As part of the partnership between the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) and Swiss watch manufacturer Oris, the collaboration’s annual event themed “Change for the better” took place in Harlesiel, Lower Saxony, this week. 30 invited guests of Oris dived into the topic of the Wadden Sea World Heritage, guided by CWSS and its local partners grün&bunt and Waddensea.travel. The event kicked off with an introduction to the area by a group of children, who learnt all about it at WattenMeerCamp 2022.
25 children, aged eight to eleven, presented their week WattenMeerCamp 2022, which they spent exploring their Wadden Sea Region with all senses and experiencing it as a valuable part of their living environment that deserves protecting. “Protection will soon be in the hands of today's children. Oris aims to inspire the next generation in conservation by supporting opportunities like the WattenMeerCamp 2022 in Harlesiel” says Sven Mostögl from Oris.
After the children's appeal to protect this special habitat and preserve it for the next generation, the guests spent the weekend exploring and learning more about the Wadden Sea and its region. During a litter collection activity, the participants filled some 40 glasses with thrown-away cigarette butts and were shocked by their result. “Carelessly discarded cigarette butts are a massive problem,” says Bernard Baerends, CWSS Executive Secretary. “Nicotine, a neurotoxin, is washed out and ends up in lakes and rivers. Under certain conditions such as sunlight the plastic filters break down into so-called microplastics. Hence, the butts are a problem for humans, animals and plants.” Their impact on the Wadden Sea has not yet been researched, but that the pollutants also end up in the Wadden Sea cannot be ruled out.
The CWSS-Oris partnership was launched in May 2021 with the release of the “Dat Watt” watch dedicated to the site and belonging to a series of watches produced by Oris with the aim of celebrating earth’s marine heritage while highlighting the importance of the conservation of the oceans. “Over the past decade, Oris has worked with non-profit environmental organisations and clean-up movements all over the world, so the collaboration with the Wadden Sea, a marine World Heritage Site, was a natural fit”, says Sven Mostögl from Oris.
Parts of the proceeds from the sale of the Dat Watt watch and the attention from the events will also go towards supporting the trilateral education programme, the International Wadden Sea School, which has worked with educators and interpreters in the three Wadden Sea nations for nearly 20 years, to improve knowledge and understanding about the Site among children and young people.
Another event is planned in 2023 in Denmark, also with a focus on change for the better, education and marine conservation.
Oris guests exploring the mudflats on a guided tour. Andreas Klesse.