CANAPE: Recording the Oral History of Barver Moor

16 May 2022 - Published by Harry Mach
For two years, the Barver peat moss farm in the Diepholz district has been testing the climate-friendly wet management of moors ("paludiculture"). The project sees itself in a decades-long tradition of agricultural moor use in the heart of the Diepholz mire basin as well as other bog areas.

This inspired CANAPEs project manager Jens-Uwe Holthuis from the nature conservation foundation of Diepholz district to embark on a historical search for traces. The result is an "oral history" documentation presenting the personal everyday stories and memories of residents, farmers and conservationists of the Barver Moor after World War II.

Under the title "Tell me!", twelve students studying media management and journalism at the Jade University of Applied Sciences in Wilhelmshaven, in cooperation with the Interreg project CANAPE, developed three films that illuminate the history of the Barver Moor from individual point of views.

In December 2021, seven contemporary witnesses reported enthusiastically on personal experiences and stories about the Barver Moor. The flashback tells of the use in former time, the importance of the moor as a basis of existence through manual peat cutting and industrial peat extraction and as a neighborly home, living space. The current use, the disappearance of moor-typical plants and animals and the efforts of nature and climate conservationists are also addressed in the films. Through the exciting reports of eyewitnesses, the history and the ongoing change in the use of the moor is vividly told and preserved in the three episodes that have been created, all of which can be viewed here on our website.

For Holthuis, the interviews brought an “aha” experience: “What is worth noting is what is only mentioned in passing: the ubiquitous use of moors as pastureland. But it's so natural in Barver that it doesn't seem worth mentioning." He and the film team are happy about the successful project: “First of all, we would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved! Even if some things had to be cut out of the documentary, the film shows an emotional commitment to the moor - and already for this it must be preserved. So let's respect the life's work of our predecessors when we become a new generation of peatland managers.”