Overview of the jury members of the European Award for Ecological Gardening 2023
Leitung der Jury: Karl Ploberger, AT
Author of gardening books, moderator, organic gardener
Karl Ploberger is considered as the “organic gardener of the nation“. As an autodidact, his focus has always been on organic horticulture already since his youth. Meanwhile, he has sold approximately 600,000 copies of his 24 books and annual calendars with the motto “... für intelligente Faule“ (“... for Intelligent Lazy People“).
In his hapacity as a journalist, he has also been staging radio and television programmes with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) on the topic of gardening for 30 years (“Natur im Garten“ is broadcast every Sunday afternoon on ORF 2), attaching great importance to brief and concise explanations which are easy to understand for everyone.
He writes articles for numerous daily newspapers and is the editor of the organic gardening magazine “kraut & rüben“ and he is also active on Facebook and Instagram. Free up-to-date tips can be found on his website www.biogaertner.at as well as on his new app “Plobergers Live-Gartentipps“.
Katja Batakovic, AT
Technical director of „Natur im Garten“, garden educator
Katja Batakovic studied agricultural sciences and education science. During her studies, she gained practical experimentation experience in the field of biological pest control and worked as a teacher at a secondary education college. This was followed by several years in consulting, with a focus on human resources, project management, process support and facilitation. Katja Batakovic has been working for "Natur im Garten" Lower Austria since 2013. In her capacity as the campaign's technical director, she focuses on adult education and garden pedagogy, ecology and kitchen gardens.
In recent years, she has regularly resorted to these competences by acting as a juror on various juries. As a speaker at university courses, conferences and other educational events, she communicates her heartfelt and core topics of "Natur im Garten".
Dorothee Benkowitz, DE
Lecturer at the University of Education Karlsruhe, First Chairperson of the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Schulgarten e.V. (German Federal Association of School Gardens), specialist author
At the Institute of Biology and School Garden Development of the Faculty of Natural and Social Sciences at the University of Education Karlsruhe, Dorothee Benkowitz has been working as an academic councillor since 2008 and as a professor of biology and biology didactics since 2023. Every year, approximately one hundred students are trained with a special focus on gardening work in the Ecological Learning Garden, the management of which she is also in charge of. This garden serves as a site of education of the German Unesco Commission and an official actor in education for sustainable development, which plays an increasingly important role in meeting the challenges of climate change. Known also as an author of reference books, Ms. Benkowitz has been First Chairperson of the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Schulgarten e.V. (German Federal Association of School Gardens) since 2015 and also a member of the Executive Committee of the German Horticultural Society 1822.
András Halbritter, HU
Lecturer at Széchenyi University in Győr for school garden pedagogy
Dr András Albert Halbritter studied biology at Eötvös Loránd University, where he graduated in 2005. As Deputy Dean of Education at the Apáczai Csere János Faculty of the Western Hungarian University, he taught biology and environmental protection, primarily to teacher students. His special research areas include folk plant knowledge, soil life and the exceptional education opportunities offered by school gardens.
As a lecturer in science, health and sustainability education at the Széchenyi University, Győr, he has re-established school garden pedagogy in teacher training. Today, his work for the Hungarian Foundation for School Gardens in the development of European networks includes the support of school gardens, the training of school garden pedagogues, as well as cooperation with Natur im Garten within the framework of the Erasmus + project "School Garden goes Europe".
Constantine Innemée, GB
Direktor von “The Prince’s Foundation’s Highgrove”
Highgrove ist die Privatresidenz Ihrer Majestäten König Karl III und der Königin Gemahlin in der Nähe von Tetbury in Gloucestershire. Als Direktor von “The Prince’s Foundation’s Highgrove” zeichnet Constantine Innemée verantwortlich für die Arbeit, welche die Wohltätigkeitsorganisation unternimmt, um die Gärten von Highgrove zu erhalten und zu erweitern sowie auf dem Anwesen, das als Synonym für Handwerkskunst und ästhetische Exzellenz gilt, wohltätigige Vermittlung und Zugang zu Ausbildung und Entwicklung handwerklicher Fähigkeiten anzubieten, die oft aufgrund von Wissensmangel bedroht sind. Innemée ist auch für den Highgrove-Shop und die Attraktionen für Besucher*innen verantwortlich, die jedes Jahr etwa 40.000 von ihnen in die ikonischen Gärten zieht.
Gabriele Pircher, IT
Gartendirektorin der Gärten von Schloss Trauttmansdorff, Landschaftsplanerin
Ihr Studium hat Gabriele Pircher als Landschaftsplanerin an der Universität für Bodenkultur in Wien absolviert. Bereits dort ist insbesondere ihr Interesse für Stauden geweckt worden. Nach einigen Jahren im Ausland, wo sie hauptsächlich mit dem Einsatz von Wildstauden in unterschiedlichen Bereichen beschäftigt ist, kehrt sie schließlich nach Meran zurück - in die Gärten von Schloss Trauttmansdorff.
2011 übernimmt sie die Bepflanzungsplanung in den Gärten. Seit 2018 ist sie als Garten-Direktorin zuständig für die Koordination der gesamten Gartenanlage sowie deren Bepflanzung. Naturnahe Bepflanzungen mit Stauden haben ihre Vorliebe und die Gärten bieten viele Möglichkeiten diese Vorliebe umzusetzen.
Seit 2018 werden die Gärten kontinuierlich auf ökologische Pflege und Pflanzenschutz umgestellt, und fungieren so als Vorzeigeprojekt der Provinz Bozen.
Matthias Wagner, DE
Landscape architect, Head of Division of the Isle of Mainau, "Natur im Garten" certifier
In his leisure time, Matthias Wagner (a graduate engineer by education) is a passionate hobby beekeeper. In his professional life, however, after having completed his studies at the Nürtingen University of Applied Sciences, the landscape architect has rendered outstanding services to the flower island of Mainau as a garden planner for 18 years now.
Currently, he has been in charge of the garden planning department for the past eleven years, whose innovative and creative design ideas never cease to surprise the countless visitors, make them smile and reflect, and open up new perspectives for their own gardens inspired by the large and varied green spaces. As a "Natur im Garten" certifier, he is also very familiar with ecological gardening – both around Lake Constance and beyond.