Explorer’s themed trail (Forscherparcours) Alp Flix
The Forscherparcours is a themed trail on the subject of biodiversity in Parc Ela, Switzerland's largest nature park. Professor Fix takes children and their families on adventure through the moors on Alp Flix. The trail includes six stops where kids can use the researcher’s kit and diary to observe the surrounding nature. With the utensils from the kit, families can cast animal tracks or build a water wheel. Puzzles, a spider hoover and a beaker magnifying glass allow children to explore the creatures in the water, in the bog and in the fields. The researcher's diary accompanies the young researchers on their hunt. It also contains background information on Alp Flix, its valuable habitats and the origins of this magnificent moor landscape. The texts invite the children to take a closer look and teaches them about nature’ riches. The course leads along existing paths. Simple information boards have been set up on site. 2 additional aids are installed each summer with minimal intervention. The trail can also be visited without a kit. The trail was created more than 10 years ago and is still more popular than ever. For the Parc Ela Association, it is a classic environmental education and awareness-raising project, with the emphasis on inviting people to take a closer look. "Only what you know, will you love – only what you love, will you protect" is the logic behind it. This also generates the understanding not to enter the lake, which is located in the marshland of national importance. The kit is produced in ARGO, a workshop for the integration of people with disabilities, and sold for CHF 38.
Values and Partnerships in Swiss Parks
The Swiss Parks are unique territories that strive to promote a sustainable regional development. In order to integrate sustainability more strongly into local activities and partnerships, the Parks have defined seven core values: preservation and valorisation of nature and landscapes, regional value creation, awareness raising and communication, cooperation, innovation and quality, regional identity and culture, fairness and health. These values indicate how the Parks understand sustainability and how they implement it. They form the common basis for all Swiss Parks to enter into partnerships with local, regional or national organisations. For each value, the Parks have developed specific criteria, which are discussed and evaluated in coaching conversations with existing and potential partner companies. On the basis of these discussions, an action plan is drawn up with concrete measures that the company takes to make its business activities more sustainable. The values and criteria are thus not only a practical instrument for developing and strengthening a sustainability-oriented regional economy, but also form the basis for sustainable communication and cooperation between the park's stakeholders. The aim of this innovative process is to form a community of regional and national actors that encourage each other, share best practice examples and work together towards a sustainable future.
Fahrtziel Natur
Fahrtziel Natur is a national cooperation in which the Swiss Parks work together with various local transport companies as well as environmental organisations and cantons in order to encourage tourists to travel to the Parks by public transport. In order to do so, Fahrtziel Natur develops sustainable travel offers with attractive discounts. In tourism, transportation (travelling to and from the destination) makes up for the majority of carbon dioxide emissions. By combining exciting activities and explaining how easily accessible they are, the Swiss Parks tackle this issue and contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions. Moreover, the Swiss Parks include the information on “how to get there by public transport” in all their communication. That way, they raise awareness and make people more conscious that their transportation choice is important. Finally, innovation is also a key element and new ideas are being created in order to make public transport more attractive.
Descending from the alpine pasture in Entlebuch
Since 2004, the Entlebuch alpine herders (“Älpler”) have been bringing their cattle down from the alp to the valley together. Seven proud Älpler families take part in the Entlebucher Alpabzug with their approximately 250 festively decorated animals. In Schüpfheim more than 10’000 locals and guests await to warmly welcome them. Yodelers, alphorn blowers, traditional dance groups and flag-wavers accompany the Älper families on the procession and meet for an impressive concert on the church steps. At the large cheese and regional product market, visitors can taste and buy the local products. The cheerful Älplerchilbi lasts until well into the evening. The idea of the joint alpine departure arose within the framework of a research project on the future of alpine farming. By strengthening the cohesion among the Älpler families and the joy of the profession, it can contribute to the long-term preservation of the alpine economy. The market offers an ideal sales platform for alpine and regional products and direct contact with consumers. The living tradition gives insight into the life of the alpine farmers and raises the guests’ awareness for the various challenges around it. Today, it is jointly supported and organized by the alpine farmers, tourism, the community and the Entlebuch Biosphere.
Corporate Volunteering in Swiss Parks
Swiss nature parks regularly organize volunteering events for companies that strive to contribute to environmental sustainability by actively engaging their employees in this cause. Participants help to maintain valuable natural and cultural landscapes in Swiss parks. In doing so they get to know the park, exchange ideas with the local population and enjoy regional specialities. Competent accompanying persons impart knowledge about the local fauna, flora and regional culture.
La Route Verte
La Route Verte is a 7-day e-bike itinerary that leads tourists from Schaffhausen to Geneva through the Jura Arc's six Regional Nature Parks. For every stage, a "living landscape" is presented and presents how a landscape (for example the vineyards of the Blauburgunderland in Schaffhause Nature Park) is maintained by local people who work hand in hand with nature (here, the winemaker) to create delicious and sustainable products (the wine). By meeting locally engaged people and by buying the local products, tourists can help support not only the local economy but also the beautiful nature and environment they cycle through. Apart from wine, La Route Verte also showcases high-stem orchards, the forest as a economic and social ressource, Franches-Montagnes horses, dry-stoned walls, Absinth and alpine pasture cheese. By telling these "behind the scene" stories, La Route Verte creates a special bond between the tourists and the landscapes they learn to love. In addition to raising awareness for local products and the interrelation of it with maintaining Switzerland's landscapes, La Route Verte also encourages people to go on a healthy active holiday, offers a care-freee holiday with a luggage transfer solution and connects over 100 players (the parks, the tourist offices, hotels and restaurants, ...) all over the Jura Arc.