Biosphere
July 2022
Southern Styria

Habitat pond - A Greenfinity natural oasis

A collaborative project with the association Fischfreunde Steiermark

Together with the non-profit association Fischfreunde Steiermark, we protect local ponds and offer fish species threatened with extinction a safe place to thrive again.

Why is it important to protect our aquatic environment?

Aquatic ecosystems worldwide are under enormous pressure. The effects of our modern lifestyles, pollution, contamination, the spread of invasive species, overfishing, and not least climate change pose a real and great danger of irreversibly damaging many of these valuable ecosystems. This danger becomes particularly clear when one looks at the great shrinkage in the number of wetlands such as bogs and swamps, which, just like lakes and ponds, have been drying up at an alarming rate in recent decades - with devastating consequences, including for us humans. After all, aquatic ecosystems are among the most unique, biodiverse, and fragile systems in the world, and their loss affects virtually every other ecosystem.

 

What role do ponds play in protecting our ecosystems?

Although ponds are among the smaller still water bodies, they have a huge ecological benefit that should not be underestimated in any case. Even artificially created small garden ponds make an important contribution to biodiversity in their surroundings.

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However, ponds not only form an invaluable refuge for a wide range of animals and plants, in which endangered species can also reproduce, they also bind carbon dioxide and are thus also important allies in the fight against climate change. In addition, they make an important contribution to water treatment and filtration and can, for example, help to protect rivers and other bodies of water if they are planted between them and areas that are treated with pesticides. In addition, flood and erosion control are among the superpowers of these often underestimated small stillwaters.

 

Ecologically intact ponds

In order for a pond to reach its full potential, it is important that it is in as close to a natural state as possible. However, such ponds are becoming increasingly rare, as many of the remaining ponds are nowadays designed for intensive fishery use or also for use as fishing ponds. The background is always a commercial approach and the function of the pond as an important biotope, which provides a habitat for as many, also endangered, animal and plant species as possible, is lost in the process. The protection of ecologically still intact ponds and the rehabilitation or if necessary also the renaturation of formerly commercially used ponds are therefore becoming increasingly important.

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Rehabilitation and protection of the Ehrenhof Ponds in Southern Styria

Every pond needs to be protected. But one has to start somewhere. Together with the Fischfreunde Steiermark, we have therefore made it our task to increasingly turn a 3.5 ha pond site in southern Styria, formerly used purely for commercial fish farming, back into a paradise for endangered fish species, insects and wildlife. The facility, also known in the region as "the Ehrenhof ponds", consists of 7 small pond areas with a total water surface of about 2.5 ha, embedded in an already existing forest landscape.

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Bewusstseinsbildung und Naturerlebnis für Schulklassen aus der Region

Unser oberstes Ziel ist es, aus den Ehrenhofteichen ein Refugium für Fische, Insekten, Amphibien, Wildtiere und Pflanzen zu machen, in dem vor allem gefährdete Arten die Möglichkeit haben, sich wieder ungestört ausbreiten zu können. Darüber hinaus soll die Greenfinity Naturoase aber auch ein Ort der Wissensvermittlung werden, der aktiv zur Bewusstseinsbildung in der Region beiträgt. Hierfür planen wir Workshops und geführte Rundgänge für Schulklassen anzubieten, durch die Kinder und Jugendliche Natur- und Artenschutz hautnah erleben können. Unser Ziel ist es hierbei, die Leidenschaft junger Menschen für die Natur zu wecken und die Wichtigkeit ihres Schutzes in ihren Herzen zu verankern.

Focus on the protection of biodiversity

In addition to the restoration of the ponds, our common focus is clearly on the protection of endangered species, above all fish species that have already disappeared from the majority of Austrian waters. Of the 60 naturally occurring fish species in Austria, 37 are now threatened with extinction. There is therefore an urgent need for action, because once fish species have disappeared from a body of water, they can only be reintroduced through restocking by humans, and only if the body of water still corresponds to the natural ecosystem they need to survive.

Promote awareness and exposure to nature for school classes from the region

Our primary goal is to turn the Ehrenhof ponds into a refuge for fish, insects, amphibians, wildlife and plants, in which especially endangered species have the opportunity to spread undisturbed again. In addition, the Greenfinity Natural Oasis is also intended to become a place of knowledge transfer that actively contributes to raising awareness in the region. In this respect, we plan to offer workshops and guided tours for school classes, through which children and young people can experience nature and species conservation at first hand. Our goal here is to awaken young people's passion for nature and to anchor the importance of its protection in their hearts.

Let's create a natural oasis together

All those who would like to support us in this endeavor have the opportunity to do so within the framework of a sponsorship.

 

We offer three models for this purpose, aimed at individuals, families or companies:

 

Single sponsorship for 1 year 50,-

Family sponsorship for 1 year 100,-

Company sponsorship for 1 year 500,-

A natural paradise for animals, plants and pond patrons

To allow animals and plants to flourish undisturbed, the Greenfinity Nature Oasis remains closed to the general public, except for awareness-raising activities and workshops. However, pond sponsors are given exclusive access to the pond area and have the opportunity to experience the project first-hand. By appointment, our sponsors can participate in guided nature tours, learn about the individual fish species, or simply spend a relaxing day at the pond site with their loved ones. In the future, we also plan to offer our own workshops for our pond sponsors.

You want to support this endeavor and become a pond patron? Then click here:

Projekt Info
Project Goals
  • Restoration, safeguarding and, in the further course, preservation of the ecological functionality of the Ehrenhof ponds.
  • Creation of habitat for endangered species, first and foremost for endangered fish species
  • Preservation of biodiversity in the region
  • In the future, also awareness raising and sensitization for environmental topics through educational events for school classes from the region
Projekt Location

Southern Styria

Project period
2022-
Project partner