The first meeting of the Oder Delta Network partners took place on September 27, during the European Week of Sustainable Development. The meeting embodied the idea of cross-border cooperation between entities sharing the rewilding vision. The element that united all the partners was the development of nature-positive tourism.
Cooperation between local entities
Rewilding Oder Delta develops through cooperation with local entities – including associations, local government institutions, entrepreneurs or guides. Together with current and future partners, we wish to create a platform for the exchange of services and experiences within the framework of nature tourism.
The invitation to our meeting was accepted by many service providers from the region operating, among others, in the hospitality sector, healthy food production or nature guides. The entrepreneurs were joined by representatives of educational institutions and NGOs supporting the nature-based economy.
The first meeting of the partners
We started the day with a short presentation by each of the partners and Rewilding Oder Delta members. Participants also had the opportunity to visit our headquarters in Glashütte. Afterwards, the guests, led by nature guide Ark Dobrzeniecki (NatureTrip), set off on bicycles through Ueckermünde Heath to the Transboundary Environmental Education Center in Zalesie (TOEE), located on the Polish side of the border. On-site, dr. Tadeusz Leśnik gave an overview of the activities of the Center and the facility.
Another highlight of the program was the presentation of the Oder Delta Network by Frauke Bennett, Rewilding Oder Delta board member. As a guide organizing canoe trips in the Oder River basin for years, she is well aware of the importance of cooperation between entrepreneurs at the regional level. In her speech, Frauke stressed that the rich and diverse offer must not be understood as competition but as a driving force for the development of nature tourism in the Oder Delta area.
Goals of the network
A cooperative network of partners who identify with the region and operate without harming the environment can become a tool to facilitate contacts and exchange of services. Through marketing activities carried out by Rewilding Oder Delta, partners gathered in the Network will have the opportunity to attract new customers from all over Europe. This form of support is already working successfully in other rewilding landscapes. We hope are looking forward to expanding the network with new members and their feedback. This way, we can create a platform that will realistically give local businesses a chance to grow.
We were able to discuss the first conclusions at our headquarters in Glashütte after returning from Zalesie. The evening was filled with discussions, as well as the exchange of experiences and ideas that we intend to implement soon.
We would like to thank the staff of the Transboundary Environmental Education Center in Zalesie for their help in organizing this meeting, and we hope for further fruitful cooperation.
Text: Magdalena Urlich
Translation from Polish: Agnieszka Soboń