The newly established rewilding centre in the Oder Delta strengthens transboundary conservation efforts

June 21, 2023

On June 16th, 2023, Rewilding Oder Delta inaugurated the new rewilding centre in Glashütte, in the municipality of Rothenklempenow. This highly anticipated event results from the joint Polish and German cooperation aiming to foster a strong bond between nature, local communities, and visitors alike.

The inauguration of the newly established rewilding centre
Andrzej Łazowski / Rewilding Oder Delta

Solid foundations

For over a decade, ecologists, tourism specialists, and sustainable development experts have worked together to protect and develop the Oder Delta, a unique landscape in the heart of Europe. In 2019, as a fruit of long-standing cooperation between Polish and German organisations together with Rewilding Europe, Rewilding Oder Delta (ROD) was founded. 

With the small office in Stolpe an der Penne, the organisation initiated talks with various landowners and stakeholders crucial for delivering a coherent rewilding vision on a landscape scale. In December 2022, after three years of establishing its presence in the region, building a multidisciplinary and international team, as well as running various research and pilot initiatives, the organisation found a perfect facility in the middle of the Ueckermünder Heath, 4 km from the Polish border.

A hub of rewilding activities

The newly established rewilding centre in Glashütte, close to Rothenklempenow, Germany
Agnieszka Soboń / Rewilding Oder Delta

The newly opened centre is located at Lindenstraße 24, Glashütte, next to the village of Rothenklempenow, Germany. This two-story building is a hub of rewilding initiatives accommodating functional spaces like offices, a versatile meeting area, and an information point. The indoor also provides accommodation for staff and interns and a communal dining room, while the outdoors offers a garden and ample space for open-air events and workshops.

The centre’s opening marks an important milestone.” says Ulrich Stöcker, ROD team leader (Germany).With the expanding field of activities, we were looking for the right space to accommodate the growing team as well as create an engaging venue for the increasing number of visitors. We hope the centre will serve as a meeting point for our neighbours, partners, and nature enthusiasts passionate about rewilding.

The building was erected in the 1920s by the owner of the glass factory and, throughout the XX century, was used as a housing unit for multiple families. The last owner took great care in renovating and maintaining the structure, ensuring that it remains in good condition and was pleased that it will be put to positive use in the future. Thanks to their cooperation, the building has been acquired with an encouraging ten-year period to pay all instalments, securing a sustainable future for the organisation’s operations in the area.

Today’s event holds great symbolism.” adds Peter Torkler, ROD team leader (Poland). This place would not exist if not for the exploitation of natural resources by the glass industry that drove the local economy’s success in the past. However, as times have changed, the same building will get a completely new meaning, serving now as a base to restore and protect the wetlands and wildlife of the stunning Oder Delta landscape.”

Inspiring ideas beyond borders

Rainer Schulze, the mayor of Rothenklempenow, during his opening speech
Andrzej Łazowski / Rewilding Oder Delta

About seventy people attended the Rewilding Open Air throughout the day. The inauguration began with an information session with the local representatives and residents. First, the guests took a short tour of the facilities led by ROD team members. The presentations panel was opened by Rainer Schulze, the mayor of Rothenklempenow, introducing the municipality and its enthusiastic attitude towards collaboration with non-governmental organisations and business owners.

The introduction was followed by Jochen Elberskirch, the director of the Stettiner Haff Nature Park, giving an insight into their role in the nature protection of the region. He also outlined the shared goals of both entities, including the promotion of sustainable and eco-friendly tourism, awareness raising, and fostering local environmental stewardship.

The guests could then get a better understanding of the concept of rewilding and its global context. Johan Booij, the finance director of Rewilding Europe, provided an overview of the ten rewilding landscapes spread across the continent, Rewilding Europe Travel tour operator, European Young Rewilders network, and innovative approaches to funding nature conservation initiatives.

The morning session was closed by ROD team leaders – Ulrich Stöcker and Peter Torkler – guiding the audience through the history of the Polish-German cooperation, the accomplishments to date and the vision of a resilient and thriving Oder Delta where people and nature work together in harmony to restore ecosystem dynamics, wildlife and habitats and to achieve wellbeing across the transboundary landscape.

An exciting open-air afternoon

The lunch break was an opportunity to mingle, network and enjoy the serene garden surroundings with delicious meals catered by Bio Rollin, the renowned organic products store in Pasewalk. 

Field trip to Haussee Lake with Nancy Wolf and Artur Furdyna
Agnieszka Soboń / Rewilding Oder Delta

In the afternoon, the guest chose between three guided tours. The first group went for a walk with Wiebke Brenner, Rewilding Officer at ROD and Georg Messerer, wilderness guide. The participants looked for animal tracks and got to know the dynamics between different species present around the Gottesheide nature reserve. Another tour discovered the water landscape of the Haussee Lake in Rothenklempenow with Nancy Wolf, Freshwater Ecosystems Officer at ROD, and Artur Furdyna, hydrobiologist and ROD board member. The third group had a chance to delve into human-wildlife coexistence in the vicinity of the headquarters. Bernd Schock from Hodlwood offered a fascinating introduction into the world of wild pollinators, while Frank Götz-Schlingmann, Network Coordinator at ROD, showed the features of the landscape shared by beavers and people. 

The exciting day was concluded with a common barbeque supplied by BioBoden Cooperative from Rothenklempenow. The evening gathering was enriched by a screening of a video summary from the lynx release action undertaken in spring 2023. The action was part of a long-term reintroduction programme implemented by the West Pomeranian Nature Society (ZTP) with the support of ROD and the European Wildlife Comeback Fund from Rewilding Europe.


The guests gathered during the inauguration
Andrzej Łazowski / Rewilding Oder Delta

Towards a wilder future

In conclusion, the inauguration of the newly opened rewilding centre was a successful and inspiring event that celebrated a decade of transboundary collaborations and paved the path towards future initiatives. The team extends their warmest thanks to all who participated in this memorable day, from the local authorities and residents to the enthusiastic supporters and partners. Rewilding Oder Delta sends a cordial invitation to all interested in exploring current rewilding efforts that are transforming this region into a symbol for ‘life quality’ – both for people and nature.

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