Promoting Professional Development and Best Practice in EE
Roles at NAAEE:30 Under 30
WWF Austria "Generation Earth" www.generationearth.at
Born and raised in beautiful Upper Austria, Martin has always preferred outdoor activities with his siblings and friends to sitting inside watching TV. Playing all kinds of hide-and-seek games and team sports, hanging out at the muddy pond right in the middle of the tiny village, building all sorts of tree houses, lighting campfires and spending many the nights under the stars had a great impact on his character.
Martin deepened his connection to nature during a volunteer trip to Norway, where he volunteered at a local high school in a small, beautiful village on the shores of the second biggest fjord in Norway, the Hardanger Fjord. He went on many hiking tours to explore the gorgeous, untouched landscape. While working as a language assistant in the German classes and working with disabled pupils, he started to realize both his passion for motivating people to get active for their dreams and his delight of experiencing their personal development and growth. Martin finally decided to study English and History for a teaching profession at Vienna University. During his time as a student, he engaged in further environmental volunteer work and spent some time working on several organic farms in California and Idaho in the summer of 2013.
One year later, in 2014, he participated in the first Riverwalk, a project that brought together 20 young people to walk along two endangered wild rivers, the Isel River and the Soca River, and get active for the protection of those last remaining free-flowing rivers in Europe. This is where he got to know Nathan Spees from WWF Austria Generation Earth, the coordinator of the youth exchange, who has since become his friend, mentor and colleague in EE. For the last four summers (2014-2017), Martin has always been part of the Riverwalk project (www.river-walk.eu), first as a participant starting at the age of 25, then as a member of the planning team and now as the organizer of Riverwalk 2017. The bottom-up approach of Riverwalk, with its participatory learning environment, offers a unique group experience where everyone feels invited to contribute their creativity to the success of this inspiring environmental project. This might be one of the main reasons why Martin simply continued working passionately for the project and is still excited to see where this journey will take him next!