More than 120 grid points are arranged on the 60,000 square meters experimental area "Hühnerwasser" in an opencast mine south at Cottbus. At these grid points, scientists from the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg use a comprehensive monitoring program to record parameters for weather, soil, water, plants, animals and much more - and have been doing so for over ten years. In the Welzow-Süd opencast mine, the artificial source area "Hühnerwasser" was created in 2004/2005. The area was left to unguarded succession, enabling scientists to explore the "zero hour" of ecosystem genesis. Students of the environmental study courses have been involved in this exciting project since the beginning. Thus, students can study in a practical way and promote interest in their own further study projects.