Externsteine Nature Trail

Nathalie Keurmeur and Dr. Ulrich Hermanns (»Ausstellung Medien Transfer«), Stephan Radeck (Lippe Association), Elmar Brok (MdEP), Minister Ute Schäfer, Ute Koczy (MdB), Henning Schwarze (INTEWO) and the Chief of the Lippe Association Anke Peithmann during the opening ceremony (from left).

Interactive nature trails – INTEWO | World Habitat Society GmbH developed an innovative concept to provide environmental education at the Externsteine rock formation.

Visitors to the Externsteine monument can now experience the diverse nature and culture at the famous rock formation in the Teutoburger Forest with support of “invisible” nature trails. Smartphones and tablet computer provide guidance with the global satellite navigation system (GPS). Within the nature reserve the applications hosts multimedia information (e.g. movies, podcast, galleries, animations) for more than 20 points of interest.

Applications are available for iPhone and iPad, as well as for Android smartphones. In preparation to their visit to the monument visitors can download the applications for free to their personal devices and they will benefit from a personal multimedia guide. In addition tourists can rent iPads and outdoor smart phone devices at the Externsteine Information Center.

The application is available in English, German, French and Dutch. Special editions for children and “experts” complete the innovative offer.

The project, which has been implemented for the National Association Lippe has been funded by the European Union and received support from relevant local partners.

UNESCO awards joint German-Oman project

Günter Weigel (LTM), Dr. Roland Bernecker (UNESCO), Henning Schwarze (WHS), H.E. Mohammed Al Tobi (MoT), Dirk Watermann (Nature Park), Friedel Heuwinkel (Landrat Lippe District) and Ulrich Köster (VDN) during the award ceremony in Bonn

GPS-Adventure Parks, a joint project of German and Oman organizations has been awarded by UNESCO as an official project of „The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)“. On Friday the 14th of January the World Habitat Society, the Oman Ministry of Tourism, and the German Nature Park Teutoburger Wald / Eggegebirge did receive the official distinction by the Secretary-General of the German Commission for UNESCO in Bonn.

GPS-Adventure Parks is a novel concept which provides sustainable tourism and educational information, using latest technologies with support of Geographical Positioning Systems, handheld computers and cell phones, offering multimedia location-based services. Being implemented in Germany two years ago and currently under development on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism in the Muscat region, the concept is part of a joint venture between Oman and Germany, focusing on “Tourism & Education for Sustainable Development”.

GPS-Adventure Parks is one of the few worldwide projects implementing the goals of the UN decade “Education for Sustainable Development” in an exemplary way. The international understanding character of the project, the transcultural cooperation between the Sultanate of Oman and Germany and their joint efforts towards sustainable development are the basis of this successful project, Secretary General of the German Commission for UNESCO, Dr. Roland Bernecker explains. He appreciates the continuous active participation of the international team.

H.E. Mohammed Al Tobi, Tourism Undersecretary, received the award as the representative of the Sultanate of Oman in Bonn. Projects like these are seen as bridges between nations, as a project of understanding among nations, he said during the award ceremony. A lot of things can be said and written, but it is essential to explain the idea of sustainability to our children, otherwise all awards and cooperation will only stay ink on a paper, Al Tobi emphasizes.

Mr. Friedel Heuwinkel, Head of the Nature Park Teutoburger Wald / Eggegebirge said that the GPS-Adventure Park in his region already managed to involve and motivate young citizens and tourists to get more familiar with nature and sustainable development. The long distance between Lippe and Oman also shows that projects on sustainability can be cross-border without any problem and will lead to a transcultural exchange.

Henning Schwarze, Managing Director of World Habitat Society, claims that the concept behind the GPS-Adventure Park has now been approved by receiving this international recognized award. „The multimedia location-based information lead to a better understanding of nature“, Schwarze says.

All three partners, the Sultanate of Oman, the Nature Park Teutoburger Wald / Eggegbirge and the World Habitat Society take a stand for international convergence and projects on sustainable development. The activity is part of a memorandum of understanding, which has been signed between the Oman and German partners in the international year for the rapprochements of cultures. Future activities of the cooperation will include the twining of attractions, student exchanges, joint exhibitions and research activities in the field of good tourism and education.

„Education for sustainable development aims to help people to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge to make informed decisions for the benefit of themselves and others, now and in the future, and to act upon these decisions“, UNESCO explains.