English Spoken Here…Learning to Ski in Schliersee

Located directly on the slope at Stumflingenbahn, with it’s very American party atmosphere, Martina Loch’s “Snowcamp” motivates people of all ages to share in her passion for Winter Sport. Her shop has the feeling of walking into a California surf shop with every surface, even the ceiling chock full of memorabilia. You could spend an hour just taking in all the great energy.

I recently discovered the daughter of my landlord is one of Martina’s very stable of 50 professional ski instructors and not only that, she also is a fluent english speaker. She would be the perfect person to help me introduce my readers to what it’s like to take ski lessons here at Spitzingsee skigebiete. It is incredible that in this picturesque ski area, learning to ski in english is absolutely possible.

Victoria Schoeller, my landlords daughter, is the absolute definition of a Bavarian alpine woman, a fantastic combination of strength and beauty. She kindly spent a day with me between her private students lessons and gave me the skinny on how Martina’s lessons work. I found her tips incredibly helpful in improving my knowledge and skills for downhill skiing. From tips on proper adjustment of my gear, to a better stance for greater enjoyment while tearing down the mountain. Having an expert guide you is an absolute treat no matter your skill level.

Martina’s Snowcamp at Spitzingsee has been in business for 32 years and is the heart of the Spitzingsee ski area. With Martina’s vast knowledge of ski and snow sport she has gathered an amazing array of snow sport talent. Their knowledge of the mountain terrain and how to guide and teach various techniques ensures you a quick entry into making the most of your winter vacation. Either for beginner or for those wishing to improve their skills, you can find just the patient expert you need.

Even though I live here, I was astounded by the incredible extent of what Martina’s shop has to offer in the way of lessons.  Besides group, private and family ski courses, they offer courses for Nordic walking, snow shoe excursions, ski touring, snowboarding, split board the list just seems endless. You can arrive without reservations their brochure says. It is always smartest to get to the slopes early and the shop opens at 8 am so you want to get in there and get your name on a list for a class before 9. I honestly can’t see what is stopping you from dropping in and joining the fun.

 

 

For more information check out their webpage:
http://www.snowcamp-martina-loch.de

 

Also drop by their Instagram and Facebook accounts and show them some love:
https://www.facebook.com/Schneeaktivitäten-Martina-Loch-149857991695193/
https://www.instagram.com/schneeaktivitaeten/?hl=en

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Icy Track and Sky Fire…A Biathlon for Everyone in Schliersee

At sunset on an unseasonably warm February evening groups of biathlon enthusiasts were invited by the Ski Club Schliersee to join in a charity event. Located on the Seefestwiese near Vitalwelt, a special cross country track had been installed this winter season to create a buzz about the much beloved sport.

Participants of the event donated 5 euros or even higher to join in the fun and all proceeds were put towards the new TSV Fußball Sportheim (Schliersee Soccer club building). The atmosphere was jovial and warm drink filled mugs were raised in jubilation. After several warm up runs around the track and only just as the fiery sunset evolved into darkness did the announcer start to announce the competitors.

If you, like me, are new to the sport of Biathlon, it combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It is treated as a race where the contestant with the shortest total time wins. Depending on the competition, missed shots result in extra distance or time being added to the contestant’s total. I found this interesting tidbit online, the biathlon “is rooted in the skiing traditions of Scandinavia, where early inhabitants revered the Norse god Ullr as both the ski god and the hunting god”. I truly believe associating this sport and gods is only appropriate as the athletes who perform this sport have to have exceptional fitness.

A great time was had by people of all ages. This particular biathlon was to give everyone a chance to join in the fun and take a lap around the track or to attempt to fire the laser rifle at the target. The joyful cheering filled the night. When you visit Schliersee you really have to keep an eye out for these small events and expos of different local sports. Many times one of our resident Olympiads make an appearance. The love of movement keeps the population here young and enjoying every season. It is this love of sport that makes Schliersee a real fountain of youth.

 

 

To learn more about Ski Club Schliersee events, check the link below.

http://sc-schliersee.ning.com

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Snow Chaos in Schliersee? Not a Chance

The New Year, 2019, began with an amazingly extreme snowfall of several meters. “Snow chaos” or “schneechaos” was the hashtag that the press gave to the storm, but for the Schliersee locals, it meant we had just scored gold for this season’s winter fun.

This part of Germany does such a great job of snow safety and snow preparation that with simple precautions any mount of snow can truly be wonderful. Once the “all clear” was given, everyone was able to joyfully head out and explore the deep, fresh powder.

After work one evening, three of my snow loving girlfriends decided to introduce sledding to one of our crew. Due to avalanche risk, we discovered the sled route from Obere Firstalm had not been cleared. This discovery thankfully did not stop our plans, at this time of night, the snow-covered road, Kratzerweg, that goes to Untere Firstalm has little to no foot traffic or vehicles, so coming down the same route would be very safe and possible.

With sleds in tow, we began our snowy journey. We were absolutely astounded by the unimaginable height of the snow.  The walls they created, climbed on either side creating a feeling of walking through a snow tunnel. All the well-known views were unrecognizable. It was truly magical.  Seeing the roofs of the little cabins along the way, heavily blanketed of meters of snow, made them all so inviting.

Breathless and chilled, and banging the snow from our boots, we entered the warm and welcoming interior of Untere Firstalm. As the weather changed outside, we cradled mugs of our steamy reward in our bitter hands. Our cozy visit was cut short as we realized a fast-moving snow storm was rolling in. So back into our wintery duds we jumped and back into the freezing weather we sped.

As the sun set, the snowstorm threatening and the winds building, we quickened our pace up the hill on the road that connects Untere and Obere Firstalm. You can only rent sleds from the food counter at Obere Firstalm so up we went. The sound of ice pellet like snow dancing across the snow walls in the wind gusts motivating us.

Once we all had our sleds, and a few bits of advice were shouted above the roar of the storm, we wasted no time heading back down the mountain. With the joyful sound of continued laughter, we soared. The steep snow walls on either side of the way gave our newest sled enthusiast a feeling of great security.

As always, the fun ended far too quickly, and we were once again shivering in our cars cheering on the heater and the defroster, chalking up another day filled with wonderful memories.

 

 

To Plan your own adventure, check out these site:

http://firstalm.de

http://www.unterefirstalm.de

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

Frau Holle has been Shaking the Bedding in Schliersee

So today, we are going to learn something that is very german. Every winter I hear all the local Germans either thanking a woman called Frau Holle or begging her to stop. So I had to ask myself, just who is Frau Holle and what is her story? Is she saint or sinner?

My research has led me back to the old tales of the Brothers Grimm and one of their many children’s stories. Actually it has been said to be a tale even older than the Brothers Grimm and possibly a local legend in a part of Central Germany called Hesse.

Frau Holle has many names and in English we might know her at Mother Frost. The little story comes from a volume of books by the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, called “Kinder- und Hausmärchen” in English it is called “Children’s and Household Tales“.

In short, the tale in which we discover Frau Holle seems to be a version of the Cinderella story, where a little girl, or stepdaughter, is forced by an evil widow to do all the hard housework, while the older biological daughter is allowed to become very spoiled. Everyday the stepdaughter would sit outside the cottage and do the spinning by a well.

“One day she pricked her finger on the point of the spindle. Leaning over the well to wash the blood away, the spindle fell from her hand and sank out of sight. The stepdaughter feared that she would be punished for losing the spindle, and in a panic she leapt into the well after it. The girl found herself in a meadow where she came upon an oven full of bread. The bread asked to be taken out before it burned. With a baker’s peel she took all the loaves out and then walked on. Then she came to an apple tree that asked that its apples be harvested. So she did so and gathered them into a pile, before continuing on her way. Finally she came to a small house of an old woman, who offered to allow the girl to stay if she would help with the housework”. (https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm024.html)

The woman identified herself as Frau Holle, and cautioned the girl to shake the featherbed pillows and coverlet well when she made the bed, as that would make it snow in the girl’s world. The girl agreed to take service with Frau Holle, and took care to always shake the featherbed until the feathers flew about like snowflakes”.

I love this analogy of snow being like feather bedding being shaken out. I now have a better understanding why the locals talk about Frau Holle when we either have too little or too much snow. With our weather warnings and extreme snowfall conditions, this year so far Frau Holle has been incredibly generous and we are all asking her to spread her generosity out a bit throughout our winter and not all at once.

Before I go, I learned something else that might help you if you are visiting Schliersee in the winter months. Another way to say it is snowing in Germany is to say “Frau Holle schüttelt ihre Betten aus” or Frau Holle is shaking out her bedding”. I do not know about you but I am going to memorize that tidbit of information.

I absolutely love to learn as many of these little local idioms as possible, they make me feel more a part of the wonderful German life here in Schliersee.

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Schliersee Magazin – ein Jahresrückblick 2018

Nach drei Jahren Schliersee Magazin habe ich die ehrenvolle Aufgabe den ersten Jahresrückblick zu schreiben. Was hat uns im Schliersee Magazin 2018 mit fast 200 Artikeln bewegt? Unser Bürgermeister Franz Schnitzenbaumer hat bei der Eröffnung der Ausstellung „Sport ohne Grenzen“ gesagt, dass man schnell dazu neigt zu sagen, dass es die Berge und die Landschaft sind, die Schliersee ausmachen. „Aber eigentlich sind es die Menschen, die in Schliersee leben“, berichtigte er.

Wenn ich darüber nachdenke, ist es bei uns genauso. Wir im Schliersee Magazin sind ein bunt gemischter Haufen. Wir treffen uns alle zwei Wochen zu Redaktionsmeetings und da entstehen ernste Themen, verrückte Ideen und auch Ansätze, die sich nicht immer umsetzen lassen. Es ist unser Kreativ-Raum. Alles ist erlaubt.

Wer konnte schon wissen, ob unser Kuramtsleiter Mathias Schrön wirklich im April in den kalten Schliersee springen würde, um offiziell anzubaden, als unser Redaktionsleiter Daniel Wagner es in den Raum warf?

Alles, nur nicht wasserscheu

Natürlich ist Mathias Schrön ohne zu zögern in dem 14 Grad kalten Schliersee zum Schwimmen gegangen. Ich selber bin nicht weniger verrückt und habe mich im Sommer kurz unter den Josefstaler Wasserfall gestellt und den ultimativen Pool-Test in luftiger Höhe auf der Schliersbergalm gemacht. Wir haben unseren Wasserrettern – der Schlierseer Wasserwacht – einen Besuch abgestattet, ein Portrait über unsere Kapitänin auf dem Schliersee gemacht und SUP’N’YOGA ausprobiert. Ohne Wasser geht es bei uns in Schliersee nicht, deshalb fand im Herbst auch die erste Luftmatratzen Weltmeisterschaft in der Vitalwelt statt.

Immer gleich dabei und nah dran

Egal ob Gastronomie Neueröffnungen, wie etwa die Bar Schliersee, La Stazione in Neuhaus am Bahnhof, die Spitzing Alm am See, The Culinary Art Café oder ein Pächterwechsel auf der Insel Wörth, wir waren dabei. Manchmal durften wir auch schon vor der offiziellen Eröffnung einen Blick ins Innere werfen, das war dann besonders spannend. So hat mich Architekt Johannes Wegmann noch während des Umbaus mit in den Anbau des Heimatmuseums genommen und Sandra Leu traf sich mit Julia Zilken, die seit Dezember ihren Laden „Hoamat Gfui“ in Schliersee hat, zum Interview beim Einräumen der Regale. Wir trafen uns mit dem Schlierseer Förster, den Machern des Kulturherbstes, Schlierseer Autoren und Prominenten. Unser „Kultur-Profi“ Katharina Fitz hat sich unter anderem mit der Schlierseer Schauspielerin und Kabarettistin Christine Eixenberger getroffen. Wir haben Projekte der Gemeinde begleitet, wie die QR-Code-Beschilderung für Schlierseer Straßen, den Schlierseer Gartenzauber, die Luftmatratzen Weltmeisterschaft, 10 Jahre Vitalwelt und die Ausstellung „Sport ohne Grenzen“. Beim ersten Schnee war Ulrike Mc Carthy, diesen Winter als erste  mit dem Fotoapparat draußen unterwegs, um euch das Schlierseer Wintergefühl direkt ins Wohnzimmer zu bringen. Ich war eine der ersten im Skilift, um für euch den Schnee zum Saisonstart im Skigebiet Spitzingsee zu testen.

Feste feiern wie sie fallen

Egal ob, Pfingstfest, Seefest, Bergseefest, Inselfest, Altschlierseer Kirchtag, Highland Games, Leonhardi-Ritt, Kulturherbst oder Adventszauber – wir waren dabei. Wir haben den Maibaum-Diebstahl verfolgt und waren beim Leonhardi-Ritt schon beim Schmücken der Wägen dabei. Besonders gut mit Schlierseer Tradition und den passenden Rezepten zur Jahreszeit kennt sich unsere Redakteurin Angelika Prem vom Hennerer Hof aus.

Sportlich und sportbegeistert

Bei uns muss auch der Kuramtsleiter Mathias Schrön auf den Berg. Dieses Jahr ging es zur Hauptalmbegehung mit Ministerpräsident Markus Söder. Julia Zilken lief die 24H Trophy, die dieses Jahr anlässlich des zehnjährigen Jubiläums der Vitalwelt in unserem Kurpark startete, im Selbst-Test. Ursula Höllerl probierte eine Tennis-Trainerstunde, an der ihr alle mit der Gästekarte kostenlos teilnehmen könnt. Natürlich haben wir die großen Sportveranstaltungen in Schliersee, wie den Sixtus-Lauf und den Alpentriathlon begleitet und uns mit den Olympiateilnehmerinnen Vanessa Hinz und Elisabeth Schicho getroffen. Unser Kuramtsleiter Mathias Schrön war sogar privat im Februar vor Ort bei Olympia in Pyeongchang/Südkorea und konnte direkt über die Schlierseer Sportler berichten.

Mit mehreren Sprachen Schliersee in die Welt getragen

Als Urlaubsmagazin der Marktgemeinde Schliersee sprechen wir natürlich nicht nur bayrisch. Unsere Italienliebhaberin Kathrin Zott ist im Sommer in die Partnergemeinde Barberino Val d’Elsa gefahren, hat sich mit den Austauschschülern aus Italien in Schliersee getroffen und war mit Patrizio vom Lago Maggiore beim Weißwurstfrühstück im SLYRS. Diese Artikel wurden von Kathrin sogar ins Italienische übersetzt. Unsere Redakteurin Laura Boston-Thek, die in New Jersey / USA geboren und jetzt in Neuhaus zuhause ist, hat eine eigene Rubrik: Lauras Welt. Sie entdeckt die Schlierseer Traditionen, trifft sich mit Bauern zum Heumachen und Schafscheren. Ihre Artikel, die ganz neue Blickwinkel auf unser Schliersee eröffnen, sind alle in ihrer Muttersprache Englisch geschrieben. Unverkennbar sind auch Lauras tolle Fotos.

Last but not least erzählt auch die kleine Hündin Lilly ihre Erlebnisse auf vier Pfoten in Schliersee.

 

 

Lesen müsst ihr jetzt selber. Stöbert doch einfach mal durch unsere Artikel des letzten Jahres. Viel Spaß! https://magazin.schliersee.de/

Wir freuen uns schon auf das neue Jahr mit euch!

 

 

Judith Weber Judith Weber

Redakteurin/freie Mitarbeiterin bei “Das Gelbe Blatt Miesbach”, Webdesign und Fotografie – Freude an neuen Blickwinkeln mithilfe eines Quadrokopters. Reiselustig und heimatverliebt. Lieblingsplatzerl: Insel Wörth im Schliersee

 

 

 

Rauhnächte…Old Rituals are Alive in Schliersee

Between the 21st of December and the 6th of January, in what is known here in Bavaria as Rauhnächte (smoke nights), it is believed that at this time the veil between this world and the hereafter is at its thinnest. This is a time for change, purification and reflection. It is believed that at this time, through the ritual of “räuchern” or incense burning, you could affect positive change in the new year while protecting your family, farm and livestock. This might all seem very mystical but these old beliefs are now being found to have real evidence in science in our modern times. Many of these plants have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

Recently, on a very cold dark night in November, my colleague Ulrike McCarthy and I, were invited to learn about these traditions at one of our local farms. Our spiritual guide, Angelika Prem, also a writer for Schliersee magazine, has been teaching and performing these ancient rituals for more than 15 years. You can say she has been involved in them much longer as it was all just a very normal part of the seasonal calendar for her family farm. What she didn’t learn at her mother’s hearth, she learned by taking courses and reading extensibly on the subject and now offers courses and seminars at her farm, Hennerehof, right here in Schliersee.

When we first arrived, before we gathered together around the roaring fire,  Angelika used a “Räucherbündel or Räucherzigarre” to clean our energy and prepare us for this ritual. In the US we call this a smudging stick. The plants for the purpose of making smudging sticks and other smoking rituals, are traditionally gathered on the 15th of August the official holiday of the Assumption of Mary.

Once “clean” Angelika began to hand us various items she had gathered for ceremonial purposes from the forest around her farm. Hardened tree resin, dry bunches of various plants and even hand written notes. All were given out at different times in the ceremony and we were encouraged to dig deep in our emotions and cast the difficult or negative thoughts into the flames, along with the plants and powders. “This is a great time to unpack your baggage” she repeated often to us. I have to admit I had a hard time deciding which bag to unload as it sure has been a challenging year.

When we could stand the blustering cold no longer, we went into the cozy alpine farmhouse of Hennerehof. Once inside we sipped steaming mugs of tea and snacked on homemade pumpkin soup and cookies. The energy of gathering with such knowledgable women was very intoxicating. Could that magical moment be a result of the exotic scent of mystical vapors from the various incense we were learning their uses? I do not know the answer, but I have to highly recommend coming to Schliersee and taking a few of Angelika’s seminars. It will most definitely reignite your connection with the traditions of the old ways.

 

 

To find out more about the amazing Angelika Prem and sign up for her courses, please click this link:

https://www.hennerer.com

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

A Sheepish Rescue in Schliersee

I often get phone calls that others might think strange. Recently I received such a call from my soft hearted colleague Ulrike McCarthy. She asked if I would come take some photos to help save the life of a young,Weißes Bergschaf, male sheep. The poor creature’s only mistake was to be born a boy in a herd that already had a Ram and future issues of fighting and inbreeding must be avoided.

So I packed my camera bag and grabbed the camera and fresh batteries and off we went. Friedl von Fridolin as he is now called was gathered with his flock out in a Schliersee pasture. His very protective mother watched our every move and inserted herself between us and her baby. They obviously had a deep bond. Friedl was easy to spot with his polka dot nose even amongst the other wooly thick coated lambs.

For the past 6 months Ulrike has watched over this little creature. Having a sheep of her own has been a lifelong dream for Ulrike so she was very invested in his well being. Determined to secure a safe place for Friedl, Ulrike set about to enlist other people in Schliersee passionate about the welfare of animals. She found a kindred spirit in one of our local residents, Margot Wolf. Margot was the perfect person to become Friedl’s God Mother. All the pieces were beginning to fall into place. to save Friedl.

With a benefactor was on board, Ulrike learned of the cost and logistics of keeping a farm animal when she herself lives in an apartment. The purchase price, winter feed costs, castration and vaccinations all add up. But I think she would tell you, little Friedl is worth every euro.

It is with great joy that I bring the news to you that Ulrike was successful. Friedl’s future is secure. Better yet, Friedl will continue to live out his life amongst his flock along side his loving family. He will continue to go to the woodland Winter pastures in Litzldorf with his farmer and this pasture is located close to where Ulrike works so she can visit Friedl weekly.

Friedl von Fridolin or Friedl as he is now known combines the Bavarian nickname for Fridolin, meaning peaceful one, the protector. Right in his name, the “Von” indicating high born status. A fitting name for such a noble creature to live out his bucolic existence.

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Time Traveling in Schliersee at the Markus Wasmeier Freilichtmuseum with Irmi Baumann

Raus aus dem Alltag – rein in das Landleben, wie es einst war or Step back in time to experience country life as it use to be. This is the motto of the Markus Wasmeier Freilichtmuseum.

It was with this in mind, Irmi Baumann, museum guide invited myself and some close friends on a private tour in the final days before the season’s closing. Irmi is one of the museums guides who can speak english so for me it was a real treat.

On the day of our tour the village was blanketed in thick Autumn fog making it feel very much that the veil of time was thin and we could easily step through into the Bavarian farming past.   Irmi explained to us that the historic village, which is composed of 12 buildings painstakingly disassembled and then reassembled, was the life long passion of two time olympic gold medalist Markus Wasmeier. He and his family work tirelessly to preserve traditions and customs of this beautiful valley and the local way of life.

Irmi shares this passion and from a very early age, always clung to the stories her grandparents told about life as it use to be. When things were more simple and unplugged. Each fact she shares with the visitor about the structures at the museum are peppered with mystical folklore and farming practicality.

On our tour we met a lovely local craftsman in the dying art of shingle making. He was covered in wood shavings and fragrant with the scent of tree sap as he busied himself at his work. He kindly paused a moment and explained to us about the “Schindel Dach” or Shingle roof. He explained it is traditional that all roofs are covered with 3 layers of shingles made of lark wood.

Each roof will last about 60 years. The long poles and large stones on the roves of typical alpine farmhouses are there to hold down the shingles and in winter when the snow is on the roof, this also serves as insulation.

Inside one of the cosy historic sitting rooms or Stube, we gathered around the Kachelofen or wood fired, tiled oven, which heats the house. On the day of our tour, light was in short supply and it was explained to us how beeswax candles were too expensive for every day use. In the 18 hundreds, the period of these buildings, a Kienspan was used. The Kienspan was a long shiv of resinous pine that would be clamped in a tall holder and lit, this would burn for hours.

There are endless stories to discover and exciting lessons to learn from the past.

For example, why are the thresholds are unusually high? Was it because people back then believed that evil spirits could not pass over them? Where did the four-poster beds come from and why didn’t people sleep lying down in their beds? Why the hearth fires were never allowed to die out?

 

 

You can learn so much and more like this, just give the museum a call and see if you can arrange and english tour for your next visit when the museum opens once more in spring 2019.

 

The Museum
https://www.wasmeier.de

The Guide
https://www.irmibaumann.de

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

Polar Bears and Schliersee? What is the Connection?

Are you passionate about the environment and want to learn more about how to alleviate our impact on this beautiful planet? If so, make sure to come out and, hear Birgit Lutz, a Schliersee author and adventurer, speak on 14 November, 1930-2100 at Slyrs Distillery in Neuhaus. Spitzbergen: Eisbär im Fischernetz or Polar Bears in Fishing Nets, is sponsored by our local hiking store, Smartino.

I had the great pleasure of talking with Birgit about her passion project. She explained that for many years she was researcher on Artic ski expeditions and it was during these trips that she observed an incredible amount of the world’s plastic trash washing up along the Arctic coast. The plastic trash, discarded in daily use, is swept up by the Gulf Stream and deposited in the Arctic. Continuously polluting these once pristine waters.

Motivated by this discovery, Birgit mobilizes normal travelers who are guests on the expedition sailing vessels and recruits them to help collect the plastic. This trash is then sorted, weighed and then sent to Longyearbyen (Sweden) where it is burned. In 2016 she began working with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research to study the plastic problem further.

Being the first person to have collected such data she knows first hand the damage our obsession with plastics is causing. Spitzbergen Island (Norway) has a population of around 2000 people; through her research Birgit she has discovered is more polluted than many coastal towns in Europe.

One particular plastic item she finds often is thin plastic straps used to bundle items together or to secure packages making them easier to carry. This seemingly simple piece of plastic has a massive impact on the arctic environments and its wildlife. Her photos tell a devastating story. In one very tragic discovery, she found multiple sets of antlers tangled within plastic straps and fishing nets, parts of skull still attached. She explained to me that reindeer are a social animal and when one of their own is in trouble, others will try to help free the ensnared animal and in turn become tangled as well. This causes a horrific chain of destruction. Once trapped the Reindeer cannot eat nor flee from danger and in this weakened state are eaten by Polar Bears.This simple act of entanglement from a plastic straps from possibly your Ikea bookshelf or a discarded fishing net, is now altering what is normal in this Arctic ecosystem. It is not natural for Polar Bears to eat Reindeer as they are much too quick.

Birgit is not looking to lecture her listeners but to build awareness. Her belief is that the necessity of new fundamental changes, which are desperately needed, should come from those in Government. She does however wish to inspire those who attend her talks. Her greatest wish is that a young person attending one of her speaking engagement, might possibly leave so inspired that they create new and innovative strategies to dealing with our cataclysmic problem of plastic.

 

 

For more information on Birgit Lutz and her powerful talk, “Spitzbergen: Eisbär im Fischernetz” at Slyrs. Please click the links below.
https://www.facebook.com/events/905835649804716/
http://www.birgit-lutz.de/en/

Interessierst du dich für die Natur und würdest gerne mehr darüber wissen, wie wir unseren Einfluss auf diesen wunderbaren Planeten verbessern können? Wenn ja, dann komm am 14. November um 19:30 Uhr zur Slyrs Destillerie in Schliersee-Neuhaus. Dort erzählt die Schlierseer Autorin und Abenteurerin Birgit Lutz von ihrer Arbeit: Spitzbergen ‒ Eisbär im Fischernetz ist gesponsert von Smartino, unserem lokalen Outdoor-Geschäft.

Ich hatte das große Vergnügen, mich mit Birgit über ihr Projekt zu unterhalten. Sie erzählte mir, dass sie einige Jahre auf Skiern in den arktischen Regionen unterwegs war, an den abgelegensten Orten. Eines fiel ihr dabei auf: Egal, wo sie hinkam ‒ Plastikmüll war schon da. Sie entdeckte unfassbare Müllmengen, zum Beispiel an den Küsten Spitzbergens. Der Müll wird unter anderem über den Golfstrom dorthin transportiert, ein unendliches Förderband an Müll, das diese Gebiete immer stärker verschmutzt.

Angetrieben von diesen Entdeckungen, motiviert Birgit nun die Gäste des Segelschiffs, mit dem sie das Archipel bereist, zum Müllsammeln. Der Müll wird dann aufs Festland verschifft und dort entsorgt. 2016 entwickelte sie mit dem Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung in Bremerhaven (AWI) ein Projekt, um das Problem genauer benennen zu können: Seitdem kategorisiert, zählt und wiegt Birgit den Müll. Das Ziel: Zahlen zur Müllmenge zu bekommen, zu wissen, um welchen Müll es sich handelt, um dann am Ende die Quellen benennen zu können.

Zum ersten Mal überhaupt wurden mit diesem Projekt Daten aus der entlegenen Region Spitzbergens gesammelt – mit erschreckenden Ergebnissen: Obwohl Spitzbergen so weit weg ist und nur 2.000 Menschen auf den Inseln leben, ist Spitzbergens Küste ebenso verschmutzt wie die schmutzigsten und am dichtesten besiedelten Küsten Europas.

Ein besonderes Müllteil findet sie sehr oft: dünne Plastikstreifen, die wir von Paketen oder Paletten kennen. Diese Streifen haben verheerende Folgen in der arktischen Natur: Zusammen mit Fischernetzen bilden sie oft tödliche Fallen für Rentiere oder Meeresvögel. Ihre Fotos erzählen diese traurige Geschichte. Mehrmals fand Birgit gleich mehrere Rentiergeweihe, verheddert in einem großen Netz. Sie erklärte mir, dass Rentiere soziale Tiere seien ‒ wenn sich eines verheddert, wollen andere helfen. Mit dem Ergebnis, dass sich mehrere in einer tödlichen Falle wiederfinden und dann weder fressen noch fliehen können und so zu einem willkommenen Fressen für Eisbären werden, denen Rentiere normalerweise viel zu schnell sind.

Birgit erzählt mir ihren spannenden Bericht, ohne mich belehren zu wollen – und genau das will sie auch: nicht belehren, sondern informieren, ein Bewusstsein schaffen, Horizonte erweitern. Die fundamentalen Veränderungen, die wir brauchen, müssen von oben kommen, sagt sie, von Gesetzen und Regierungen. Trotzdem möchte sie alle inspirieren, die ihre Vorträge hören. Was wir brauchen, sagt sie, sind Innovationen, junge Menschen mit neuen Ideen, intelligente Technologien, die ein gesundes Leben ermöglichen. Denn wenn keine Veränderungen passieren, darin ist sie auch klar, werden die Menschen bald ein sehr, sehr großes Problem haben.

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).