Verfasst von Patricia Contreras
The international work camp Environmental Protection with WWF, organized by Social Civil International, took place on August 13th – August 23rd, 2015 in Marchegg, Austria. 12 volunteers from France, Spain, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia and Belgium took part in this work camp aiming to help with the environmental maintenance work on the natural reserve “March-Thaya Auen”.
The camp coordinators, Bastian and me, arrived earlier on the first meeting day to have some of the groceries already in place and check that our accommodation was in order. Since the beginning we had full support from Marion Schindlauer and Gerhard Egger, also the people from the stork house. We rented 15 bicycles that were very useful for us as transport, either for work purposes or recreation. We picked up everybody from the train station with Marion’s help.
Our main goal at the camp was to remove invasive plant species (neophytes) from the area, remove protection fences from trees and clean up areas where the horses from the pasture program reside. Cleaning the area from invasive species was considered as hard work for many of the volunteers. We all had a clear picture of what the camp was about, however, I don’t we were all prepared to deal with the hard work and the heat.
We did not have long hours of work or very harsh conditions, there was always time to rest and the hours of work were not very long. We would start at 9 am and lunch time would be at 12. People from WWF invited us one day to eat fish in a local Gasthaus. In the afternoon work would be from 1pm to 4pm. In these times, we included explanation time and exploration of the area, plus the bike riding.
After work was done we would all go back to relaxing and enjoying the experience of living together with people of different backgrounds. Free days were a great opportunity to create bonding between the volunteers. As the first days were really hot, Marion decided that it was best to switch the free days, so we got to work two days and the third one was a day off, which we used to go to Bratislava. There, the volunteers were breaking the ice and starting to establish long term friendships (we created a Facebook group, so they are still communicating to each other). The second day off we went to Vienna.
The castle, our accommodation during the length of the camp, was the best part for many of the volunteers, they were very excited to live inside such an accommodation. Although, it has a few structural problems, like the balconies and some filtering pipes, it fulfilled all our needs of comfort. We had everything that it was needed and Marion made sure of that. Four volunteers even had the possibility to stay one more night.
Our meals were kept vegetarian although only one volunteer was vegetarian. We did our best to keep it animal free. I have to admit that we were lucky to have always delicious and interesting meals, and when they were not punctual there were always snacks organized by the shopping crew.