Tamsweg, Austria 31.12.2014. The European Wilderness Society, Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, Mountain Wilderness and WOLF Forest Protection Movement have launched a new EU 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 camps for young people, but wilderness trainings exists for adults too, in different forms all over Europe.
Strictly protected areas are essential places to safeguard our European Natural Heritage and also 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.
The European Wilderness Society and three partner NGOs have pooled their experiences in adult training and recently started an EU project that aims to bring fundamental changes in the public attitude towards wilderness by educating them about the various benefits of wilderness and its importance. Project partners will look into existing wilderness education practices, encourage the exchange of best-practices amongst countries and protected areas, and field test innovated curricula of education programs.
The outcome of the 2-year Erasmus-funded EU project will be a 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 strengthen adult key competencies, increase the public interest for and understanding of wilderness and thus help nature protection. 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?
European Wilderness Society
The European Wilderness Society (EWS) is currently the only organization in Europe solely focusing on preserving wilderness within existing protected areas on a European scale. Following up its key objectives to identify, preserve and restore wilderness areas throughout Europe, EWS seeks to increase the general understanding and appreciation of wilderness-related topics within the different European national societies.
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 and offers an active exchange amongst protected area managers through its European Wilderness Network. 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.
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.
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.