Next webinar: Outdoor Sports – Engaging with or using nature?

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EUROPARC’s next webinar will take place on the 27th of April at 11:00 CET. It will look at opportunities and challenges presented to Protected Areas by increasing outdoor sports practice. You can sign up here (it’s free!).

Outdoor Sports and Nature

The connection between outdoor sports and nature seems to be an obvious one, and indeed, through the pandemic more than ever people are drawn to the outdoors. However, just because activities are practiced outside, does not necessarily mean that they are done in harmony with nature.

In some cases, outdoor sports practice can pose additional stress on already fragile habitats and sensitive species.

Protected Areas managers are therefore confronted with the task of minimising the impact of outdoor sports on local fauna and flora, and at the same time, welcoming sport practitioners and other visitors so that more people can enjoy the recognised benefits of Health Enhancing Physical Activity in the outdoors.

Sign up for the webinar here!

In this webinar, we will have the opportunity to hear from Lissa Breugelmans, an avid cyclist, with a Masters in Biology who can share a unique perspective as an outdoor enthusiast and practitioner, who understands the current impacts outdoor activities have on nature.

We will also learn from Daniele Piazza, director of the Dell’Ossola Protected Area about an integrated strategy – involving many different local stakeholders, to minimise and mitigate the effects of outdoor sports in this alpine nature park.

Myles Farnbank, from Wilderness Scotland, will present the Adventure Travel Guide Standard, a useful tool to  institutions, sustainable destinations and training programs, in order to build the capacity of the Outdoor sport sector on the three core responsibilities all trainers should have: Sustainability, Safety, and Quality and Meaning.

Webinar programme

Welcome and introduction to the webinar
By Carol Ritchie, EUROPARC Federation 

Dilemmas for an outdoor enthusiast
By Lissa Breugelmans, Outdoor sports practitioner and employed biologist at an ecological study bureau

The RESICETS project – Park and Outdoor Sports working together to minimise the impact of outdoor activities on wildlife
By Daniele Piazza, director of the Aree Protette dell’Ossola

The Adventure Travel Guide Standard- Showing how the Outdoor Sports sectors values nature though sustainability standards
By Myles Farnbank, Wilderness Scotland guide, fellow of The Royal Geographical Society and a Master Educator of Leave No Trace

The SEE project.  Researching the issues and finding best practice
By Mike McClure, ‎Outdoor Recreation Development Officer, ‎Sport Northern Ireland

Let’s talk about it! All participants will have the opportunity to exchange on the topics discussed and/or to ask questions.

Final remarks and Close
By Noel Doyle, Leave No Trace Ireland

The webinar will last approximately 1h 30min and it will be hosted in English. We welcome participants from all across the network and beyond.

Get to know the case study presenters

Lissa Breugelmans

She is a trained ecologist currently working in sustainable forestry, Nature is not only her research subject and office – it’s also her favourite playground. She loves packing her bike with a few essentials and getting out there, enjoying moving through incredible landscapes and admiring biodiversity.  She believes recreational outdoor users and nature protectioners share an awe for the natural world, and can be allies instead of opponents when it comes to preserving it.

Daniele Piazza

Agronomist, with more than 15 years’ experience in Natura 2000 management, planning, environmental assessment and project management both as freelance consultant and civil servant. During the last years he has been involved also in social innovation projects in marginal rural areas, with a focus on the western alpine communities. Since March 2020, he is in charge of the overall and day-to-day management of the Protected Areas of Ossola Management Body.

Myles Farnbank

Myles is an adventure guide, trainer and consultant with more than 30 years of leading clients in many of the world’s wildest places. He has been a lecturer on undergraduate programmes in Adventure Tourism and Marine & Coastal Tourism and a Masters in Ecotourism.  He has had a major role in the creation of The Adventure Travel Guide Standard (ATGS) and lead the team writing the Sustainability section in the 2nd Edition published in Feb 2021.

The SEE project: Training for a more sustainable, respectful and enjoyable outdoor sport experience

This webinar will publicly launch the ERASMUS+ SEE project, in which EUROPARC is one of the partners. Led by Leave No Trace Ireland, ‘SEE’ stands for Sustainability and Environmental Education in Outdoor Sports. The project aims to tackle the un-coordinated approach to the teaching and communication of environmental ethics in the spheres of outdoor sport and recreation.

The SEE project is ultimately about ensuring that outdoor sports are managed sustainably and responsibly in nature, which should enable Protected Areas to build greater confidence and trust to allow increased participation so that more people can enjoy the benefits of outdoor sports.