Aargau, Switzerland: Though only covering about 1 % of the landscape, meadows are a biotope for up to 70 % of the floral and wildlife species in Swiss canton Aargau. But 20 years ago, through the development of industrialisation, expanding agriculture and the straightening of rivers, the densely-populated canton used to suffer from a highly reduced biodiversity. Energy producing water-power-stations blocked the traveling of local fish-populations and straightened river-beds of concrete suppressed the growth of flora and wildlife.
Therefore, the population of Swiss canton Aargau decided 20 years ago in a referendum to renaturate selected parts of rivers and transfer them back into meadow-landscapes. The step-by-step reconstruction-work lasted 20 years and allowed nature to be wild again and create spontaneous landscapes, that nourrish local wildlife and a variety of species. Rivers received new billabongs, waterpower-plants their own fish passes and agricultural spaces were retransformed to wetlands. The project was established in a direct dialogue with the population.
The task of the exhibition is on one side to document the project: What were its origins, what were the tasks and which goals have been reached in the last 20 yeas? On the other side, the educational part of the exhibition shows why meadows are so important for a healthy balance in nature: What is a meadow? Why do wildlife-animals like the beaver need them to survive? How can we protect them?