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Vocational trainees from Nuremberg are digging for the environment

Meadows abloom with wild flowers, bees buzzing, squirrels in search of food and hedgehogs in search of shelter... Doesn't this all sound just like an idyllic rural setting somewhere in the midst of nature? Well, in actual fact this is DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's Nuremberg Maintenance Depot! Our vocational trainees in Nuremberg are really rolling their sleeves up to make their contribution to environmental protection.

"It's great to see your own project coming to life. Even though we are just vocational trainees, we can get quite a lot achieved when we are given the chance," says Thomas Böhm with some pride as he looks back on a job well done. He is a prospective mechatronics technician at the Nuremberg Maintenance Depot. At the end of March, he and twelve other vocational trainees spent six hours raking, scarifying, weeding, loading five tonnes of soil and much more besides. They were assisted by another six colleagues who had volunteered to join in, including Dustin März, a youth representative, Sebastian Segel, a caretaker, and Anja Hackfurth, the environmental protection coordinator at the depot.

Last year, as part of the "Eco-aware trainees" project, the vocational trainees had been encouraged to come up with plans for environmental campaigns at their site. They decided that, for the sake of the bees and the butterflies, it would be a good idea to organise a planting campaign and create a flower meadow on the grounds of the depot. "We had already finished planning everything by the end of summer, but it was too hot and dry at the time to sow anything," said Hackfurth, who had been involved in the campaign from the word go, "so we decided to postpone our mission until this spring."

Now we have to wait and see

Very soon, a total of 250 square metres of land should be in bloom in the various flower beds in front of the administrative building. This is all thanks to the hard work of the group on the day of the event, grafting through sunshine and enduring surprisingly hot temperatures to get almost everything done. "There's still a lot you can't see. The ground we've been working on needs time to lie fallow and recover first." But in two weeks the seeds will begin to yield a special blend of indigenous wild flowers, providing a meadow perfectly suited to the needs of industrious insects. The bees will also be able to move into the neighbouring bee hotel, which the vocational trainees have preemptively built for them – they have just finished putting up the basic frame on this today. The vocational trainees are not just protecting and caring for bees, however. Last autumn, they also made two boxes for hedgehogs to hibernate in, which they set up on the grounds of the depot. They have also finished making six food boxes for squirrels, which they will shortly be hanging up on the trees of the site.

The beds should be teeming with flowers in two or three months. The company's own fire department, which is located directly next to the site, will ensure they are kept watered as necessary.

A successful start

According to Hackfurth, it was a great campaign, and it would be wonderful to follow it up with other projects. "I think it's good for vocational trainees to be involved in campaigns like this as a change from what they are already doing at the maintenance depot. Environmental protection is an important issue, which is rooted in the corporate strategy of DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung as well as DB in general." The actual owner of the grounds, DB Real Estate, has been very excited about the campaign since before it even started. So much so that they have entered into a maintenance contract with the depot: the depot will be permitted to use the grounds for its environmental campaigns free of charge for five years, with the option of extending the contract.

Picture gallery: a flower bed comes to life...