European Parks Academy 2019: a special participation of EUROPARC

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Hosted by the ECO Institute for Ecology, the European Parks Academy is a prestigious “summer school” focused on Protected area management, and takes place annually in July, at the Lakeside Campus in Klagenfurt. EUROPARC has a long-established collaboration with ECO, especially with the MSC programme  Management in Conservation AreasIn this edition of the European Parks Academy, Stefania Petrosillo and Carol Ritchie were invited as guest lecturers. This is their story!

EUROPARC at the European Parks Academy 2019

A relaxed, intensive opportunity for Protected Area staff to gain new insights ideas and inspiration!

As much as EUROPARC is investing in new technology and e-learning for capacity building of our members,  there remains an important and vital need for face to face, participatory learning and the European Parks Academy provides that space. Three seminars are offered in the 5-day intensive week. This year focused on World Heritage Sites & Sustainable Tourism, Ecological Monitoring & Innovative Technologies and Transboundary Protected Areas.

Stefania Petrosillo and Carol Ritchie from EUROPARC Directorate gave full-day workshops into Transboundary and Sustainable Tourism seminar, complimenting the inputs from Boris Erg from IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Peter Debrine from UNESCO earlier in the week.


In the Transboundary Workshop Stefania presented the EUROPARC Transboundary Program “Following Natures Design”, effectively supported by Marko Pretner, from the Julian Alps Transboundary Ecoregion (IT/SI) with his direct involvement in cooperation between Prealpi Giulie Nature Park and Triglav National Park. Discussions, working groups and also games, allowed the participants to share their questions and experiences about concrete advantages and challenges on collaboration between parks in neighboring countries.

Transboundary seminar – E.C.O. Institute of Ecology. Facebook Page.

Meanwhile, next door,  Carol, in the sweltering heat of an Austrian summer, discussed the need for sustainable tourism in protected areas and took participants through the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas showcasing the great work done by our parks and partners in EUROPARC Sustainable Destinations across Europe.

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In both workshops EUROPARC took the opportunity also to present the Natura 2000 Award as well as highlight the work of CEETO, Sustainable Tourism training for tomorrow and Life projects.

Stefania Petrosillo also attended the final study tour to the Austrian GeoPark of Carnic Alps and got the chance to learn about the crossborder history and current projects with a visit to the border of Austria, Slovenia and Italy.

Participants came from Ukraine, Israel, Germany, Austria and were all working in agencies or Protected Areas. It was a delight to get to know them and the circumstances within which they work. Hopefully, we will see some soon joining our EUROPARC network soon!

We were extremely impressed by the quality of the European Parks Academy and the professionalism of ECO in organising it. EUROPARC cannot recommend it highly enough for all members wishing to have an intensive “top up” of their professional learning.

Look out for next year’s academy and seminar topics!

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A special visit… to EUROPARC Library!

E.C.O. Institute of Ecology – EUROPARC Library

Whilst in attendance to the study tour, Carol took the opportunity to pop into the EUROPARC library, held on our behalf by ECO. It is a collection of over 40-year archive of the work and practice of protected area management and available to anyone in research or study to utilise. Pay them a  visit!

In addition, it was useful to re-establish EUROPARC’s commitment to the MSC course in Management of Conservation Areas. Newly adapted and relaunched with the Carpathian University of Applied Sciences. EUROPARC will be represented on the board of the course and will endeavour to ensure new entries into the protected area management world have a thorough understanding of the practicalities and realities of our work.

Registration for of the European Parks Academy 2020 will open in September, check out ECO website for details!