Excited and elated, the two campcoordinators and one participant who arrived earlier, were waiting for the arrival of the rest of the group in the campsite in Eckartsau. After a more or less long journey and packed with necessaries like hiking-boots, sleeping bags and swimming suits, everybody arrived safe in the tiny village in the middle of nature. The first morning, we got a short introduction of our contact person of the National Park Donau-Auen and then we highly motivated cycled to our working area. Well equipped with maps, lunch box and work gloves, we started helping the National Park Team. After the first work effort, some ice breaker games and collaborative cooking, we got to know each other.
Collective leisure time activities like swimming, barbecuing, excursions into the forest (because it was mating season of the deer and we could listen to the males bawling), visiting the castles Eckartsau and Orth, paddling with a boat through the Danube side arms and city trips to Vienna and Bratislava let friendships emerge. We used our bicycle as main method of locomotion and the work was physically ambitious, but we could take as many breaks as we wanted and we had lots of food as energy source. That’s why we got a really good condition and sometimes working in this beautiful nature and landscape was like a meditation and totally fulfilling.
The amicable relationship to the National Park Team and the thought to help nature persisting in its beauty and diversity gave us lots of motivation. During the second week a member of the SCI stayed with us and informed us about the organization and its ideas. As a surprise, the director of the National Park also visited us and gifted us with souvenirs and information.