4th StarTree General Assembly Meeting Report
More than 50 participants attended 4th StarTree General Assembly (GA) meeting. The three‐day meeting was held in the historic Stift Neuberg in the village of Neuberg an der Mürz. Neuberg is placed in the heart of the Styrian Case Study region in the South-Eastern part of Austria, which enabled close and fruitful interaction with regional stakeholders in the project.
The first day of the meeting consisted of work package (WP) parallel sessions and a session regarding the status of State of the Sector Report, in which preliminary results by WP leaders were presented. Furthermore, a session on in-depth case studies and action research was held, where general instruction was given and parallel group discussions were held.
In the evening, participants enjoyed a traditional dinner at Anni Holzers Inn with local music.
The field visit on Day 2 included a session on “Cooking from the Meadow” with Renate Dobrovolny, a local expert on herbs, where participants were encouraged to pick wild flowers and herbs to make a smoothie and a herb salt mix. Styria Nature Parks facilitates such events and activities to promote interaction with nature and environmental education, an alternative “product” to come out of the forests there.
Additionally, StarTree participants visited an organic Christmas tree plantation, run by family farm Reisinger. Christmas tree production is an important aspect of the forest economy in a region which is, nevertheless, dominated by the timber industry. Read more here.
The “Market Place” and Knowledge Exchange Event has become one of the cornerstones of the StarTree General Assembly meeting. The “Market Place” facilitates the exchange of knowledge and experiences between science and practice. Strong collaboration with members of the Styrian Regional Stakeholder Group and the Austrian GA organising committee facilitated a truly excellent Market Place in Styria. Furthermore, the event was not simply a presentation of the varied local products to come out of Styrian forests but rather also to provide the opportunity for mutually beneficial dialogue and discussion between the regional representatives and the project consortium partners.
At the end of this second day a special Styrian dinner with products from the region, including Non Wood Forest Products, was organised at the Gasthof Hubert Holzer, whose environment and hosts perfectly reflect the spirit of the region.
On the whole, significant progress was made on all work packages over the course of the meeting, which are now moving from the initial data collection phase into in‐depth case studies and data analysis. Some preliminary results were shared which will soon be available for further dissemination.
(Photographer for all pictures: Ivana Zivojinovic, EFICEEC)