Laureates 2011

The impact of climate change along the Via Alpina, the education of youth with social difficulties through hiking, and a geophotographical inventory of the Red Trail: these are the themes of the three projects selected for the Via Alpina Travel Fellowships 2011 awarded by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, the Via Alpina Secretariat of the Principality of Monaco and the international Via Alpina network:

Through the “Eyewitness” project, Elisabeth Gsottbauer, Austrian, 27 years, PhD student in environmental policy, environmental economy and behavioural economy at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), wishes to communicate about the consequences of climate change which are already being felt by the inhabitants of the Alps. During about 10 days in July 2011, she will walk the stages of the Yellow Trail on both sides of Via Alpina’s highest point at Niederjoch pass in Austria (Tyrol) and Italy (South Tyrol). On the way, she will interview farmers, hut keepers, hikers in order to relay their experiences and their vision for the future. PROJECT CANCELLED! Read more >>

In July too, the 6th-grade class of the special needs school Talander in Wangen im Allgäu (Germany) will start for almost three weeks of hiking from Tschagguns (Montafon, Austria) on the stretch of the Via Alpina Red Trail winding on the Austrian-Swiss and then Swiss-Italian borders, all the way to Tirano. For these 10 boys and 2 girls, aged 13 to 14 years, beyond the physical accomplishment the goal is to develop their social competences: responsibility, team spirit, mutual aid, self-confidence, initiative... just as was experienced last year by a group of Swiss adults (see The therapeutic virtues of Via Alpina). Read more>>

4 months on the trails, this is what Romain Liagre, French, 32 years, one child, currently project officer at the Support centre to the Bruxelles sector for the help to homeless people “La Strada” will begin in June in order to carry out the project “Photographica alpina”. Combining his competences as a doctor in Geography, his passion for the Alps where he spends most holidays and his talent for photography, he will realise a “geophotographic inventory” of the Red Trail: every 5 km, he will take a picture in each of the four cardinal directions, thus creating a fascinating database for possible future integration in the website. Upon his return, he will communicate his experience in schools in the Lille area. Read more >>

Finally, the Selection committee decided to give special mention to the project presented by the French Mountain and Climbing Federation (FFME). Since GTA already provides some organisational help to the realisation of this relay walk through 11 Alpine massifs, punctuated by encounters with other adepts of the whole range of mountain sports, we chose to reserve our financial support to the three projects above. But with this distinction and the inclusion in the group of the Travel fellowships laureates 2011, we wish to underline this project’s professionalism, probably the most ambitious and the one with the largest number of direct participants, and which perfectly reflects the spirit of discovery and encounters of Via Alpina. Read more >>

You will soon be able to follow the progress of each of these projects through their respective blogs. Upon their conclusion we will circulate on line and during various events the short films realised along each of these four adventures.

We are also presenting you below the summaries of the other eligible projects which were submitted. Presented by candidates from France, USA, Poland, Germany, Italy and Austria, they deal with artistic, educative or regional development themes with very varied approaches. We would have liked to have enough means to support them too, since each of them at its level brings out a significant enrichment for the Via Alpina. Some will still be carried out, and may receive the moral support of Via Alpina, the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Via Alpina-Monaco Secretariat.

In the order of submission of the applications:

Martine Keller: Crossing of the Alps >>

Fleur and Marie Daugey: Living with wolves: when nature and culture reconcile >>

Agnieszka Kozlowska: Long-distance pedestrian Alpine travel – a Grand Tour of today? Via Alpina installation artwork >>

Florian Huth: Munich – Mont-Blanc: a photographic walk >>

Ursula Achternkamp: Natural Born Bird Watchers >>

Katie Silveria: Alps Culture and Agrarian Living: Sustainable Development along the Via Alpina >>

Marissa Lyons: The Lifestyle of Alpine Living for Young Adults >>

Andrea Pasqualotto / Mazarol co-operative: Walking through the Alpine Heritage: different properties – a single world >>

Pauline Lis: Alpine way of life >>

Lukas Umgeher, Stefan Mayer, Fabio Richlan: Experience the natural and cultural good Water along Via Alpina >>