A year in the life of LIFE.edu

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On the 30th of January 2020, the first online meeting in the LIFE e-Natura2000.edu project took place. How did this strange year fare for the project?

Article issued by Neil McIntosh, LIFE e-Natura2000.edu project leader for EUROPARC

One year ago, on 30 January 2020, EUROPARC launched our LIFEedu course, ‘Competent Inclusive Communication’. Part of the LIFEe-Natura2000.edu preparatory project, twenty-three Natura 2000 managers from 19 countries were introduced to the course and each other in our first ‘Zebinar’, our name for a ZOOM webinar.

Excitement, mixed with a few nerves and perhaps a little bit of trepidation! Who else is in our group? What will be involved? How will ‘blended learning’ work? What lies ahead?

No one could have predicted how much our lives would change. Life as we knew it were about to change, perhaps for ever. Daily routines in work and at home were turned upside down. Nothing stayed the same.

Yet, our group and their peers in two other LIFEedu groups in Spain and Romania, rose to the challenge.

EUROPARC Team members Fernando Pinillos, Teresa Pastor and Neil McIntosh gather in Colserolla, January 2020, to shoot the LIFEedu film materials.

The course as an anchor

In a radically altered world, it was as if the courses and the structured routine of meeting with colleagues across Europe became a lifeline. LIFEedu gave them an ‘out’, something for themselves and their co-learners: our groups of participants took comfort from the fact that they were not alone. The courses inspired new ideas. Learning creatively together gave each person an alternative, something to focus on other than the trials of new realities.

Throughout the course, EUROPARC’s group has repeatedly expressed their appreciation for the new learning opportunities and their online contacts.

For project partners and participants alike, the experience gains from the project are certain to leave a lasting legacy. The need for and value of the online (net-) working and practical capacity building for nature managers have demonstrated that, without doubt, blended learning is here to stay.

The eNatura2000 app!

Within the project, an app was developed to provide a place for Natura2000 managers to connect, learn and discuss, wherever, whenever.

The app is available on Google Play and App Store!

With eNatura2000, users will be able to discuss issues and difficulties that arise in the management of Natura 2000 lands, and get inspired by existing best practices and solutions. Developed by EUROPARC with 5 partner organisations from around Europe, this practical tool will make networking across regions, countries, and land types for Natura2000 managers easy and enjoyable.