3 – 6 February 2017 – Storchenschmiede, Apetlon
The 1st day of the 3rd training has arrived! The group gathered at the rather luxurious Storchenschmiede (in Apetlon, Burgenland), and we had some time to reconnect as we hadn´t seen each other (at least all of us) for about two months. The first day, we had a presentation about political action and engagement by WWF Austria’s climate expert, Karl Schellmann. We learned a lot and had a very interesting discussion afterward about how we can get involved. We had a special dinner prepared by our Peruvian guest Miguel. After the dinner, each group had a short presentation about their action projects before we played many games late into the night.
We started our 2nd day with a social change presentation and also learned about system thinking and social change, prepared by our very own Heike (with some help from Nate)! The most interesting aspect was the different stages of behavioral change. The newly obtained knowledge inspired us to improve our understanding of the psychological aspect of the processes in our subconscious.
In the afternoon, we went on a walk with WWF-Austria’s biodiversity and international conservation expert Georg Scattolin to observe the long-eared owls that are “hiding” in trees (by the graveyard, okay a bit strange, but they were cute!). Afterward, Georg held a presentation on biodiversity and the dire global situation we are facing, and we had a very interesting discussion about the WWF Living Planet Report 2016.
After an energizing breakfast, we went for a one hour walk out of Apetlon to the boarder of the National Park Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel. While we recharged our souls with fresh air and the first sunbeams of a mild winter day, we observed the local wildlife. Using our naked eyes or a few binoculars, we spotted many grey legged geese, a herd of deer, a European hare and even a beautiful Lapwing.
Back in the Storchenschmiede, Mona, our resident artist, released our creativity, and had us paint an old curtain with various artistic techniques.
After lunch we made use of our high flying creativity to take pictures of every Action Project Team. This activity was followed by the arrival of our next WWF expert of the day Natalie Moser, the Generation Earth media/communications specialist. In an interactive presentation where we worked on our individual action projects, she taught us all the important aspects that we should take into account considering marketing: better defining our objectives, target groups and the key message and which media channels WWF and GE are able to offer us.
“How lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” is probably the best quote to describe our fourth and last day at this training. We started the day with a short “council,” where everyone could talk about her/his experiences, emotions, and the issues that are most caught us during the weekend.
At 10:30 two experts from the organization “AKS” (Aktion kritischer Schüler) came and shared their knowledge about rhetoric skills with us. We were especially surprised that the percentage of nonverbal communication is above 60 percent and we learned some techniques on how to improve ours.
After lunch, we started with packing. And so just before saying goodbye, we reflected on how we felt after the 3rd training in a word (or 10…). We’re all looking forward to our next training weekend in April in Upper Austria!