Study trip: the VolonTERRA team gathers new knowledge and experiences


In the week of May 12 to May 18, 2024, as part of the VolonTERRA project, Sunce organized a study trip for project partners at the Regional Center for Sustainable Development (RUZ Hollen) in Ganderkesee, Germany. The Regional Center is an educational institution that promotes education for sustainable development and offers educational programs for school classes and other groups. The program covers a wide range of sustainability topics, such as forests, nature, climate, energy savings, and sustainable agriculture and nutrition.

The VolonTERRA team members who went on this trip included: three Sunce employees (Margita Radman, Marija Majić, and Miranda Šimac), a representative from Permakultura Dalmacija Marin Kanajet, Assoc. Ph.D. Mila Bulić from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Assistant Samanta Bačić from the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture, and Geodesy, and three teachers (Vedrana Šilović, Danijela Radić, and Zrinka Banić) from the partner Elementary School Brda.


The goal of this trip was to strengthen bilateral relations, empower participants in the field of education implementation, and establish a system of ecologically responsible behavior and active civic education in Croatia.

From workshops in nature to museum visits

The first day, we participated in the workshops Forest Experience, From Grains to Bread, and The Fascinating World of Insects, which our partners conducted with elementary school students. By participating in the workshops, we had the opportunity to learn about different work methods and didactic materials that we can also apply at home. In a practical healthy food preparation workshop with Center employees, we prepared a communal meal and, surrounded by beautiful nature and a warm welcome, let our first impressions sink in over delicious treats.

The next day, we visited the unique Klimahaus Bremerhaven 8° museum, where we traveled around the world along the eighth meridian. On this journey, we crossed different climate zones on five continents, exploring nine different locations. Klimahaus is a mix of a science center and a theme park, showcasing the unique world of meteorology, climate, and climate change knowledge, making it also a climate museum.

Indoor and outdoor classrooms at Hohenfeld elementary school

The third day of our visit, we were hosted by Hohenfelde Elementary School, where we had the opportunity to see how the classrooms are equipped, both indoor and outdoor, and how they use the outdoor space for various educational activities. The classrooms are equipped according to the students, with adjustable desks, personal storage spaces within reach, and even noise-canceling headphones. We learned firsthand about the educational programs, work methods, and various didactic materials implemented by Corina, an employee of the Regional Center for Sustainable Development (RUZ Hollen). We also discussed with the principal the ways of maintaining outdoor spaces. Students are responsible for tasks such as bed cultivation, maintaining the sensory path, and spaces where educational activities are held. During busy periods or planned major interventions, work actions are organized with the help of parents and the local community.

To expand our perspectives and get inspired for designing the outdoor space and open-air classroom that we plan to create for Elementary School Brda through this project, we visited the Park of Gardens, which offers more than 90 differently designed gardens on 140,000 m².

The largest school garden in Lower Saxony

The next day, we participated in various workshops conducted by our partners, this time on the topics: Nature Experience, From Grain to Bread, and Organic Chicken Farming. The From Grain to Bread workshop was methodologically excellently conceived. From recognizing different types of cereals, their use in the food industry, to processing cereals and finally preparing a snack—delicious rolls and herb butter. After the workshops, we exchanged experiences and took advantage of the sunny and free afternoon to visit the nearby city of Bremen.

On the last day of our stay, we visited the largest school garden in the German state of Lower Saxony. During a guided tour by Professor Olli, we learned about the areas a school garden should have and discovered many interesting facts. For example, vandalism is one of the biggest challenges for school gardens, student interest in maintaining this garden is very positive, and maintaining a large area owned by the school requires a lot of energy.

In the end, we would like to thank our partners: Barbara, Martin, Claudia, and Marina, and all the other employees and volunteers of RUZ Hollen for their warm welcome, effort, and time dedicated to us. In such a pleasant atmosphere and with well-prepared activities, we enjoyed, learned, and personally grew. We also left Ganderkesee richer, not only in experience but also in new friendships.

If you want to see how we applied the new knowledge in Croatia, follow us! We will apply inspiration from the trip in creating a free educational program for educational workers. If you want to participate in the program, apply by June 28! Find more information in the application form.

Until the next reading, we would like to greet you with an old greeting from northern Germany: MOIN!