with examples of class instruction, and group projects. Checking the materials and equipment for use in education. Environmental discovery through the Wadden Sea and the farms. Simulation of classroom situations Motivation and public relations Tips, suggestions and concepts to emphasise environmental protection and nature conservation in educational work in and out of the classroom.
Course 2: For group leaders
Showing the range of activities available and the interaction between environmental protection groups and nature protection groups. Case studies of coordination of work, comunication, project work and fund-raising. Simulation and publicity about the Wadden sea. The mechanisms of public controversies. Working with the press.
Course 3: Media and Experiments
Getting to know and testing the available media and materials Evaluating examples of the media. Analysing the range of applications of various media, with exercises. Experiments to illustrate environmental protection and nature conservation. Planning the use of a medium and working out trial models on chosen topics.
Course 4: The Wadden Sea
Introductory slide-show Field trips onto the mud-flats Understanding of the ecosystem 'Wadden Sea', through experiments . Historical development of the Jadebusen Specific topics : Conservation of species diversity, chemical pollution of the wadden sea, and a listing of alternative protests.
Further course topics
arise from the special interests and research areas of the helpers and residents at the centre.
*Photography, photo-lab techniques *Methods of chemical analysis *Analysing toxic chemicals *Agriculture and horticulture *Bread baking and nutrition *Herbal lore *Spinning, weaving and dying with natural products *Health and chemicals in the environment *Ecology and the third world
This is a four week practical course for 12 participants, who are accommodated in our house. At the end of the course, each participant receives a complete certificate, which includes a list of all the topics dealt with. The form and content of the certificate allows its possible recognition towards the participant's formal education.
-Supplementing and building up of the individual's knowledge and experience in the field of nature conservation and environmental protection -development of critical and judgmental faculties with respect to environmental issues -development of environmental consciousness -independent research of a topic -working and living as a group -Experience of the man - environment relationship. -fun and fantasy -the developoment of a personal environmental consciousness to allow the individual to carry on as an environmental activist in the long term
The course content is designed for the needs of 5 target groups. In the case of the last three, it serves as a supplementary course. -young people, after completition of their school education-young people about to choose a carear -teachers -people working in the environmental field -people active in environmental groups
4. Stucture of the course
In consultation with the course-leaders, the participants choose topics which they work on individually, in groups, or with the course-leader, according to their interests. Along with relevant literature, text-books, press-clippings, experiments and other sources, a set of questions will serve as a guideline for research on each topic. At the same time, the applied ecology course embraces a wide range of practical activities, for example:keeping sheep, making hay, planting, harvesting, cooking..., just some of the many daily tasks, whereby participants can contribute towards the development of the centre. Four to six field-trips are planned: -environmental degradation and conservation in the area: industrial and household waste, tourism, environmental advisary board, environmental committees, clarification plants. -Bremerhaven, with its North Sea museum, navigational museum, and "Morgenstern" museum, conservation authorities, harbour. -cycling-tour:wind mills, moors, glacial land farms, woods, the "Zwischenahner"Lake, the "floating moor", solar panel company -wadden sea.
The following grouping of the individual topics can be varied, and is included here to describe the course-content. For one topic, each of the themes should be given equal weight. None of the themes stand alone - each necessasily touches upon all the others.
Theme 1: Learning about and observing nature Observation of the wadden sea at low and high tides Living conditions of the salt water flora. Bird-life of the wadden sea. Soil-structure development along the coast. Weather observations and typical weather pattern. Recording weather statistics The natural garden Observation of animal behavior Experiments with plants Protective measures in nature conservation areas Theme 2: Experience and skills with materials Woodwork eg. how too build bird-boxes and display cases Building models for regional planning, or for harnessing wind and solar energy Building electrical circuits Documentation with photographs and photo-laboratory skills Building toys form rubbish Printing skills: transfer, offset etc... Technical drawing and graphics Building materials Textiles:spinning, weaving, dying, batik Theme 3: Conventional environmental protection Air, air-pollution and atmosphere Water, water-cycle, drinking water Effluent, water treatment plants Soil, its prepatation and agricultural usage Waste, waste-management and rubbish dumps Radioactivity and radiation Toxic chemicals in the environment Food, food additives and their analysis Noise, its measurement and reduction Regional planning and traffic Theme 4: Resources Solar energy Wind energy Biogas Heat pumps Storage and use of energy The electrical power industry Nuclear power plants The earth's raw materials and their availability for exploitation The food situation Population development Theme 5: Social Environment Concepts of work and leisure Structure and responsibility of the health sector Fundamentals of economic models Municipal environmental planning, environmental committees Planning and role-playing games Discussions- strategies and rhetoric Rational problem solving Structure of interest groups and the "enviornmental scene" Exercises in self-awareness Environmental awareness as a basis for political activity. Theme 6: Increasing Public Awareness in Environmental Issues. Determining possible target groups of an interest group Communication aids Role-playing simulation of a public controversy Creative possibiliies for an "environmental day" Listing of possible protest measures Planning and holding public displays Working in committees Evaluating laws for environmental protection The press and how to deal with it Analysis of advertising techniques Lectures, courses and other events Four weeks of applied ecology - impressions
It's not easy for me to sum up my many experiences during the last four weeks: it was more than a matter of absorbing new information and ideas: In the applied ecology course, I experienced something which had been rarely presented in my studies - project work. For our topic BIOGAS, the questions ranged form "What biochemical processes take place in the production of biogas ?" to "From which farmer can I get which nature ?" to "How economical can the production of biogas be ?" As far as our work was concerned, we weren't out to obtain detailed knowledge on a specialised subject - more important for us was to understand the relationships involved. Okay, so I still don't know the latin names of the saltwater plants, but I have learned something about the relationships between the plants, birds and soil organisms on the mud-flats, and about the threats to this ecosystem. It was rewarding for me to be able to totally involve myself in the work. The deciding factor was the way we lived together during the four weeks - the normal separation of work, spare-time, study, sprot, political activity was abolished. I developed a greater sensitivity to my environment. Apart from that, I learned a whole load of practical skills, from baking bread to developing photographs to building roofs. The month at Iffens was really great - I got to know lots of lovely people, and was terribly sad when I had to go.
Facing us in Butjadingen are many pressing, contemporary problems, which we work on in co-operation with regional municipalities, government and research institutions. Students who, during their studies, spend time in practical field work, can therefore find topics here. Intended are students studying the following subjects: Geography, Biology, Ecology, Sociology and Pedagogics. The individual's research will form the basis of our regional work.
*mapping vegetation *rejuvenating ditches and ponds *water resources management *conflicting agricultural land-uses *tourism in the coastal resorts *industrialisation of the coast *causes of tree death *new measures for the preservation of historical buildings *environmental education in the classroom
The lecturers responsible should be consulted for the guidance of the research and its recognition. Please inquire as to the individual topics, dates and financing.
Groups, or large families with a flair for improvisation, can rent the upper storey of our house. It comprises of approx. 200m² - four rooms with twelve beds, bathroom and kichen, as well as a large work/play area. During your stay here, you have access to all the centre's resources.You may use our library, media resources and equipment. You can help work on our projects, ranging from alternative gardening to building sorar-panels. According to your interests, you can get to know more about nature conservetion (wadden sea, moors, birds etc..) and the environmental protection (Nordenham, Wilhelmshaven)
From the middle of July onwards, we offer groups tours of the mud-flats. *Introduction to the ecology of the wadden sea, with an ensuing tour of the mud-flats (Approx. 2-4 hours)
Our centre is a large, old farmhouse with a garden. We need your help to maintain it and keep it running. So if you want to help... The varied work is instructive, fun and leaves enough spare time to explore the surrounding area. Please ask for details of the specific projects.
All teachers, group-leaders etc.. who are involved in environmental education are invited to an environmental education weekend. The chief purpose of this get-together is to exchange ideas and discuss environmental issues. The weekend won't be lacking in fun and imagination, and, of course, you'll get to know the centre for environmental education.
Please spread the word about the work at the centre aiming at your friends and acquaintances.
You can reach the centre by car: from the east and the north, via the Bremen motorway- junction, along the A 27 towares Bremerhaven as far as Stotel. Take the Desesforf-Kleinensiel ferry across the River Weser. Then follow signs to Nordenham, until Ellwürden. Turn off towards the North Sea resorts. In Stollhamm, take the road towards Tossens. For the final stretch, see sketch map. From the south and west, along the A 29 towards Wilhelmshaven as far as Varel/Obenstrohe. Then along the B 437 towards Rodenkirchen as far as Diekmannshausen, and there turn off to the left towards Stollhamm. For final stretch, see sketch map. by train: the nearest station is in Nordenham, via Bremen/Hude. On school-days, bus number 9 travels from there as far as Iffens, and bus number 8 to Stollhamm. Please phone if you need to be picked up.