What would society be without volunteers? They extinguish fires, take care of maintenance or assist with physically difficult work. With the exhibition “Ehrenamt”, which was opened on May 11 at Vienna’s Heldenplatz, the focus is on all those who, with their unpaid commitment, contribute to making important social, cultural and organizational aspects of our society possible. The exhibition will be on display throughout 2021 and will show emotional stories, experiences, joy, learning and much more about volunteering. In the exhibition included is a photo of LIFEstockProtect, which was visited by our project team to draw attention to the great work all volunteers do to make herd livestock protection work.
Please read: Volunteers support shepherds in Tyrol
Volunteers as active helpers
Livestock protection in high alpine locations requires an enormous effort from those who ensure the preservation of this centuries-old cultural landscape by managing livestock on the alpine pastures. In order to provide adequate protection for livestock against large carnivores, fencing material has to be transported from the valleys to the high altitude of the pastures. This is only partially possible with motorized support such as cars, quads ATVs or cable cars to transport materials. The last distance must usually be walked. Once this is done, the fences still must be assembled correctly with great effort.
However, building fences is not the only task for the volunteers. Regularly checking for damage and repairing it is a good opportunity for many to spend their summer time on the mountain pasture. Especially nature lovers voluntarily take care of guarding dogs or accompany a herd as shepherds to observe them. Without the great commitment of people who help here in an honorary capacity, many livestock farmers would be lost and would not be able to meet these challenges.
It is even more important that more and more committed volunteers are willing to help. By implementing measures for properly implemented livestock protection, they make an important contribution to preserving alpine pasture farming, and thus also the alpine pasture cultural landscape with its abundance of unique species, in the alpine terrain. At the same time, the volunteers can enjoy the impressive landscape. In LIFEstockProtect, we are already in the process of building a Volunteer Support Network, which will launch in 2022 and will be composed of short- and long-term deployments of committed individuals.