A nature trail , also a learning trail or themed trail , is a developed walking or hiking trail that leads along scientifically or culturally remarkable objects like a station through the landscape or through built-up areas. For example, it can impart knowledge about astronomy , flora and fauna , soil science , geology , mining , ecology or cultural history . Longer paths that connect more distant natural phenomena or buildings with each other are called themed hiking trails .
For a better view of the facts related to these objects , display boards or other representations are attached to the stations - depending on the respective topic . These can be: information and explanatory signs, photos and pictures, maps or plans, showcases and models, slide, sound or multimedia devices, facilities for experimentation and the like. The paths are regularly looked after.
Educational trails with thematically strictly limited content are also called "themed trails" or "themed trails", depending on regional or national language usage, among other things.
The purpose of an educational trail is to impart and expand knowledge , sometimes combined with the experience of nature, relaxation and strengthening environmental awareness . The stations often offer imaginative and interactive opportunities to experience nature. Occasionally, guided tours with expert guides are also offered.
The first official educational trail was created in 1925 on the initiative of a museum director in Palisades Interstate Park in New York and New Jersey in the USA. In 1930 the first nature trail in Germany was laid out not far from Berlin near Brieselang in the Bredower Forest. In the 1950s there was a sharp increase in nature trails in Germany, as urbanization led to an increasing need for recreation and an increase in car use to greater mobility.
From the 1960s onwards, nature trails were increasingly set up in Germany, mainly as forest trails to guide visitors . Most of them were signposted paths depicting the forest as an ecosystem worthy of protection in order to channel the flood of urban motorists looking for recreation in the natural areas. For this reason, nature trails were initially laid out, especially at large parking lots at the edge of the forest. In 1970, after the “ European Year of Nature Conservation ” in Germany, the first Swiss educational trails were also created.
At the beginning of the 1980s, educational trails in Germany were no longer just laid out in the form of normal signposts, because these conveyed knowledge solely through the written word. In order to improve accessibility , perception and experience with all the senses became the focus. In 1998 it is estimated that there were around 1000 nature trails in Germany. Of these, 85% were forest or nature trails and only 3% were nature trails.
Since 2000, new media have increasingly been integrated into the nature trails.
The forms include landscape, mining educational trails and also other cultural and historical ones . There are also planetary paths that illustrate the scale of the planets and sculpture paths with artistic demands.
- Page no longer available , search in web archives: Soil educational trails in Germany in the "Travel Guide - To the Soils of Germany" ) (
- Nature trails in Austria on the website of the Ministry of Life
- 80 years of nature trail in the Bredower Forest - a historical outline ...