For Johannes Hericks, home is above all his friends and family. After five years in Nümbrecht in the Oberberg region, the 31-year-old returned to Heek, where he grew up. As climate protection manager, he wants to make his home town fit for a climate-friendly future. The new job at the municipal administration is a real stroke of luck for him, both professionally and personally.
Born in Nienborg, he studied energy technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Steinfurt . His career goal was clear: he wanted to work in climate protection management and specialised in this field during his last semester. At that time, however, job offers were still few and far between. The job description "climate protection manager" was only just emerging and there were not yet many municipalities that had a corresponding position to fill.
Johannes Hericks therefore searched all over Germany after graduating and got a job in Nümbrecht, south of Gummersbach in the Oberbergischer Kreis. A new region - but also a green, rural one where many things felt familiar to him. "The landscape is different in Oberbergisch than in Münsterland, but you meet a similar type of people there," he sums up his experience. He made contacts in his new place of residence, but also regularly visited his friends at home on weekends.
When his contract in Nümbrecht expired, his home municipality was looking for a climate protection manager. He seized the opportunity and returned to Münsterland in spring 2021. Since then, he has been working to make Heek climate-friendly, for example by renovating the municipality's own buildings to make them more energy-efficient. And he wants to get the citizens excited about climate protection; to this end, he organises information and discussion events and designs flyers. As a native of Nienborg, Johannes Hericks has a big starting advantage when it comes to public relations: he knows his way around and people know him. "It's easier when you're already networked," he says a few weeks after his return. "I'm received differently than before in Nümbrecht, people are more open and even talk to me about my job when I'm shopping because they know me through a corner."
He is also already networked with many actors in his community and in the region, and he is gradually establishing contact with others. For example, with the climate protection managers in other municipalities, for example through the campaign "Münsterland is Climate Land": the climate experts exchange information material and tips for everyday work.
Johannes Hericks enjoys being back home not only at work, but also in his free time. What did he miss during his time in Nümbrecht? His friends, whom he can now see every week again. And the many familiar corners in the community and the surrounding area. "I walk or cycle a bit and am quickly in the nature I know," he says. "When I'm out and about, I always remember experiences from the past. In Oberbergisches, I did discover a lot of new things and enjoyed trips to Cologne. But you just don't have that familiar feeling in a new place at first."
His favourite places include the old water mill in Nienborg, the walks along the banks of the Dinkel and the Aasee in Münster, where he often met up with friends during his student days. "And my garden, I like to sit here to switch off and just look at the greenery," he says. "Living in a bigger city wouldn't be right for me. I like to go there sometimes, but then I'm also glad to get out of the hustle and bustle again."