New European education project on adult wilderness training launched
Four European NGOs – Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, European Wilderness Society, Mountain Wilderness and WOLF Forest Protection Movement have launched a new erasmus+ project to enhance adult training opportunities and methods about wilderness and protected area issues.
Did you always wanted to learn (again) how to light a fire without matches? To pick the right plants and turn them into an eatable and enjoyable dish? Or to build a shelter out in the woods to stay dry and safe for a night? All this sounds like nature training camps for young people, but wilderness trainings exist for adults too, in different forms all over Europe.
The last decades have shown an enforced and sound interest in natural ecosystems and wilderness areas throughout Europe, with nature tourism and outdoor activities on the rise. A recent study amongst German citizens (1) shows that almost half of them like wilderness; more than two thirds enjoy especially wild nature and also support the political importance to protect natural places and animals. The active interest for wilderness in the public exists, and opportunities to explore and perceive wild places are actively looked for.
Strictly protected areas are essential places to safeguard our European Natural Heritage and are also a means for increasing peoples´ skills and economic sufficiency. Furthermore, wilderness areas are a source of increasingly valuable biological and ecological information for scientists and the public, to whom wilderness offers wide educational opportunities and a strong emotional experience.
So there is a lot to learn from protected areas, and the interest amongst adults for on-going training programs on wild flora, fauna and natural habitats and also on how to behave in and how to experience wild places is high. Some protected areas have started to fill the gap of offer and demand, and propose training courses. Four European NGOs have joined their experiences in this field and started a project to look at existing education practices and to encourage the exchange of best-practices amongst countries and protected areas.
The outcome of the 2-year Erasmus+ funded EU project will be a tested best-practice module on wilderness education methods for adults, as well as guides for professionals and private interest groups resuming the existing training offers. Through the project, all partners aim to further increase the public interest for and understanding of wilderness. In the sincere hope to link our ties to nature again, and why not through a self-made meal prepared in a highly enjoyable natural surrounding?
Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic
Hnuti DUHA (HD), the Czech member of well-known Friends of the Earth International, is an environmental non-governmental organization with 25+ employees, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters. Being the largest environmental NGO in the Czech Republic for over 20 years, HD has contributed to solving modern environmental and civil society challenges using activities ranging from local to national and EU level.
European Wilderness Society
The European Wilderness Society (WS) is currently the only organization in Europe solely focusing on preserving wilderness within existing protected areas on a European scale.
The organisation brings all stakeholders of Europe’s wilderness areas together. It employs a comprehensive approach to meet the complex ecological and social needs of Europe’s protected areas. Their team members have participated in the organisation of a series of trainings for wilderness area managers between 2009 and 2010 across Europe. These trainings were focused on the management of visitors and improving interpretation services.
Mountain Wilderness (MW) was established in 1988. It is recognized as a non-profit association for the public utility. The purpose of this non-profit organization is to unite the alpinists and mountain lovers throughout the world for the defence of the mountains and their natural richness. Its goal is to preserve the most strictly protected areas for the benefit of present and future generations – visitors of wilderness areas.
WOLF Forest Protection Movement
Lesoochranárske zoskupenie VLK (WOLF Forest Protection Movement) is probably the most well-known Slovakian NGO with a principal focus on wilderness protection and education. Its activities are aimed at achieving an ecologically stable landscape of north-eastern Slovakia by preserving unique natural forests of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains and adult education in this field. The activities include education of volunteers and public, field monitorings and trainings, advocating for better environmental legislation, promoting close-to-nature forest management at local and regional levels and contributing to the national awareness raising programs at the WOLF centre.