A new rewilding centre has opened on the German side of the Oder Delta rewilding landscape. As nature continues to recover in the area, the multi-functional building will help to build engagement, develop nature-based tourism, and ultimately enhance rewilding impact.
A new rewilding centre has opened in the Oder Delta rewilding landscape, near the village of Rothenklempenow on the German side of the delta. It will act as an important focal point for rewilding activities and help to scale up engagement and the beneficial impact of rewilding across the delta. The two-storey building, which was officially inaugurated with a special event on June 16, will act as a rewilding hub, with offices, accommodation, a meeting area and garden, space for outdoor events and workshops, and information and imagery for visitors.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the centre and its opening marks an important milestone for Oder Delta rewilding,” says Ulrich Stöcker, the Rewilding Oder Delta team leader on the German side. “Our expanding scope of activities meant we were looking for the right space to accommodate our growing team, and we also wanted to create an inspirational and educational venue for our increasing number of visitors. The centre will serve as a meeting point for our neighbours and partners, and all those passionate about nature and rewilding.”
A well-attended opening
The opening event of the new centre was attended by around 70 people. Guests were initially taken on a short tour of facilities by members of the Rewilding Oder Delta team. This was followed by presentations from Rainer Schulze, the mayor of Rothenklempenow, who introduced the municipality and its enthusiastic attitude towards collaboration with non-governmental organisations and business owners, and Jochen Elberskirch, the director of the Stettiner Haff Nature Park, who talked abut the park’s role in regional conservation. Johan Booij, Rewilding Europe’s finance and operations director, then gave an overview of Rewilding Europe’s rewilding landscapes, as well as Rewilding Europe Travel, the European Young Rewilders network, and innovative approaches to financing nature conservation.
The morning session concluded with the Rewilding Oder Delta team leaders – Ulrich Stöcker and Peter Torkler – presenting the history of Polish-German collaboration and achievements of the team, and the vision of a resilient and thriving transboundary Oder Delta based on the restoration of natural processes, the recovery of wildlife populations, and a landscape where people and nature coexist harmoniously and profitably together.
Witnessing nature recovery
Following a lunch in the centre garden, the afternoon was a time for guests to experience local nature recovery and witness the impact of rewilding first-hand. Three different groups, each led by Rewilding Oder Delta team members, wilderness guides and nature experts, explored the Gottesheide Nature Reserve, Haussee Lake, and human-wildlife coexistence in the vicinity of the centre, with a focus on pollinators and beavers.
The exciting day finished with the screening of a video of a Eurasian lynx release carried out locally in the spring. The action was part of a long-term reintroduction programme being carried out by the West Pomeranian Nature Society (ZTP), with the support of the Rewilding Europe Oder Delta team and Rewilding Europe’s European Wildlife Comeback Fund.
Towards a wilder delta
Straddling the German-Polish border on a key ecological crossroads, the Oder Delta is one of Central Europe’s wildest regions. Ongoing rewilding actions have seen wildlife begin to thrive in more natural densities here, with unmanaged natural processes reshaping the landscape. With nature-based tourism also on the rise, growing numbers of people are visiting the area to reconnect with nature and enjoy a chance to spot the so-called “Big Seven” – the Atlantic sturgeon, grey seal, beaver, white-tailed eagle, elk, wolf and the European bison. The inauguration of the new rewilding centre was a successful and inspiring event which paves the way for the scaling up of further rewilding across the beautiful delta landscape.
“The entire Rewilding Oder Delta team extends their warmest thanks to all who participated in this memorable day, from the local authorities and residents to enthusiastic supporters and partners,” says Peter Torkler. “I invite anyone interested in rewilding and the benefits it can offer to people and nature to visit the centre and the increasingly wild Oder Delta.”
The inauguration of the centre follows the opening of other rewilding centres in both the Affric Highlands rewilding landscape in Scotland, and the Greater Côa Valley rewilding landscape in Portugal. While all three centres are different in terms of their layout and facilities, they all help to enhance rewilding impact by building engagement and supporting the development of nature-based economies.
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Rewilding Centre address
17321 Glashütte (Rothenklempenow)