We often don’t notice the interesting things right on our doorstep until we take a second look – and sometimes we miss them altogether. This is why we have organised an annual nature park quiz since 2000.
Supported by the Sparkasse banks of the Vogtlandkreis district, the Erzgebirgskreis district and the Mittelsachsen administrative district, the Erzgebirge/Vogtland Nature Park runs a competition for the local primary schools every year.
The questions are tailored to 4th-grade lesson plans (equivalent to Year 5 in the UK) and are designed to encourage pupils to do further reading and carry out their own research outdoors. A range of information materials on nature and conservation provide teachers with suggestions for lesson planning and experience-based environment education through projects and field days.
Pupils’ engagement with the quiz topics, which are related to the region and based on current nature park projects, is reflected in more than just their ability to recite information. A large number of letters and drawings reveal the emotional relationship many pupils develop with nature. A creative prize, including a financial contribution, is awarded to a class every year.
The main prizes, which are awarded to the most successful class in each district, are excursions to areas of the nature park that are especially well suited to illustrating and deepening the pupils’ understanding of the quiz topics. Joint projects with the landscape conservation associations (such as mowing the meadows or planting fruit trees and hedgerows) foster positive attitudes towards nature and the environment, and shape patterns of behaviour in the long term.