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Centre for the Environment and Culture (ZUK)

The Centre for the Environment and Culture (ZUK) is an educational facility that was created by the Salesians of Don Bosco and offers innovative programmes for the protection of natural resources and the cultural heritage. The overriding goal is to promote a sense of responsibility for the future, especially in children and young people. This attractive educational programme occupies 200 hectares of monastery land and is the biggest arable extensification project in Bavaria. The project combines education, ecosystem management, research, tourism and agriculture, and generally strengthens the region.

Please click here for a detailed project description...

Fields: Education, Nature conservation, Agriculture, Tourism
Location: Benediktbeuern, Landkreis Bad Tölz (DE)
Start: 22.11.1988
Project period: open end
Contact: Elisabeth Wölfl, Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur (e-Mail)

Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur

Objectives

The educational mission defined for the ZUK relates to a Creation ethic targeted at sustainable ecological and cultural behaviour. As human beings live in complex and constantly changing social, cultural and ecological networks, the objective of the educational effort is awareness-raising for the whole and its interactions and the resulting ability to take responsible action in terms of sustainable development. That applies in particular to the careful and sustainable use of natural resources, the responsible consumption of energy, respect for nature and preservation of the cultural heritage. The educational mission was launched in 1992 on land belonging to Benediktbeuern Monastery and on the Loisach-Kochelsee peat bogs.
The objectives include the following:
• Protection and development of a style of agriculture in keeping with the natural space and potential of the landscape, including regional marketing strategies
• Preservation of the unique wetlands and the cultural landscape
• Climate-friendly measures through appropriate use of the peat bogs
• Development of low-impact eco-tourism
• Research and knowledge transfer

Activities 

In a wetland restoration project that is unique in Bavaria, appropriate and eco-friendly land use has been practised for almost twenty years now. Close co-operation with the farmers has led to forms of production that are compatible with the landscape and hence the preservation of one of the most valuable wetlands in Bavaria. The measures include extensive pasturage, forest conversion, hydrological rehabilitation, raised bog restoration, and protection of the species and biotopes.
Examples: Landscape Management Farm model (running till 2012), a co-operative project involving farmers that is designed to preserve mowing management on litter meadows in the Loisach-Kochelsee wetlands and thus make a contribution to the preservation of the beauty and natural experience of the peat bog landscape. < /br> Tölz Wetland Axis (started 2003), a co-operative project designed to protect the peat bogs in the Bad Tölz district, where there is a string of peat bogs of regional and national significance occupying a total area of 120 km². The monastery land and the wetland restoration projects constitute an ideal platform for the educational component of the project.

Results (CO2 savings)

The Centre for the Environment and Culture (ZUK) has gained supra-regional recognition as an environmental awareness-building and cultural institution. Every year the centre attracts some 95,000 visitors with its educational programmes, which have a corresponding impact on the region. The ZUK’s innovative educational offering on the subject of nature and the environment, energy, culture and spirituality plus related events make a big contribution to awareness-building for the calls of the environment in the region. The centre also stimulates innovative educational activities elsewhere (Schlehdorf Monastery school project; bear-foot project at Benediktbeuern school).
As a result of the projects launched by the ZUK, mowing management has been restored on 150 ha of litter meadow in the Loisach-Kochelsee wetlands, 380 ha of peat bogs have been renaturalised, extensive management established on 150 ha of arable land, and 50 ha of spruce forest converted to the birch swamp that is appropriate to such sites. Signposting systems with useful information have been installed to create a recreational area that is popular with locals and visitors alike.

Organisation 

The programme is promoted by the Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur e.V. (ZUK). The ZUK association was founded by the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1988. The membership includes various regional and local authorities such as Upper Bavaria, Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen and Benediktbeuern, as well as the Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Wildbiologische Gesellschaft and Schlehdorf Monastery.