Only when you have seen the beauty of nature you develop the goal to preserve it. This is why every year together with our partner Abenteuer Schwarzwald we invite teenagers to join us for a week of adventure in the newly founded Black Forest Nationalpark in the South West of Germany. The Young Explorers Program in the Black Forest is a project which was inspired by Mike Horn’s Pangaea Project in 2013. Over the past years, we have set up a network of over 60 young and likeminded people who share a passion for nature and the environment.
Our idea is to take youths into the Black Forest Nationalpark and teach them to see nature through different angles and perspectives, with the help of film and photography. This element of technology allows us to reach teenagers who have not yet spent much time outside in nature, but are attracted by learning about how to use a camera. It’s been a very exciting journey so far! Having started out with a small team during our first camp, we now have a growing community of organisers and helpers. In three weeks, the first camp ever will be led by some of our alumni participants! This is a huge success since it shows that our concept works: Inspire others to take action!
Most importantly the 16 participants who had never met before grow as a group that will certainly make a change in the future! It is remarkable how fast close bonds can be built and how motivated everyone is for all the activities we organize during these days. Besides the great adventures we live through together, the inspiring atmosphere is the biggest contribution to the accomplishment of forming such a diverse and ambitious group.
Here is what the 2015 cohort thinks about the highlight of the camp: a 35km trek through the national park!
Group Annika, Ali, Leonie & Levin: “One step, two steps, three steps closer to the target. Still 45,997 steps to walk for us when we are at the beginning of the adventure trek. We are highly motivated! We find coordinates, maps and instructions and make one step after another toward a destination that we do not yet know. We still enjoy the nature in the Black Forest National Park as we approach the first destination: the lake Huzenbach. “
Group Laura, Maja, Ruben & Tim: “The first challenge waiting for us is a bare foot walk around the lake. Already at this early stage of the race, our team spirit is required, so that we will finally reach our destination all together. Because of the sharp stones walking is difficult, so we help each other. We start understanding the saying that you can achieve anything as a well-functioning team. “
Group Dustin, Fabian, Isabella & Kathrin: “Due to an erroneous coordinate in the very beginning, it is clear to us that we will have no chance of winning the race. But now our group has the opportunity to truly enjoy the National Park and its landscape. Accordingly, hike the rest of the trails in a relaxed mood and get to know the complete range of the national park. Despite or perhaps because of the last place we enjoy the adventure trek a lot – according to the principle: The journey is the reward!”
Group Leoni, Moritz, Niklas & Svenja: „It’s a constant head-to-head race between us and the team in front of us. Towards the end, the others actually have an advantage but as a team we can jointly motivate each other again to increase our pace and finally catch up with them at the last challenge: filling a bucket with water from the lake and safely bring it up the mountain without spilling any of it.“