Register now: Siggen Seminar 2023 on Innovative Financing

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The Siggen Seminar is EUROPARC’s annual free of charge training event for members, made possible through the generous support of the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung.

Parks Unlocked; Innovative Financing to Transform Parks across Europe.

Every year Alfred Toepfer Stiftung generously hosts EUROPARC members, in their excellent centre in Gut Siggen, North Germany. Here, we enjoy an intense and practically orientated seminar, examining and sharing expertise in a given aspect of Protected Areas work. You can find previous Siggen Seminars here.

This year, we will be taking a deep dive into models that attract private finance to unlock and drive nature restoration at scale. In particular, looking at the role Parks can play in building the market for investing in Europe’s natural capital. Let’s ensure Parks across Europe are investable and can take advantage of that €billion opportunity!

We will examine real life, real time examples from across Europe, identifying the requirements and changes needed in Protected Area network management, that will attract investmentWe will engage in a collective dialogue that will help us look at the current context, in order to transform ideas into specific actions needed to achieve the 30% target of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

Attendees need to be in position where they can provide input to scale up nature restoration plans in their region, territory, and country!

The seminar will also be looking at the creation of a scoping project, to develop a feasibility study and tested model, to indicate how such financing can be identified and utilised and what conditions are required to be in place, by Protected Area networks, to attract successful investment. We will be seeking partners to join this project, so interested parties are also encouraged to join the seminar.

The seminar is FREE to EUROPARC members. Participants are only asked to cover travel costs to Siggen.

Please note, that due to limited space, a selection will be made: do not book your travels until we have confirmed your participation.

Register now: Siggen Seminar 2023 on Innovative Financing. Deadline for registration: 01/03/2023

Register here!

Practical information

The Siggen Seminar Center belongs to the Alfred Toepfer Foundation and lies on the north-eastern coast of Germany in the county of Holstein. It is a 20 minute taxi ride from the nearest train station, Oldenburg (Holst), and a five-minute bike-ride to the nearest beach.

Please contact EUROPARC with any questions you might have and download the pdf Directions to Siggen to learn how you can easily reach it by plane, train or car.

Location: Gut Siggen Seminar Center 23777 Heringsdorf, Germany

Please remember that you will be notified if you have been selected for the seminar. Do not book your transportation until you’ve received our confirmation.

How much does it cost?

The annual Siggen seminar is FREE for members of the EUROPARC Federation (meals and accommodation included). Participants ONLY have to cover their own travel costs to and from the event.

Meet Pensión Candelaria – Star Award winner 2022!

Pensión Candelaria receives the Star Award at the European Parliament in Brussels.

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The Star Awards are the Sustainable Tourism Business Awards, meant to recognise the efforts of busineses towards creating Sustainable Tourism.

Pensión Candelaria – talking the talk!

Travel notes, Pensión Candelaria

The International Jury awarded the accommodation Pensión Candelaria from La Gomera in the ‘Communicating the values of my Park and Business’ Category. Despite being a small company, they are very active leading, cooperating and communicating about actions and projects linked to environmental problems on the island. This ranges from fires, reforestation, carbon footprint compensation to beach cleaning. 

Pensión Candelaria is our second winner from the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in La Gomera. The staff puts great care into promoting the natural values of the area to their visitors, particular to German tourists.

Through the Facebook group “La Gomera Insider – Inselnachrichten”, the Director of Candelaria, Carol Gewetzki, sends out information of interest related to the island, Valle Gran Rey and the Garajonay National Park. Through the project “Travel Notes: Stories and Legends”, Carol also compiled information of each of the municipalities of the area in a travel notebook format. In these little books, the joint history is told to allow tourists to get to know the area. Furthermore, she designed a guide on the National Park Garajonay with little known places and information about the Park.

Plantation activities

However, the Pensión Candelaria does not just tell the story of the area, they also help maintain it! The staff are active collaborators in the Plántate project. This participatory project promotes the reforestation of thermophilic forests in La Gomera. They also offer customers the possibility to offset their carbon footprint locally, either through participating in the plantation efforts, or by giving a direct financial contribution to the project. Furthermore, the staff actively promotes other sustainability activities like beach cleaning to its guests and travellers, mainly those who speak German.

They frequently communicate with staff from the National Park and the accommodation actively promotes them by making all the brochures and maps available to its customers. To further their sustainability efforts, Candelaria actively promotes walking routes that can be reached from the accommodation, to reduce the usage of private vehicles.

Congratulations on these great achievements!

Meet Star Award winner Hotel Gran Rey!

Hotel Gran Rey receives the Star Award in Brussels

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The International Jury awarded the Hotel Gran Rey (ES) from La Gomera in the ‘Reducing impacts on the environment’ category. The Hotel has done a very good and well documented job of implementing different measures to reduce water and electricity consumption, recycle and reduce packaging.

Hosting people, the eco-friendly way

View from Hotel Gran Rey

Hotel Gran Rey offers a sustainable place to stay, for all those that want to enjoy a natural holiday. The hotel was created with the philosophy of integrating into the environment. It is located in a landscape formed by steep cliffs, palm groves, springs, and farmhouses. The hotel has eliminated all exotic plants in their landscaped garden and replaced them by native species. It belongs to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in La Gomera since 2011, and as such, works closely together with the Garajonay National Park.

The staff actively promotes the National Park and pictures of the area decorate the rooms, all aimed at making their visitors aware of the rich natural area they are visiting.

Furthermore, their vegetable garden wants to rescue agricultural varieties that could disappear and recover the soil. Of course, the harvest of the vegetable garden then ends up on the plates of the restaurant that is part of the hotel, effectively creating 0 km produce. They work with local suppliers for anything they cannot grow on their own.

Hotel Gran Rey in the landscape

The hotel also actively works on reducing its energy needs, for example through using energy efficient LED lights, and helps remind their visitors to support them in this goal. They have also installed solar panels and renewable energy now makes up 37% of the total energy consumption. Furthermore, Hotel Gran Rey is very conscious about its water-usage: they use drip-irrigation in the gardens and have installed flow restrictors on the taps in the rooms.

All these efforts have resulted in different prizes and certifications. Now, they can add the EUROPARC STAR Award winner to the list!

The Star Awards are EUROPARC’s recognition for the work done by sustainable tourism businesses and operators that are part of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism.

Save these dates in 2023!

National Park Nieuweland, Oostvaardersplassen, Netherlands - a field trip a the Conference in 2023!

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2023 marks the 50-year Anniversary of the EUROPARC Federation! There will be amble opportunity to celebrate with us, both on and offline! Keep on reading to discover some events in 2023 that you should already mark in your calendar.

What is happening in 2023?

As always, the answer is: loads! As we hit our 50-Year milestone, EUROPARC looks forward to celebrating with its members. We will soon start collecting video messages, where our members can detail what the EUROPARC Federation means to them. After all, it is our members, that make up the organisation!

However, there are many more exciting things happening… For example, in March, the first course of the LIFE ENABLE project will start. 60 participants will get to learn and work with the European Nature Academy for the first time. Furthermore, the LIFE Natur’Adapt and LIFE UrbanGreeningPlans projects are coming to an end in the first half of the year and the results will be widely distributed, watch this space!

Now, get out your calendars…

14 – 15 March: LIFE UrbanGreeningPlans closing conference

The Conference, titled “Greening Towards Urban Resilience” is the closing event of the LIFE UrbanGreeningPlans project. It will bring together people from different disciplines to reflect on urban greening, sharing best practice case studies and working towards a common framework. To do so, we will take into account multiple scales and angles. We will consider a wide range of urban ecosystems, from urban forests, parks, blue and green corridors, to others. Furthermore, we will consider the actual contexts of climate change, rapid urbanization and social uncertainty. The Conference is open to all interested, and registration will start in January.

20 – 22 March: EUROPARC Siggen Seminar

The Siggen Seminar is our annual free of charge training event for members at Gut Siggen in Heringsdorf, Germany. This March, under the theme “Parks unlocked; Innovative Financing to Transform Parks across Europe“, we will be taking a deep dive into models that attract private finance. How can these be unlocked and drive nature restoration at scale? What role can Parks play in building the market for investing in Europe’s natural capital? We are looking for attendees who can scale up nature restoration plans in your region, territory and country! Registration will open mid-January.

9 – 12 May: Final Conference of LIFE Natur’Adapt

Climate Change Adaptation will become of increasing importance for nature managers. Anticipating the change that will happen, and how to respond to it, is an essential skill to develop. Over the course of the Natur’Adapt project, a manual on climate change adaptation was produced and tested in 21 sites in France. Now, the project is coming to a close and the results will be presented during this final conference in Nime, France. The event will be in French and is open to all interested.

16 – 19 May: ECST Meeting

After a COVID-19 induced hiatus, the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism meeting is back! Sustainable Tourism experts will meet in Triglav National Park, Slovenia, to discuss, exchange and learn from each other. Learn more about previous ECST meetings here and for now: save the date!

24th of May: European Day of Parks

This year, we are ‘Building on our Roots‘! We invite Parks and Protected Areas to explore the idea of the heritage you have. This can both be the natural heritage you protect, but also the heritage of your organisation. Together, let’s raise awareness about the responsibility we have to keep this natural and cultural heritage for future generations, and discover how we can build upon it! We especially invite Parks to already think of activities that help our natural heritage flourish, like tree planing activities, a clean-up day or removal of invasive species.

20 – 23 June: TransParcNet Meeting

EUROPARC’s TransParcNet will meet in the Maas-Schwalm-Nette Nature Park in The Netherlands / Germany! The focus of this year’s meeting will be on the response to natural disasters in border areas.

7 – 14 July: 19th International Junior Ranger Camp

Exciting news for all those with Junior Ranger Programmes! Next year’s International Junior Ranger Camp is kindly hosted by Frederikshavn and spearheaded by Bo Storm. The Junior Rangers will experience nature conservation and management of ocean and coastal Protected Areas up at the tip of Denmark, from the 7th until the 14th of July.

3 – 6 October: EUROPARC Conference

Get ready to celebrate EUROPARC’s 50-Year Anniversary in style! This year’s EUROPARC Conference is taking place in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, where we will pay “Tribute to the Landscape“. We will celebrate the beauty and diversity of the versatile European natural and cultural landscapes. Humans have had an impact on the European landscape for centuries. This has created some of our most iconic landscapes, however it has also resulted in dis-harmony between people and nature. This EUROPARC Conference wants to help participants discover how we can connect people and nature, in order to find long-term harmony. Registration will open in April.

What is happening in Brussels?

The European Commission declared 2023 the ‘European Year of Skills‘. Of course, sharpening the skills of Protected Area professionals, is something EUROPARC continues to work on in 2023. However, this year will also be a big policy year.

In 2022 the European Commission published the proposal for the Nature Restoration Law. Now, it’s up to the other EU institutions to comment and amend this proposal. Furthermore, the EU institutions have agreed that, despite adverse geopolitical circumstances, the implementation of the EU Green Deal will be a top priority in the coming year.

Furthermore, 2023 will also be the year to start preparing for the European Parliament elections 2024. We all need to act to push all candidates to continue the Green Deal with the future Parliament and the future Commission.

As can be expected, EUROPARC will closely follow the developments around the Nature Restoration Law and the EU Green Deal. Updates will be shared constantly on our social media en E-News, so be sure to follow along!