European Wilderness Volunteer DiaryThe Diary of the European Wilderness Society Volunteers

Volunteering trip to the picturesque places of Lungau

Hello everyone! It’s Olha here, and I’m excited to share that my beginning as a volunteer with the European Wildlife Society concluded with an incredible outdoor meeting and a delightful trip to the stunning places of Lungau.

Lake Prebersee

First stop was the mountain lake Prebersee in Schladminger Tauern. Nestled at the foot of Mount Preber (2,740 meters), the lake and its adjacent wetlands are among the most popular attractions near Tamsweg. The serene waters of this high-mountain bog lake, situated at an altitude of 1,514 meters above sea level, reflect the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Additionally, there were fenced areas where visitors could interact with animals. The ponies and rabbits in particular were remarkably calm and friendly, creating a delightful experience for everyone. These animals reside in an incredible environment, surrounded by natural beauty.

There our wild team had the pleasure of meeting the LIFE4Delta project team from Poland, who sought to learn from foreign conservation experiences. Max Rossberg, the Chairman of the European Wilderness Society, kick-started this informative and engaging experience by introducing our team and shedding light on the Life Stock Protect project, which focuses on engaging farmers in using shepherd dogs to protect their livestock from wild animals. Our Polish partners found this particularly relevant, as they were grappling too with similar issues of safeguarding their own livestock from wild dogs. The exchange of knowledge and experiences proved to be mutually beneficial for both parties.

Austrian traditional food

We had the pleasure of visiting the charming restaurant called “Ludlalm,” which exuded an enchanting ambiance reminiscent of an old Austrian home. The establishment’s captivating appearance added to the overall experience, creating a truly delightful atmosphere.

There I had an amazing opportunity to try Käsespätzle, a traditional Austrian dish. It consisted of homemade egg noodles smothered in butter, topped with cheese, caramelized onions, and fresh herbs. The combination of flavors was absolutely delicious and the meal was very satisfying. 

Tour of the incredible natural and historical places of Lungau

Afterwards, we embarked on a tour around Lake Prebersee, taking in its natural splendor, before venturing out to explore the Lungau lands and historical sites of the region. Our journey led us to a mountain river that has witnessed a significant increase in flooding frequency due to climate change. What used to occur once every 100 years now happens 2-3 times within a span of 5 years. This alarming statistic has had devastating consequences for both the local ecosystem and the communities residing nearby.

We then visited a section of the river where a widening project had been implemented as a flood control measure. Witnessing this artificial intervention offered insights into the strategies employed to mitigate the impact of flooding in the region.

Our exploration continued with a visit to the blast furnace plant in Bundschuh, a significant economic monument representing the region’s industrial heritage and mining history that dates back to the 16th century. The facility itself originated in 1862 and was considered one of Austria’s most advanced at that time. In 1984, the blast furnace museum was established, that transports visitors back to the 1860s, providing a vivid glimpse into the arduous working conditions endured by miners and iron smelters during that era.

Our final stop was the Mariapfarr Fortress (Wallfahrtsbasilika Mariapfarr), boasting a rich history spanning over a thousand years. As early as 923, the first church in the parish of Mariapfarr, known as “ecclisia ad lungovue,” was established in Althofen. It is regarded as the mother church of the Lungau region and was restored in the 15th century as a Gothic church. Notably, it was in Mariapfarr in 1816 that Joseph Mohr wrote the lyrics to the iconic Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night”.

And that was just the beginning!

Overall, the day was brimming with fascinating facts and memorable adventures. I gained valuable insights into the activities of the European Wilderness Society, nature conservation efforts, and the captivating history and attractions of the Lungau area.

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