Meet our new Youth Representative: Leonardo Cerno!

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The EUROPARC Youth Representative is a co-opted member of the EUROPARC Council. They will provide support and bring extra insight on youth related matters relevant to the work of Protected Areas.

At the end of 2021, EUROPARC started to process of finding a new youth representative. We received many applications from motivated young (<30) people all over Europe. All applications were then assessed by members of our Council and short listed candidates were interviewed last week. Now, we are happy to announce that Leonardo Cerno (27) from Italy will be the new Youth Representative until October 2024!

Who is Leonardo?

Leonardo is no stranger to EUROPARC. In fact, we asked him some questions in 2019 for the European Youth Week. He has lived on the border of the Italian Julian Prealps Nature Park his entire live. From 2007, he was active in the Park’s Junior Ranger Programme, both as a member and mentor. Leonardo also supported the implementation of the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto through the creation of the Youth Advisory Board.

His many years of experience have allowed him to develop a big network of young people around Europe, both in and outside of Protected Areas. Apart from being active in the youth groups of Prealpi Giulie, Leonardo has managed to turn his passion for nature into his job. Currently, he works as self-employed nature guide and as a park guide in the Julian Prealps.

All these things made the council decide that Leonardo would be the right person for the position.

As the Youth Representative at the EUROPARC Council, he wants to make sure other young people in Europe get the same great opportunities he had while growing up. He states: “Getting this news has really been a great moment for me. I grew up through EUROPARC youth programs and they gave a lot to me, I think they actually made a part of whom I am today. So now I’m more than pleased to get the opportunity to give back some of the knowledge and experience I gathered during these years.

I truly hope that every young person across Europe can get the same opportunities I had growing up, and I want to be part of the process of helping them to transform into something better.

I can’t wait to meet the members of the council and start working with them!”. Likewise, EUROPARC’s Council Members state:

We are happy Leonardo will be part of the EUROPARC Council. He’s a great example of the effectiveness of youth programmes in Protected Areas. We look forward to working together with him in the upcoming years.

The jury wants to thank all that applied for the position. All candidates showed commitment, interest and passion, which made the decision a hard one to make.