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Celebrating Danube Day hands-on in Neuburg-Schrobenhausen

The 29th of June is the annual Danube Day! And what better way to spend it than helping the grand old river clean up a bit for the occasion! So Kenneth and Susann joined the Danube Volunteers Day initiative along the riverbanks – and on an island! – of another picture-postcard German town, Neuburg-Schrobenhausen.


Equipped with the right gear and “we mean business” hi-viz jackets, our travellers and the crew worked hard for a good cause and enjoyed a fantastic feeling of community.

They toiled away clearing rubbish from the island and riverbanks before being rewarded with a BBQ around a campfire – and a morning swim in the cool grey waters.


Neuburg Road Trip Project

As Siegfried, their guide from DANUBEparksCONNECTED (DpC) explained: Danube Day celebrates the signing of a cooperation agreement of 14 countries along the Danube and its drainage basin. When it was signed 24 years ago, our travellers could not safely have a swim where they were doing so, as the water would have been too polluted!

Despite the progress made there is still room for improvement. Siegfried and his colleagues in the EU-funded DpC want to create as many nature reserves along the river as possible and connect them, to preserve the Danube as a major habitat corridor.

DpC works to strengthen the ecological connectivity on water via its flagship Wild Island program (hence the day’s focus on cleaning up islands), but also on land and in the air. Because the Danube’s sand bars, gravel banks and islands are literal stepping stones, and its floodplain forests are special ecosystems.

But, as Kenneth and Susann found out, not all of this is uncontroversial. While they were cleaning the riverbanks, they came across a group of protesters: they turned out to be farmers who were against the idea of a nature reserve around Neuburg. As the rules for nature reserves in the EU are very strict, it would impact their lands and what they could do with them, potentially threatening their livelihoods. The travellers listened and found, once again, that you need to be open-minded towards all valid arguments. Hopefully, all sides  can agree on a satisfactory solution, Ken remarked.

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