BUND Darmstadt, BUND / Friends of the Earth Germany
Children for amphibians and wildcats – because you love what you know and protect what you love
Brigitte Martin has been interested in nature and the environment from an early age. In her mid-twenties she got involved with BUND / Friends of the Earth Germany in Darmsdadt, realising that doing something collaboratively for the conservation of nature is more fun and successful than going it alone. Today, she is part of the executive board of BUND Hessen and is involved in volunteer working groups for water, transport and nature in cities.
Today, biodiversity is under threat in Germany from a number of different angles. Roads increasingly cut up habitats, meaning animals like the European wildcat as well as amphibians like toads and frogs often face insurmountable obstacles to movement due to the high volume of traffic. As a consequence, the existence of many of these species is threatened in most parts of Germany. This is particularly the case for amphibians, where their spawning waters are often poisoned, dirty, or drained. Forests, meadows, wetlands and bogs are increasingly covered by industrialised agriculture, industry or construction sites. BUND Darmstadt has set up conservation projects not only to fight the destruction of habitats at the political level, but also to care for local populations.
Brigitte occupies many roles in BUND Darmstadt’s volunteer network. She organises groups for children, teaching them the wonders of amphibians, coordinates a wide network of volunteers who restore habitats for the highly endangered common spadefoot, and maintains a network of fences securing amphibian migration routes. She is also a part of BUND’s national project to protect the European wildcat, which aims to create a nation-wide network of wildcat habitats in forests in Germany. The ‘Wildcat Leap’ project also involves collecting and examining wildcat hair samples to genetically monitor the population size and migration patterns of the species, which provides important data for the long-term goal of setting up a green infrastructure network that serves both people and nature.
“Seeing how nature is being destroyed made me want to do something about it. As a love for and appreciation of nature is learned as a child, I decided to get involved to provide a place where children can become connected to nature by experiencing its marvels and beauty. It is all about being connected – with other people, with nature.”BRIGITTE MARTIN