23.06. - 07.07.2018
The ‘Drentsche Aa’ area is a varied old cultural landscape, shaped by age old interplay of agriculture and nature, including the deformation of land by ice in the Saalien ice age and lot of erosion and sedimentation in the last/weichselian ice age. The ‘Drentsche Aa’ is also the name of the stream that meanders through this area and creates a typical landscape that is declared National Park. It includes 16 authentic villages.
Partnering in this project are ‘Landscape Management Drenthe’, a regional based charity which focuses on preservation of landscape and nature and government commissioned ‘Dutch State Forestry’, which owns and manages a large part of nature reserves in the Netherlands. Besides, a research team with students & scolars of several Dutch universities will be present during the first week of the project in which volunteers we will take part in a landscape geological Summer school, which is led by universitairy staff members and Landscape Management Drenthe. The field research is part of the so called Pingo program.
The volunteers will start as a part of a yearly landscape geological fieldwork Summer school project, next to some 10-15 students Landscape history and cultural geography (RUG Groningen), Earth science (Utrecht University) and Life sciences and archaeology (VU Amsterdam), who are invited by Landscape Management Drenthe. Some local volunteers will also participate in the field work, which is dedicated to research the remains of so called ‘pingos’ - ice mounts and their remnant which were formed during the final stage of the last ice age. The pingo remnants are the result slowly melting icelenses due to climate change which marked a new era in which the current landscape of north-western Europe was formed.
After the pingos melted, they left behind a kind of craters which filled with water and in the to be following ages slowly filled with peat. These layers of peat cover a ‘frozen history’, like year rings of a tree, and are to be surveyed with drillings by hand. Secondly, the survey has also as a goal to establish if a certain depression in the landscape actually is a pingo remnant, or possibly a wind blown depression. The survey is led by university staffmembers and a project leader of Landscape Management Drenthe.
Apart from the physical research there is also a possibility to work on Oral history, and to try to get some information on the pingo remnant from local habitants. In many cases peat in the pingo remnants has been excavated to serve as fuel. By knowing how much peat was gained, it is possible to determine whether a depression was a pingo remnant or a wind blown depression.
In the second week, participants will participate in different activities of nature management making a wilderness path, removing excessive vegetation on heathland, life stock counting, observing badgers, et cetera. Volunteers will also work together with other local people who do voluntary nature work. Both Landscape Management Drenthe, the research team and the rangers of State Forrestry are very supportive and looking forward to host the volunteers in this beautiful area. ‘The Drentsche Aa’ has been nominated most beautiful landscape of the Netherlands.
of course, the camp leaders and partner organisation will encourage volunteers to put forward their own ideas for a recreational program, but activities will also be organised by the rangers, e.g. a 'mudwalking' tour on the ‘bottom’ of the Wadden area; a Unesco World Heritage Site because of the world’s largest area of intertidal sand and mudflats. A unique experience! Other activities during the week can be swimming, bicycling, visiting the flourishing city of Groningen or the Westerbork transit camp (where Anne Frank was prisoned), museum villages Orvelte, the Hunebed Center, an evening walk in the wilderness. Besides, volunteers are being encouraged to lay contact with the local community for a cultural exchange. Usually, volunteers are invited to have a dinner at local residents’ homes. Drenthe is known for its ‘noaberschap’ (neighbourship).
Volunteers are expected to bring their own tent, airbed or matrass and sleeping bag. They will stay at the beautiful situated nature campsite Uteringskamp of State Forestry in Schoonloo, which during the first week volunteers will share with the students of the Summer school. Volunteers and students will cook for themselves in a ‘main tent’ which is provided by Landscape Management Drenthe and equipped with all cooking facilities. The campsite is equipped which showers and toilets. Wifi is available in the ‘excursion barn’ on the workplace of State Forestry next to the campsite. This barn can also be used as working facility and shelter in case of heavy rain. Bicycles will we provided, this will be the transportation method to the various worksites.
- Tent, an airbed/mat and sleeping bag
- Old/working clothes
- High top sneakers (needed for mud walking)
- Rubber boots (working fields can be very muddy!)
- Rain is spread out over the year, so bring warm clothes, a raincoat and a swimming suit!
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