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Good Practice


Environmental education: Children on the "barefoot-path" (© Centre for Nature and Culture)

The Centre for Nature and Culture is an educational centre for visitors of all target and age groups. It is situated in the monastery Benediktbeuern, at the northern edge of the Alps. The educational and cultural offers for children, youth and adults are based on the maxim "Youth, creation, education - today for tomorrow". On the properties of the monastery model projects for habitat and species protection are implemented. The focus is on climate, flood and peatland protection.

I Description of the measure

Renaturation of peatland (© Centre for Nature and Culture)

Title in original language: Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur

Location of CNA: Germany

Municipality / regional entity: Benediktbeuern (Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen)

Category of the experience: Measure
Type(s) of CNA:

Principal nomination: Educational
Secondary nomination(s): Technological

Thematic field(s):

Principal field: Land use 
Secondary field(s): Tourism

Spatial scale: Regional (large scale)
Time & duration:

Start date: 22.11.1988
Duration: still ongoing

Key word(s): innovative education offers, nature protection, regional value


The centre was founded by the Salesians Don Bosco. Aim is to provide innovative educational offers to obtain the natural basis of life and the cultural heritage. The centre contributes to awareness-raising and behaviour changes. In the monastery itself innovative ideas are implemented as for example an energy base for the electricity and warmth self-supply based on renewable energies. A further goal is to create regional value added for example by actively including farmers in the centre`s work. A further issue is nature protection with e.g. extensification measures on the properties of the monastery (200 ha). Other examples are improvement of water regime, renaturation of peatlands or the use of litter in animal housing (model of a landscape preservation farm).


In the centre educational work, ecosystem management, research, tourism and agriculture are interactively combined, with positive effects on the region. There are special environmental educational offers for children and youth and also for adult education and advanced advocational education. These are for example interactive, permanent exhibitions on energy savings, ecological excursions and conferences of experts.


Today the Centre for Nature and Culture has become a popular institution for many different age groups regarding environmental education and nature protection (around 95.000 visitors per year). Grassland extensification has been performed on 150 ha, the hydrology in the area has been improved on 80 ha. By re-waterlogging approximately 168.000 kg CO2 are saved per year. Model-projects were initiated, e.g. 150 ha bedding meadows have been mowed and 380 ha peatlands renaturated. An extensive and ecological agriculture with regional marketing structures has been developed, peatlands and the cultural landscape have been obtained, the climate is protected by an adjusted use of peatlands, a sustainable eco-tourism has been established, research and transfer of knowledge takes place.

II Assessment criteria

District administrator Niedermaier & district chairman Fichtner (© Centre for Nature and Culture)

Mitigation effects: Very high

An energy base for the electricity and warmth self-supply based on renewable energies was established for the monastery. There are advanced training offers for the employees of the Centre for Nature and Culture and of the monastery regarding an efficent use of energy. Peatland restorations were implemented. The monastery and the Centre of Nature and Culture are EMAS III certified.

Impacts on adaptation: Positive

By a right use of peatlands and by extensification of greenland positive ecological effects exist and climate change adaption and water retention qualities are improved. This is especially positive within flood events.

Impacts on environment:

- Landscape: Very positive
- Alpine ecosystems / biodiversity: Very positive
- Water / soil / air: Very positive
- "Other": None

Renaturation and extensification measures have positive effects on the environment and the biodiversity with all its parts.

Impacts on society:

- Social justice: Very positive
- Regional / cultural identity: Very positive
- "Other": None

Many offers, like paths in the peatlands, are also available for handicapped persons. The project "Tagwerk" was implemented with delinquent youth.

Impacts on economy:

- Employment / job creation: Positive
- Added value / income: Very positive
- Know how / competitiveness: Very positive
- "Other": None

New jobs were created, the regional value added was strengthened by including e.g. farmers into the work. Know how in nature protection issues and environmental educational offers has been established.

Public relations impact and awareness-raising: Very high

Around 95.000 people visit the Centre for Nature and Culture per year. The Centre is well-known beyond the region.

Transferability: Very high

The nature protection measures as well as the educational offers are well suited to be transferred.

Cross sectoral and integrative approach: Very high

A cross sectoral and intergrative approach is reached by combining measures of the technological sector, the nature protecion field, the field of land use as well as of educational offers.

Good governance: Very high

The Centre for Environment and Culture is quite popular. Conferences and meetings take place, a close contact to science and research exists.

Executive body: Other private bodies

The Centre for Nature and Culture is a registered association.

Contact person(s):

Name: Elisabeth Pleyl
Institution: Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur Benediktbeuern
Address: Zeilerweg 2 (Meierhof), D-83671 Benediktbeuern
Phone: + 49 (0) 88 57 - 88 - 705
Fax: + 49 (0) 88 57 - 88 - 689
Email: [email protected]

Other contact persons:

Other contact person: Elisabeth Wölfl: [email protected]

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