A strong focus point of the European Wilderness Society is that our own team goes out into the field. We go out into nature to visit the wild areas and see their potential to become a true Wilderness. Only recently Vlado and Iryna came back from a two-week audit in Ukraine, for example. They experienced the local wilderness and the team is now finalising the audit report before we can welcome another Wilderness to the European Wilderness Network.

The European Wilderness Network connects Wilderness across Europe.

Wilderness and nature protection can simply not be executed only from behind a desk. You need people in the field to understand the places. Many NGOs have a part of their staff out in the field, for the hands-on work that needs to be done. They try to connect with the local people, and invest time and energy to understand their way of living. Becoming like one of the locals, will be crucial for many project as long as the project continues. But unfortunately not everybody gets the chance to be out in the field, as many NGO offices remain in the larger cities.

Now, I just watched a movie called ‘The Meaning of Wild‘. A simple sentence from this movie got stuck in my head: “Wilderness does not need protection, wilderness needs protectors.” It needs people to go out in the field, to identify and designate the potential Wilderness areas. It requires helping local management to set up a proper management strategy to protect the Wilderness. But also to raise awareness by promoting these wild places in Europe.

European Wilderness Society Deputy Chairman, Vlado Vancura, discussing local management strategies in the Kalkalpen.

As I only started recently, I am learning new things every day in Tamsweg. The next months the European Wilderness Society has planned to visit several certified Wildernesses across Europe, joining conferences and workshops. And meanwhile I can tell you that working on project proposals for international Wilderness projects, while sitting at an Alpine hut, makes me feel right at home!

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