Such a well-behaved national park in the Eifel can be the jungle of tomorrow. People leave it to the whims of nature and watch what happens. A fascinating process that rangers like Nina Braun accompany in good humor.

Have you ever heard the saying that chance takes you where you never intended to go? That must be how Nina Braun, the only female ranger in North Rhine-Westphalia, feels when she thinks about her life path. The petite young woman with the pageboy hairstyle had actually already taken a different direction and worked as a trained hotel manager in the Monschau restaurant trade. At some point, however, she felt the desire to do something completely different. You could call it a coincidence that on the day she went to the employment agency, there was only a forestry apprenticeship on offer. For Nina Braun, looking back, it was pure luck - or predestination. In any case, the nature lover bravely went for it and from then on also picked up a chainsaw for her job - she had to. It wasn't until a few years later that the opportunity arose to move to the wilderness workshop in the small village of Düttling, a so-called environmental education facility. Bingo - the dream job at last.

Discover wilderness, observe black storks and red-backed shrikes

Wilderness workshop may sound complicated to laypeople, but - if you believe Nina Braun - it's nothing but pure joy: "The forest is my workshop, after all!" The following day, 25 children are waiting for her as part of a summer camp. Nina and her colleagues will roam the forest with them to discover the secrets of the national park together. "Many children don't even know a forest and its plants and animals when they come to us" says Nina Braun. And she doesn't give the impression that 25 wild city brats scare her. "We'll make fires, build dams, hide in the forest..."

The National Park's program also includes the barrier-free nature experience area "Wilder Kermeter" where people with disabilities can also experience forests and wilderness up close - and observe black storks, red-backed shrikes, wall lizards and red deer. Nina Braun's eyes light up, the anticipation of meeting the children, but also the filled days in the Eifel forests, is evident. 

Flint, binoculars and blindfold

Her tools of the trade: binoculars, a flint, ropes, blindfolds for blind voyages of discovery through nature, all of which she puts in a handcart along with the food for four days. Does that sound like work? Or does it sound more like one big adventure that Nina Braun is getting paid for? Oh yes, she knows she's got it right with the job in the national park: "After four days of summer camp in the forest," she says and laughs, "I always feel like I've come from the moon."

By the way, you can also book individual ranger tours in the national park and of course go on a discovery tour. And in our video you get again an impression of the work of the rangers:

And this is how you get to the wilderness workshop in Düttling by bus and train: Plan arrival.

Cover photo: Ranger Nina Braun goes where the fire is. She even goes to the fire pond at the Düttling wilderness workshop to build dams with youth groups © Tourismus NRW e.V., Ralph Sondermann

More articles from North Rhine-Westphalia

In collaboration with Tourism NRW e.V.

Reasons for a Vacation in North Rhine-Westphalia there are plenty - the living Cities, the old Castles and palaces and the unique Nature are just a few of them.


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