The Forest Ranger

Sandra Wendt, Hainich National Park

"Nature only works as a harmonious collective. We humans depend on it."

"My favourite thing is being out in the forest when it's raining. It's so peaceful, and it's a great place for spotting animals." Ranger Sandra Wendt's workplace is the 7,500 hectares of pristine nature that make up Hainich National Park.

Sandra Wendt, Ranger of Hainich National Park It's the perfect job for her, as she loves the forest and its plants and animals. Indeed, she simply can't imagine life without this ecosystem. Hainich is Germany's second-smallest national park, but it punches well above its weight in terms of natural wealth. It is part of the largest contiguous deciduous forest in the country and belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe". In her role as a forest ranger, Wendt does everything from monitoring the woodpecker population – seven species are native to this region – to providing environmental information to visitors to the national park.

"All I need is the mountains and green forests."

Do you ever hug the trees? Do you have a favourite one?

"I do hug trees – when I'm showing children how thick they are. My favourite tree is the European hornbeam. It has very gnarly bark that makes it look like something out of a fairytale.

What do you like about your work?

My workplace makes me very happy indeed. Happiness for me is being in the forest, seeing how it changes through the seasons and observing the animals that live there.

What makes Hainich National Park unique?

The diversity of landscapes, flora, fauna and fungi. Our Ancient Beech Forests are also very special.

Which of Germany's landscapes would you miss the most if you had to go abroad?

Its forests. I once thought of moving to the coast, but I would miss the mountains and forests too much.

Listen to the sounds of the forest

The wind whispers constantly in the treetops. Leaves rustle beneath your feet. You hear the song of the birds in the trees and the tap-tap of a woodpecker knocking against bark. A stag bellows; a squirrel cracks a nut. Leave your everyday cares aside for a moment and listen to the sounds of the forest.

Jasmund National Park: couple hiking ©DZT (Lars Schneider)

Forests – did you know?

The Eifel National Park is a designated Dark Sky Park, offering incredible views of the night sky..
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Around 20 percent of Berlin's municipal area is covered in forest, making it one of Europe's greenest cities.
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The enormous Ancient Beech Forests of the Kellerwald form part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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The 170 km-long Rennsteig in the Thuringian Forest is the oldest long-distance trail in Germany.
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Ambassadors of Nature

They love and protect Germany's natural landscapes, are on first-name terms with the seals, and navigate as confidently on the sea, rivers, lakes and in the mountains as they would be in their own living rooms. Meet your ambassadors of nature here.

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