HARMONIOUS COEXISTENCE OF MAN AND NATURE
— text AKU team / photo Naturzentrum Thurauen
The alluvial plain Eggrank-Thurspitz is one of the most important alluvial areas of Switzerland: a unique natural and recreational area at the mouth of the river Thur. Because of its high level of biodiversity the area was recognised in 1992 as a wet area of national importance.
Part of the river was re-naturalised in 2008, creating new and invaluable habitats for both flora and fauna. A cantonal order defines the protected areas as well as the rules for tourist use of this natural area. Rangers monitor the harmonious coexistence of man and nature here and are responsible for the information service and for controlling the river floodplain areas.
«Our work starts early in the morning in the Rangers’ office, where we check the values of the speed of flow of the Thur towards the Rhine» says Annemarie Brennwald, a Ranger, «and then we reply to the e-mails we received the day before. After that we prepare our equipment to do our round of the alluvial plain: binoculars, information leaflets, identification manual, report sheet and protection plan, tools and bags for rubbish.
As members of the surveillance and information service we wear a uniform and have a badge of recognition. We move about over the whole natural area by bicycle and check the various infrastructures. Access to the ecologically most important areas of the alluvial plain is forbidden, since they are the most sensitive habitats where many and also rare animal and plant species live. We must keep certain species under control in these areas during the reproduction period, especially in spring and summer, to prevent them from being disturbed by man. Persons who are in these protected areas unlawfully are duly reprimanded and requested to leave. This requires great diligence as well as good communication skills and sensitivity. Most of the time the conversation is positive and we are able to educate visitors to respect nature and to be environmentally aware.
During our round on foot we provide information on the activities in progress and on the scheduled events and we answer various type of questions, such as: What is the importance of an alluvial plain? What are the benefits of flood control and the recovery projects? Where can you see beavers? What’s the name of that bird singing at the top of that tree?
During tours, as nature experts we can describe the relationships that exist between the landscape, improvement of the habitats and flood protection. We also illustrate the diverse forms of life present in the wet areas, which, with a bit of luck, we can observe together.»
Our boots are one of the most important tools for our daily work in the alluvial plain, where they are really put to the test. Comfort, durability and weight are fundamental aspects considering that we wear them for hours each day. It is also important that they have an outsole with a good tread pattern and are water-repellent. This is because we often have to move off the beaten tracks and cross through wet ground or reach the river banks to recover an old rubber dinghy that has run aground. We have found an extremely reliable partner in our AKU boots.
The Thurauen alluvial plain is one of the most important wet areas of Switzerland: a unique natural and recreational area at the mouth of the river Thur where it flows into the Rhine. The Thurauen Nature Centre is the ideal place for excursions on foot or by bicycle and also for enjoying initiatives based on environmental education.
Steubisallmend 3, 8416 Flaach (CH)
Tel. +41 52 355 15 55
firstname.lastname@example.org - www.naturzentrumthurauen.ch
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