Volunteers fight the bird cherry in Angermünde’s municipal forest

During the course of this week, from 4 to 10 July 2021, a total of 18 volunteers are working on various urban forest areas in Angermünde under the direction of the Mountain Forest Project (Bergwaldprojekt e.V.). This project aims to improve the ecological situation and development of a near-natural city forest. In addition, it raises volunteer’s awareness on sustainable living in their everyday lives.

Under the guidance of Nana Schleißing from the Mountain Forest Project, and the direction of Rafael Eckmann, municipal forest officer of the city of Angermünde, the volunteers will dismantle unnecessary fences in the urban forest and focus on combating the invasive bird cherry (Prunus pardus), originally from North America. Generally, native animals do not eat this invasive species, and its spread prevents the natural regeneration of native deciduous trees. 

In addition to the practical work, volunteers are learning about the important functions of the forest and its potential biodiversity. For example, the project has prepared an afternoon excursion where participants will discuss many aspects of the forest and its importance, not only for humans.

The Mountain Forest Project (Bergwaldprojekt e.V.)

Based in Würzburg, this project organises volunteer weeks throughout Germany. Every year, more than 3,000 people participate in over 140 project weeks at more than 70 work locations in Germany. The goals of these project weeks are to preserve the diverse ecosystem functions, and to make participants aware of the importance of and threats to our natural resources. Further, it aims to encourage the general public to use natural resources in sustainable way. 

By getting actively involved in their environment, volunteers from all over Germany develop new relationships with the forest and nature. The positive experiences from the project weeks often encourage them to make their own everyday life more nature-friendly and resource-conserving. In this way, they actively participate in the social change towards a sustainable society.

Nana Schleißing, Project Manager of the Mountain Forest Project

The importance of Angermünde’s forest

Angermünde is located in the immediate vicinity of the Grumsin beech forest, which was designated as UNESCO World Heritage component 10 years ago. Since then, Grumsin is part of the transnational World Heritage Site “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”. Thus, the Angermünde municipal forest, with its mixed deciduous forests with a high proportion of beech, has the potential to serve as a connecting habitat for the Grumsin forest.