Hear from Jorge Bonache: Participant in LIFE e-Natura2000.edu

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In March 2020 the second course of the LIFE e-Natura 2000.edu project started: “Building alliances for Natura 2000 Management”, which was led by Fungobe and EUROPARC Spain. Here you can read the experience of participant Jorge Bonache from the Spanish National Park Agency.

The course

LIFE e-Natura 2000.edu set out to build capacity through innovative learning tools. This innovative three-year project explores the potential of building new approaches and learning methods to improve knowledge and capacity amongst Natura 2000 Managers in both public and private land, across the EU. Taking a competence-based approach, it wants to enable peers to connect and learn about what managers need to know and be able to do. The project is led by EUROPARC, with the support of six partners.

As we are slowly reaching the end of the project, we want to highlight some of the experiences the participants have made. We already published a small recap written by project leader Neil McIntosh, who took us through the strange year of 2020 and how the EUROPARC led course “Competent Inclusive Communication” fared. We also already heard from  biologist Irene Estévez who followed the Fungobe and EUROPARC Spain led Course II “Building alliances for Natura 2000 Management”. Jorge Bonache participated in the same course and has taken the time to tell us about his experience. You can read it here:

A National Parks perspective

“My name is Jorge Bonache, I have a degree in Environmental Sciences and I have been working for the Spanish National Parks Agency (Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge) since 2003, first as a manager in Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park and then in Cabañeros National Park. Since 2012 I work in the central services of the agency in Madrid. All Spanish national parks are included in Natura 2000.

In all these years I have played different roles related to the management of protected areas: conservation, monitoring, GIS, remote sensing, public use management, coordination of work groups, participation and environmental education, planning…  Within the course on “Alliances for Natura 2000” I had the opportunity to present an initiative in which I participated when I was working in the Atlantic Islands National Park — the project called “Islands without rubbish bins“. It was developed by the national park in close coordination with multiple entities with the objective of removing the enormous number of rubbish containers in the National Park, so that visitors were responsible for the waste they generated, with the benefits that this entailed for conservation and environmental awareness.

One of my professional challenges is to get involved in more projects related to participation and governance. I believe that both participation and governance, and communication as well, play a key role for the management of protected areas. And I am aware that I have still a lot to learn about these matters, which was one of the main reasons why I decided to participate in the course.

All in all, I can say that the course has been truly useful and motivating for me.

All the key aspects have been dealt with in a practical and organised way, the reading materials were well chosen, the tutorial videos summarized very well the substantial issues and the discussion forums with the participants, some of them with a lot of experience in the field, were very rewarding. The acquired knowledge will for sure be useful for my professional future. In this way, it is just a pleasure to learn.”

The eNatura2000 app

Within the project an app was developed to help Natura2000 managers and other nature professionals learn, discuss and connect together. 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.

The digital tool will help Natura 2000 managers identify issues, solve common problems that they face, communicate with each other directly, as well as learn about their professional development needs: for example, the App will act as a portal to a new online Natura 2000 Training Need Assessment (TNA) tool, and provide a variety of other useful resources on the projects webpages. For more information on the app, go here.