In Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol, VERBUND and Upper Tauern National Park are direct neighbours. Just outside the National Park, VERBUND generates clean electricity with its hydropower plants. The VERBUND Climate School in cooperation with Upper Tauern National Park is a free educational offering for school classes from the 4th to the 10th year of schooling in the provinces surrounding the National Park: Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol. Ever since 2010, specially trained rangers from Upper Tauern National Park have been coming into the schools for four school days of four hours each, to do project lessons with the pupils on the topics of climate and climate change. In this way, since its inception more than 20,000 pupils have been reached and made into competent climate protectors.
klima.schule: Online resource for the German-speaking countries
At the beginning of 2018, the Climate School was expanded to include the online resource of klima.schule. Now school classes, children and youth in the entire German-speaking area can profit from the expertise the Climate School has developed. In the provinces encompassing the National Park, it is also possible to combine Climate School lessons in class with the online resources at klima.schule.
Project partner – Association of Friends of the Upper Tauern National Park
Since 1993, the Association of Friends of the Upper Tauern National Park (Verein der Freunde des Nationalparks Hohe Tauern) has been supporting projects in the areas of ecology, conservation and science/research. Prominent companies such as Swarovski, Ja!Natürlich, Stiegl and VERBUND, as well as private persons, promote the concept of Upper Tauern National Park. The goal of the innovative education programme is to give tomorrow's decision-makers an understanding of climate factors and interrelationships so that they can intentionally contribute to climate protection. The project partnership with VERBUND is a further step in this direction.
Electricity from hydropower – contribution to climate protection
With the Climate School, two climate protectors – the National Park and VERBUND – have joined forces to get young people interested in the topics of climate and climate protection.
With electricity generated almost 100% from hydropower at its own facilities in Austria and Bavaria, and with the efficient Austrian power grid, VERBUND is making an important contribution to climate protection. Within the EU, VERBUND is by far the electricity producer with the highest proportion of electricity from renewable energy sources; and regarding the specific CO2 emissions, VERBUND with its extremely low figures belongs to the European frontrunners.
Upper Tauern National Park – active for climate protection and climate research
As central Europe's largest National Park (more than 1,800 km²) and the oldest National Park in Austria, Upper Tauern National Park has been active in climate protection since its founding in 1981. Glacial experts have been using the area for their research for decades. Over the past several years, the biodiversity within the National Park has been recorded and preserved for future generations by means of a biodiversity archive.
Changes – the disappearance of species or the immigration of new species due to climate change – can thus be optimally documented. Reintroduction projects with vanished or severely endangered species (e.g. bearded vultures, a local indigenous trout species, etc.) as well as creating awareness among youth are likewise priorities of the National Park. With its wealth of experience in the areas of natural resources management, science and education, Upper Tauern National Park offers ideal conditions for starting the Climate School, which should be successful beyond the borders of the National Park as well.