Spend an award-winning night in the wild

Have you ever wondered how it feels to spend a night in Wilderness? In Germany, a project of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park can make such a night reality! They offer school classes, families and other groups the opportunity to spend 31 hours in the protected area. Like this, the participants can experience the natural dynamics in forests with all their senses. It aims to open up their minds to the intrinsic values of nature and the need to protect it. The project now won the official Award of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. In general, the UN grants this award to projects that preserve biological diversity in innovative ways.

Please also read: Camping in Wilderness

Connecting people and nature

The United Nations proclaimed the period from 2011 to 2020 as the UN Decade of Biological Diversity. The aim was to raise awareness about the global decline in natural diversity and to spark innovative projects. The “Wildnisnacht” (German for night in the Wilderness) is a great example for such a project. Only if the society is aware of the great value of biodiversity will we manage to protect it. And what better way is there than experiencing this value yourself? Involving the public by spending a night in the wild, thus, is a concrete measure for the preservation of biological diversity.

During the expedition with experienced rangers, the participants experience Wilderness up close. They build a camp, cook together, and share limited supplies like drinking water. For many, this experience might push them out of their comfort zones. Such a unique opportunity to experience nature, however, can also open up minds – no matter how old you are. Everybody experiences nature differently – its smells, its sounds, its colors, and its structures. Such experiences can teach us how nature benefits our well-being and how its diversity is the life support of not only the species that live in Wilderness but also of human society.

With the award of exemplary projects, the UN Decade of Biological Diversity in Germany draws attention to exactly that: the value of natural diversity and the opportunities it offers us.

The Wilderness Night in the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park is a very successful example of how nature and species protection can be made tangible and be conveyed effectively to target groups. An expedition into the forest is also a great adventure and I can only recommend everyone to take part in it once. The Wilderness in our national park offers just the right experience for this. I am convinced that anyone who walks in nature and perceives the beauty of our flora and fauna is also committed to protecting it.

Priska Hinz
Environment Minister in Hessen

Everybody can experience a night in nature

Are you also keen to spend a night in the wild? Such an experience does not have to be limited to this project. Eventually, the legal situation of Wilderness or wild camping is the deciding factor whether an overnight stay is possible in your region. While, for example, Wilderness camping is allowed in the United States or Australia, it is mostly restricted in Europe. The European Wilderness Society developed Respect Nature to offer European-wide framework for Wilderness camping. It is based on the legal situation in European countries, and incorporates best advice and support for experiencing Wilderness in a sustainable way. Use Respect Nature and other resources to do some research about Wilderness camping in your area and head out!

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