Case study: Nest&Climb, a participatory monitoring of birds’ nests in climbing areas

Photo by Flo Maderebner from Pexels

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We always need to remember that out in nature we are guests, visiting habitats and environments populated by many different species. While practicing outdoor sports, we need to pay attention to what we do and how we do it, doing our best to respect the surroundings. This is exactly what the”Nest&Climb” project, developed in the Haute-Savoie region, is all about. It focusses on participatory monitoring of birds’ nests in climbing areas.

Nest&Climb

The Haute-Savoie region in France is rich in nature reserves and wildlife, including many species of rupestrian birds. In 2021, Asters-Conservatory of Natural Espaces of Haute-Savoie, supported by the French Office of Biodiversity, launched the project Nest&Climb to reconcile the practice of sport climbing with the protection of birds nesting on cliffs.

Monitoring and protecting birds’ nests in climbing areas

Nest&Climb aims to educate and raise climbers’ awareness on bird species they share the crags with. Additionally, it was developed to support the environmental monitoring of climbing areas. This is essential for ensuring sustainable management of outdoor areas and climbing activities.

The area would ban certain climbing routes to allow birds to nest during a specific period of time, however often lacked to proper information to determine these areas. To gather the data needed, the Haute-Savoie region decided to collaborate with different climbers, the local authority managing the site, the Natura 2000 manager and local municipalities .

There are over 150 bolted cliffs in Haute-Savoie, and climbers were called upon to report nests they noticed on the cliffs to support the monitoring efforts.

Challenges

At the beginning there was a lot of work to do, with more than 20 nests being reported in as many crags. Identifying birds is a delicate process, as it’s important to not disturb the animals. Additionally, sometimes the spots chosen by birds to nest are hard to reach and mark (with explanatory signs). There was also the initial fear of the project not being welcomed by the climbers because it could have been perceived as a threat to their freedom. However, Nest&Climb turned out to be a success and was well-received by climbers.

Solutions and Actions

To tackle the need for more information and action, the Haute-Savoie region started:

  • Developing educational content about the different bird species and nesting periods
  • Using social media accounts to share this knowledge, and to collect information about reported nests
  • Creating a community of several hundred climbers interested in helping with the issue
  • Asking climbers to report birds’ nests, then identify the birds and warn other users of the area about it with signs explaining the nesting period and the routes that should not be climbed during that period of time
  •  Making sure the nests are actually occupied before banning the routes for only a short period of time. It has made the bans more acceptable by making sure the nests are actually occupied before banning the routes for only a short period of time.

Sign to be put on routes that host a nest. Design by Benoit Favre.

Outcomes

Nest&Climb has been successful and promising, showing that outdoor activities enthusiasts are willing to participate and contribute to the preservation of the surrounding environment and are ready to learn about it.

Read the original case study

For more info on Nest&Climb visit the Facebook page

Good practices in Outdoor Sports

Being out and active in nature requires a level of respect. As guests, we will inevitably create an impact. It is our responsibility to minimise harmful effects, so that we can continue enjoying nature in a harmonious way.

In 2019, the EUROPARC Federation and the European Network of Outdoor Sports (ENOS) launched the 10 Good Principles for Outdoor Sports in Protected Areas (PAs) These Principles aim to promote good conduct among outdoor sports practitioners. It is available in multiple languages and we encourage Protected Areas and outdoor sports networks to use and promote them!

SEE logo

Sustainable Education in Outdoor Sports

EUROPARC is also part of the Erasmus+ SEE Project (Sustainability and Environmental Education in Outdoor Sports). The projects looks at challenges of outdoor sports across Europe and trains outdoor sports trainers in good practice, to allow increased participation so that more people can enjoy the recognised benefits of Health Enhancing Physical Activity in the outdoors.

Read more about the SEE project partners, approaches and goals

Follow the project updates on Instagram @see_project_eu

Next Workshop: Sustainable Development Goals – What can Protected Areas do?

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On the 28th of October, EUROPARC will organise a workshop within the SDGimp project. In 90 minutes we will look at the results of the project and how Protected Areas can support the Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The Erasmus+ Project “SDGimpDecision support system for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Protected Areas” has looked closely at how Protected Areas can implement and support these Goals.

This participatory workshop will present the results of the Erasmus project and allows you to discover what your Protected Area can do to make these goals a reality.

SDGimp has created a quality learning system and decision support materials for Protected Area administrations, regional stakeholders and entrepreneurs that will support decision making capacities and will promote the implementation of SDGs.

The workshop will take us on a short 90 minute journey as we explore the learning material and consider together how Protected Areas can be drivers of SDG implementation for a better and more sustainable future. Registration is now open!

REGISTER HERE

Workshop Programme

28th of October, 15:00 CET – online

Welcome and introduction to the programme
Esther Bossink, Communication Officer at the EUROPARC Federation.

Results from the SDGimp project
Mathias Christoph, researcher at the Institute for Rural Development Research.

A fly through of the website
Mathias Christoph.

Get to know the modules
In breakout rooms, participants will have to chance to get an in-depth look at different modules and provide feedback.
Mathias Christoph and Ulrich Gehrlein, Head of the Department for “Regional Development, Innovation Support Service, and Protected Areas” at the Institute for Rural Development Research.

Small pause

Feedback session
What did we learn about SDGs and what was discussed in the groups?

What’s the role of Protected Areas?
In breakout rooms, participants will discuss what their Protected Area is already doing, or what more can be done.

End of the workshop

Erasmus+ logo

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission Erasmus+ funding line. This workshop reflects the view only of the author and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

EUROPARC’s General Assembly 2021 Recap

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On the 5th of October, EUROPARC’s General Assembly took place online. This year, amongst other things, a new council was elected and members voted on the new EUROPARC Strategy.

A new EUROPARC Council

After 7 years of service, we said goodbye to Ignace Schops as EUROPARC President. He served two mandates, and as such was no longer eligible to serve as president. Additionally, the current EUROPARC Council was released of their duties, as, after 3 years, a new council has to be elected. Of course, even in an online setting we could not just let this moment go by quietly. Together we looked back on 7 years of dedication from our President and Council members:

However, it was now up to our membership to choose a new President and Council. There were 10 excellent candidates to choose from, but only 7 positions were available (including one for president). These are the newly elected EUROPARC Council and President:

Michael Hošek (CZ) – EUROPARC President

Michael Hošek

Michael Hošek has worked in the field of nature conservation for more than 20 years (for the Czech Nature Conservation Agency, Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic, private consultancy in natural resources use), and in the period 2014-2021 fulfilled the role of EUROPARC vice president. Currently, he is working as a project manager at the Krkonoše Mountains National Park. He also has a wealth of experience working for international nature conservation organizations. He was a member of the IUCN Council representing East Europe, North and Central Asia during the 2012 – 2016 and 2016-2021 periods. Additionally, he is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.

 

Leelo Kukk (EE) – EUROPARC Council

Leelo Kukk

Leelo is the Deputy Director General of the Estonian Environmental Board (Keskkonnaamet). She is a biologist with long-time experience in nature conservation on governmental, national and international level. She started her career in the field of fisheries and restoration of rivers and after that worked at an organisation responsible for governance and management of Protected Areas and species all over Estonia. Over all, she has over 25 years of working-experience. In her long career, she has been in contact with EUROPARC on many occasions, for example through the Europarc Nordic-Baltic Section, and the EUROPARC Junior Ranger Programme.

Dominique Lévêque (FR) – EUROPARC Council

Dominique Leveque

Dominique has served on the EUROPARC Council before, from 2011 to 2017. Currently, he is president of the Parc Naturel Regional de la Montagne de Reims and Mayor of Ay-Champagne, which is located in the Regional Nature Park. Apart from his function as president, he is also currently the Treasurer of the French Federation of Nature Regional Parks. Here he served as Vice-President until 2020 and was in charge of European and International Affairs. Dominique was also a alternative member of the Committee of the Regions and is currently an alternative member to the Council of Europe.

Marta Múgica (ES) – EUROPARC Council

Marta Múgica

For many, Marta will not be a stranger: she has been involved with the Federation since 1995. During this time, she has had different roles: from involving EUROPARC’s Spanish members in the beginnings of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, participating actively in EUROPARC Conferences workshops and representing the EUROPARC Sections as a co-opted member of the EUROPARC Council. Marta has a PhD in Ecology and is the director of Fungobe. She has a strong interest in the connections between Nature and Humans and has experience in working with public administrations, networking, design, coordination and development of projects related to climate change adaption, ecological connections, social perception and environmental education.

Pete Rawcliffe (UK) – EUROPARC Council

Pete Rawcliffe

Pete was already on the previous EUROPARC Council and also chairs our Healthy Parks Healthy People Commission. Additionally, he is a member of the IUCN specialist group on health and part of the current working group on COVID19 and Protected Areas. He has over 25 years of working experience and comes from a background of academic qualifications in the environmental and political sciences (BSc and PhD), consultancy work on planning, transport and conservation policy, and environmental education. Currently, he is the Head of People and Places for NatureScot – the national nature agency for Scotland (formerly known as Scottish Natural Heritage).

Stefano Santi (IT) – EUROPARC Council

Stefano Santi

Apart from being a newly elected council member, Stefano is also the current co-chair of the EUROPARC Transboundary Cooperation Task force. He was actively involved in this programme during his time as coordinator and director of the Prealpi Giulie / Julian Prealps Nature Park. He was dedicated to improving the cooperation between the the Park in Italy and the Triglav National Park in Slovenia, which resulted in them becoming a EUROPARC Transboundary Park in 2009. The Parks were also the first Transboundary area to become part of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism. Apart from his cross-bordering work, Stefano is also a strong supporter of youth involvement and helped create the Youth Advisory Board at the Julian Prealps. He also actively worked on establishing sustainable agricultural practices in the park. Currently, Stefano represents the Association “Italian Network of the European Green Belt”.

Hendrik Oosterveld (NL) – EUROPARC Council

Hendrik Oosterveld

Hendrik has a wealth of experience with Parks and Protected Areas, both in his professional career, and as a volunteer. He has chaired different organisations, like the Dutch National Park Foundation, EUROPARC’s Low Countries Section & the EUROPARC Conference Netherlands 2021 Foundation (postponed to 2023). He worked for 38 years at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries/Food Quality in the Netherlands. Here he achieved a breakthrough in establishing the urban-landscapes vision of the ministry and integrating it better within the wider society. Hendrik was active in a number of Protected Areas during his career. For his work in the Waddensea area he was awarded a Silver Medal of Honour, in particularly for the special efforts in acquiring the UNESCO World Heritage status for the area. Additionally, he was a driving force behind the designation of the Drentsche Aa National Park. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Area Charity Fund at National Park Drentsche Aa.

EUROPARC congratulates the newly elected council. A new internal auditor was also elected: Michael Jungmeier will take over from Roger de Freitas. Michael is the founder of E.C.O. In 2021 he successfully handed over the management, left the company and is now devoting himself entirely to his UNESCO chair ‘Sustainable Management of Conservation Areas’ (MCA) at the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences.

The new Council will now work on finding the right co-opted members (5 in total). Nikos Pangas of the Philodassiki Society in Athens will take on the role of Periurban representative. A decision is still to be made on the youth and sections representatives. More info will soon follow!

The council has already made a decision on a Treasurer: former EUROPARC treasurer Paolo Castro will continue this role for one more year.

A new EUROPARC Strategy

Another important development was voted upon during the General Assembly: the new EUROPARC Strategy to 2030. Our current strategy is coming to an end this year. This is why we started the process of developing a new strategy in 2020. Through meetings with our members, section representatives and a special survey, the so-called “Drafters” created a new and bold EUROPARC Strategy. The strategy contains four strategic goals:

  • Strengthen and grow our network to deliver our vision.
  • Strengthen the status of Protected Areas for a stronger, more sustainable nature.
  • Enhance the status of nature on land and sea an people’s connection to it.
  • Promote sustainable development tools and approaches for people and nature.

Each of the strategic goals is subdivided into themes, that each have multiple desired outcomes. We welcome you to have a look at the final product, available in English, French and German:

English – EUROPARC Strategy to 2030

French – EUROPARC Strategy to 2030

German – EUROPARC Strategy to 2030

Any other business…

Of course, the membership also voted on “regular” EUROPARC documents, like the financial report and the directorates report. Additionally, a small increase in membership fees was agreed upon by the membership. The minutes of the General Assembly are currently getting translated and will soon be uploaded to the members area of our website.

The EUROPARC Directorate is looking forward to this new chapter and we will continue working on our vision: Sustainable Nature, Valued by People.

Invitation to tender: External Service Contract for creation of the European Nature Academy training hub & tools

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This call for tenders (External Service Contract for creation of the European Nature Academy training hub & tools) is issued within the scope of the LIFE Preparatory Project, LIFE ENABLE: Creating the European Nature Academy for Applied Blended Learning

For the purposes of this tender, acting on behalf of the project partners, the contracting authority is the EUROPARC Federation. 

Procurement – External Service Contract for creation of the European Nature Academy training hub & tools

The contracting authority is looking to engage with an experienced external service provider to create the European Nature Academy training hub and associated tools. The training hub and tools will function as the project’s digital online platform and portal.

This external technical assistance contract requires the following three main deliverables:

  • The creation of a new online learning platform (the European Nature Academy’s training hub);
  • The migration of content (a mix of learning materials, tailor-made videos and recordings and presentations) from the existing Moodles and other online sources which will be adapted to fit the new online platform;
  • The further technical development of new functions to be made available through the existing eNatura2000 smartphone app.

The project requires a technical development contractor who is innovative, solution-oriented and able to think with partners. Of course, it is essential that the contractor is fully competent in the necessary technical development services but, equally, is able to anticipate and incorporate advanced new technologies.

Previous experience of delivering similar work as an external service contractor within the scope of an EU funded project would be an advantage. Furthermore, those bidding for this contract should be able to demonstrate familiarity with EU funded project terms and conditions. In addition, the product must be maintained for a minimum of 5 years post project end (i.e., from July 2024).

Indicatively, the maximum value of this contract is €84,000 in gross, inclusive of VAT.

Bids must be submitted in English. Organisations submitting a tender will be expected to set out how they will deliver the contract effectively and efficiently and demonstrate relevant technical knowledge, skills, and experience.

The bids must be submitted in the required format and received by 23.59 on 1 November 2021.

Download the detailed procurement call

LIFE ENABLE Invitation to Tender_External Service Contract for creation of the ENA training hub and tools