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The Race for Nature: Six Months On

We are eagerly following the projects of the nature conservation organizations, which have given us valuable insights into their efforts to protect the environment. Are you curious too?

Stiftung Green Advance: 

The world’s largest butterfly

Schmetterlingsfeld

Following the Race for Nature, financial backing from the Graubündner Kantonalbank enabled the Green Advance Foundation to further expand its FuturePlanter project for the benefit of endangered wild bees and butterflies. Alongside this, it has launched work on the ‘world’s largest butterfly’: a giant wildflower butterfly extending over a 1000 m2 area in Switzerland’s Greifensee region and housing a range of species-appropriate nesting sites. The wings will be planted at the end of September 2023, with blooming to occur in spring, summer and autumn 2024 to provide abundant food for the pollinators. Nesting sites for ground-nesting wild bees have already been established in the body of the butterfly. Elsewhere in the installation, several tonnes of deadwood have been installed for the larger, black-coloured carpenter bees, who make this deadwood their home, as many other insects.

As with www.FuturePlanter.ch, anyone can support the project (go to www.schmetterlingsfeld.ch to find out more). By sponsoring the butterfly field, individuals and companies can help the Green Advance Foundation to provide ‘superfood’ to endangered butterflies and wild bees as well as to maintain the habitats. The progress of the project is documented on social media.

Netzwerk Schweizer Pärke:  

Free travel to and from the Swiss parks

2023 keyvisual gratis oev Rhaetische Bahn

Following a successful pilot phase in 2022, the Swiss parks are once again offering free public transport trips to and from Swiss parks with the aid of funding from UBS via the Race for Nature as well as from other partner organisations. If guests book at least three nights’ accommodation at one of the participating establishments within a Swiss park, they’ll receive a free return journey by public transport from their doorstep.

The offer is valid from 1 August to 31 October 2023 and bolsters the Swiss Parks’ long-term commitment to promote travel to the parks by public transport. The goals are to raise guests’ awareness of climate-friendly travel, promote a longer length of stay, encourage the switch from car to public transport and, of course, facilitate access to Swiss Parks’ natural and cultural treasures for all.

Alpen-Initiative: 

Because the Alps need protecting

Alpeninitiative

Support received by the Alpine Initiative from Ricola via the Race for Nature will be used predominantly to fund the project Die Alpen brauchen Klimaschutz (The Alps Need Climate Action). The Alps are hit particularly hard by the effects of climate change, with glacier retreat, the thawing of the permafrost, increased rockfall, debris flows and prolonged drought all threatening the region. A new draft law aims to counteract all of this by making Switzerland climate-neutral by 2050. Actions planned by the federal government are ambitious and varied: support is to be offered for the replacement of gas and electric heating systems with climate-friendly ones, while subsidies will be made available to industrial and commercial businesses adopting innovative technologies for climate-friendly production. Such measures form the core of the new Federal Act on Climate Protection Goals, Innovation and Strengthening Energy Security, whose adoption on 18 June 2023 was in no small part driven by the Alpine Initiative’s committed public relations work. The associated ordinance will enter into force on 1 January 2025: an important step towards protecting the Alps for future generations.

Bergwald Projekt (Mountain Forest Project):

Trin Winterwald

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The Mountain Forest Project is a non-profit foundation based in Trin aimed at promoting the preservation, maintenance and protection of the forest and the cultural landscape in the mountain region. Much of its maintenance and restoration work is carried out by volunteers on residential assignments. ÖKK’s financial backing via the Race for Nature will be used primarily to support the Trin Winterwald (Trin Winter Forest) project, which organises ‘project weeks’ to take care of the forest around Trin in the upper Grisons region. For traditionally, logging is done in winter.

The Mountain Forest Project not only plays a valuable role in the forests’ preservation, but offers volunteers the chance to get to know these wonderful natural worlds from a completely new perspective. Participants in the project weeks spend seven days learning how to tend the forests sustainably under expert guidance. In addition to logging operations, invasive alien species that threaten our native flora are also controlled.

Stiftung Umwelteinsatz Schweiz: 

Dry Stone Wall Week in Strada, Lower Engadin

01 Sanierung (8)

Stiftung Umwelteinsatz (SUS) plans, arranges and supervises group assignments by volunteers throughout Switzerland for the protection of cultural landscapes and the preservation of nature, with a special focus on dry stone wall construction. Generous support from Tilla Theus und Partner AG is channelled into a range of environmental initiatives, with around 70 weeks’ worth of work with school classes, 20 weeks with volunteers and 130 weeks with national civilian service volunteers carried out every year. One of these projects is the Dry Stone Wall Week in Strada in the Lower Engadin.

Together with volunteers, the SUS is restoring a free-standing dry stone wall that runs along a historic transport route of national importance. In undertaking the restoration, it hopes to preserve this important witness to the past as well as to conserve the structural richness of the landscape. The diverse habitat is particularly important for rare flora and fauna that have adapted specially to this location. The area’s attractions include, for example, the ‘Wart-biter Trail’, which leads directly over the wall and is dedicated to Decticus verrucivorus, a highly endangered bush-cricket species. The project was completed in July 2023 following two outreach missions in 2021 and 2022.

There-for-you: 

There-for-trees 

there for you-bild

The Race for Nature and associated financial support from Bassi Elektro AG have opened up new opportunities for the crowdfunding platform There-For-You, which works in climate action, animal welfare and children’s aid as well as for social and humanitarian causes. New project there-for-trees is one of these opportunities. The project is cooperating with Arosa forest authorities (and other areas of the Grisons) to facilitate forest outreach programmes for one or more school classes at a time. The benefits will be twofold: while the children’s work will contribute to creating a sustainable and resilient forest environment, it will also acquaint and inspire them with the subjects of forest, climate, biodiversity and sustainability. The sessions are expected to take place in the spring and autumn of 2024.

These projects demonstrate that our ongoing efforts to protect the environment are having vital real-world impact. We also recognise that we are just at the beginning. We look forward to many more projects to come!

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