This year the European Wilderness Society has been very successful. In the anniversary year of Wilderness, we have grown in many directions, and set many plans and projects into motion for 2020 and beyond.
Please also read: A glimpse into our daily work
After a lot of preparation we won several projects. In February the Austrian Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism awarded us with a project on the Biodiversity of the Fauna in Forests. In April we started two Interreg Central Europe projects BEECH POWER and Centralparks and we also won an Erasmus project to organise a Youth Green Conference. In the fall we were granted the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association for a River Cleanup and Ranger Training project in the Ukraine. We also assisted our volunteers and ex-volunteers in the implementation of 7 Citizen Engagement Activities in Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovakia.
Furthermore, we also submitted with the support of 18 partners our first LIFE Project Concept note and were invited into the second round for a submission of full proposal in October 2019. The full proposal with 400+ pages was submitted in February 2020.
European Wilderness Quality Standard 2.0
We launched the latest version of the European Wilderness Quality Standard. The update was necessary to include the latest findings and feedbacks from our field trips and our European Wilderness Network Partners. The principles we restructured and the criteria updated. The indicators were reduced to make it more practical, while still reflecting a good overall quality of the entire Wilderness.
Expanding the European Wilderness Network and coopration
In 2019 the team conducted many field audits to grow the European Wilderness Network. We visited the potential Wilderness Prealpi Giulia in Italy, potential Wilderness Triglav in Slovenia as well as Chornohora (Black) Mountain in Ukraine. Moreover, the team reaudited Majella Wilderness in Italy and implemented the first part of the full audit of Gorgany Wilderness and Mizhrichynskyy Wilderness in Ukraine. We also visited 6 new potential Wilderness areas in Bulgaria and are discussing how they can join the European Wilderness Network. We updated our European Wilderness Network Website with new maps and information. We have also established contacts with new potential Wilderness in the Balkans.
In addition, we also signed the Memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Environment protection in Ukraine.
In September we took 10 international artists to Majella Wilderness in Italy and let Wilderness inspire them. The event was a huge success and will is part of our regular events programme of the European Wilderness Society. We recently released a video about the whole WILDArt experience in Majella Wilderness.
The European Wilderness Society developed Respect Nature to offer a European-wide framework for behaving respectfully in nature. It incorporates best advice and support for experiencing Wilderness sustainably and will continue as a training module offered by the European Wilderness Society in 2020.
We reached over 1000 children
We also travelled all over Austria, Germany and Ukraine for our Let’s get Wild! follow-up school programme. We supported the launch in Ukraine of a European Wilderness Society Youth Group and are very actively in several educational programmes in Transcarpathian region.
European Wilderness Volunteering
In close cooperation with the Interreg Volunteer Youth programme we hosted already 3 young volunteers who supported us during their 6-month stay in the implementation of our two Interreg projects. With the support of the European Solidarity Corps we also host two long-term volunteers for up to 12 months supporting us in our daily chores and in our field work. For our 2019 call, we received over 300 applications. Adventures of our Wild volunteers are available in the Wilderness diary.
We spread the word about Wilderness and Wolves on TV and radio
Wilderness Academy Days 2019
We hosted our Wilderness Academy Days for 27-29 May in UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Lungau, Austria. It brought together more than 50 Wilderness Experts, Advocates and Scientists from such countries as Turkey, Lithuania, United States, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Italy and Germany to celebrate the 55th anniversary of US Wilderness Act, the 10th anniversary of the European Wilderness Resolution, and the 5th anniversary of the European Wilderness Society.
New publications on our website
We have also been busy in the office as well as the field. We updated our Website with a host of new publications including our new European Wilderness Network book 2019 edition, the full audit report of Majella Wilderness, the Respect Nature flyer and several Wilderness briefs (Čepkeliai, Uholka Shyrokyy Luh, Zacharovanyy Kray, Peneda-Gerês and many more).
A Wild thank you from the whole team!
Our work is only possible because of your support. We have over 1200 online posts giving you the latest news, and after over 500 000 visitors to our website in 2018 we attracted more than almost 1.000.000 visitors in 2019 to our online platforms. With your support, contributions and donations, we were able to successfully run our education projects, maintain the European Wilderness Network and organise wild events across the whole year.
We thank you, and wish you a happy and fruitful new year. Let’s get Wild!
Help us fight for Europe’s last Wilderness
Our success to protect wilderness depends on your donations! Please help us to fight against illegal logging, the destruction of Europe’s last free flowing rivers, massive deforestation in Eastern Europe and illegal poaching of Large Carnivores. Your donation will also finance Livestock protection measures for shepherds.
Thank you for your support!
Max A E Rossberg, Chairman
European Wilderness Society