Many of the climate and loss of biodiversity impacts experienced in Luxembourg, such as flooding and extinction of local species, can be attributed to massive loss and absence of wetlands. One of the country’s largest wetlands, the nature reserve “Schlammwiss-Brill” established by the conservation foundation “Hëllef fir d’Natur” working with volunteers, marks a great conservation success story. Schlammwiss wetland is the result of years of collective efforts led by a network of friends and adamant birders: purchasing land for protection, securing government funds to sustain restoration work and cooperating with farmers to restore the wetland and protect a large surface of reeds.
27 years old, Max Steinmetz began working in the Schlammwiss Bird Ringing Station 10 years ago, as a volunteer identifying and protecting birds. As part of his university internship, he later developed a pilot project at the station to monitor a breeding bird community through acoustic territory mapping. Today, on top of his full time job in species and habitat protection with the Biological Station “SICONA”, he supports the running of the Schlammwiss station, helping with bird ringing activities, environmental education and communication, research on bird ecology and administrative matters. Needless to say, bird conservation and the Schlammwiss bird ringing station have become a big part of his life.
Reflecting on the long-term future of the station, Max is convinced that the work of the station must continue once the seniors on the team won’t be there anymore to lead the work. It will require a greater commitment from the younger team members, himself included. He knows that the strong connections that the station has built through its network of volunteers over the years will help the station to continue to make a positive impact in the future. Max has observed that there are limited hands-on opportunities for young people to get involved in conservation. He strongly believes that these kinds of experiences are crucial to attract and engage young people in conservation work.
You can read more about Max’s work and other youth engaged in wetland protection, conservation and restoration in this 2021 report “Status, Challenges and Aspirations of Wetland Youth“, researched and compiled by Youth Engaged in Wetlands.
Story compiled by Bidhya Sharma and Elise Allély-Fermé