On the shoulders of Giants.

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It was with great sadness that EUROPARC learned of the death of Gordon Miller, founding father of the International Ranger Federation and Alfred Toepfer Medal winner.

Gordon had a long career as a Ranger in the Peak District National Park from the last 1960’s. An inveterate traveller, it was this, combined with his love of exploring and connecting people that developed into the vision of global organisation that would unite and represent Rangers on the world stage.

On a boat trip on Loch Lomond in Scotland, during the Scottish Rangers Association conference, in discussion with Rangers from the USA, England, Scotland and others, led the following year to the formal inauguration of the International Ranger Federation (IRF) which later inspired the Thin Green Line Foundations.

Our Executive Director remains proud to have been “in the room where it happened” on that very boat. It was a year later on 31st July 1992 that Gordon’s dream was realised and those first 3 Ranger Associations signed an accord in the Peak District National Park, that formed the International Rangers Federation.

World Ranger Day continues to be celebrated on July 31st as a result.

EUROPARC honoured Gordon with the Alfred Toepfer Award in 2009, for his outstanding achievements and EUROPARC continues with a Memorandum of Understanding between our two organisations.

Gordon remained a tireless advocate and supporter of the World Ranger family, well beyond his retirement.

His nurturing of Ranger Associations has enabled the International Ranger Federation not just be globally represented but has ensured too that national Ranger Services are given the due recognition of the important nature conservation and protection, environmental education and community engagement work they undertake.

A quiet and unassuming man, with a “pun” for every occasion, he will be missed by the Ranger community worldwide. But his legacy will live on, the IRF will continue to grow and build as a younger generation of Rangers take up the helm in the knowledge that the stand on the Shoulder of a Giant.

EUROPARC sends our condolences to Gordon’s family and friends.


You can see Gordon’s interview from 2021 herePeak District National Park 70th Anniversary
Matt Baker’s interview with legendary ranger Gordon Miller

LIFE ENABLE featured in “Foresta” magazine

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You can now read about the LIFE ENABLE project in Foresta magazine. 

The article about the LIFE ENABLE project “Knowledge, skills and attitudes for the management of Protected Areas” (Conocimientos, habilidades y actitudes para la gestión de las áreas protegidas) has been featured in the Foresta magazine. 

This article starts with an overview on how the evolution of Protected Areas, the increasing involvement of the social component and the changing environmental conservation strategies and political agendas in Europe, make the management of these spaces a complex and dynamic occupation that requires sound technical, interpersonal and organisational skills and attitudes. Focusing on the Spanish context, the article provides a summary of some of the challenges and the competencies that the managers of Natura 2000 sites and Protected Areas, as well as other professionals dedicated to nature conservation, must have in order to efficiently succeed at their work. Additionally, information on capacity building initiatives for Natura 2000 and Protected Area managers, such as the past project LIFE eNatura2000.edu and the current LIFE ENABLE, both lead by EUROPARC Federation in coordination with EUROPARC Spain, are provided.

You can download the article which is available in Spanish here.

Conocimientos, habilidades y actitudes para la gestión de las áreas protegidas

The entire Foresta magazine is accessible on this website.

Feliz lectura!

European Day of Parks 2023: Discover what is happening across Europe!

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In 2023, Parks and Protected Areas across Europe are “Building on our Roots”! Discover what is happening across Europe for this year’s European Day of Parks. 

Building on our Roots

This year, we want to bring the Protected Area community together to Build on our Roots. EUROPARC invited Parks and Protected Areas to explore the idea of the heritage they have. Both to the natural heritage our Parks protect, but also the heritage of all these organisations across Europe. This European Day of Parks we 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!

Many Protected Areas responded to this call and over 140 events have already been registered on our website:

Discover all events

Our Parks and Protected Areas are essential in safekeeping the natural heritage we have. Moreover, we will need to build upon them by restoring and creating more, better connected green spaces to adequately respond to the climate and biodiversity crises. After all, our natural heritage encapsulates our identity. As such, we all have the shared responsibility and joy to maintain this heritage for future generations. This is exactly what we want to celebrate this European Day of Parks!

There is a high diversity of events happening across Europe. Keep on reading to discover some wonderful actions our network has planned.

We want to thank all Parks and Protected Areas in Europe that are making this European Day of Parks a success!

Landscapes full of superheroes in Austria

Insects are the tiny superheroes of our ecosystems! To celebrate them and raise awareness on all they do, Naturpark Sparbach has invited school children to the Park and learn about the tiny creatures that live there. Learn more.

Discovering Vjosa River’s Flag Species in Albania

EcoAlbania and US Forest Service, in collaboration with a local school, are organizing an educational activity to celebrate the European Day of Parks and discover the Vjosa River’s Flag Species. During the activity, participants will receive a list of flag/keystone species that are characteristic of Vjosa River’s ecosystems. Each student will be assigned one species to learn about its ecology, morphology, and lifecycle. Prior to the exercise, materials will be distributed to the participants, including an image of the species and the ecology. This activity will allow students to learn about the unique species and identity of the Vjosa River and promote the importance of protecting its biodiversity. Learn more here.

Grafting onto the ancient roots of Foreste Casentinesi National Park in Italy

Building on our Roots also means we have to include young people in nature conservation! On the occasion of the European Day of Parks, young students of several universities will have an open meeting in one of the most important places of the Park (the Lama Forest), to discover, with the managers of the National Park, the history of nature conservation in this territory in the last 1000 years. On the same day, the Park will say goodbye to the civil service volunteers of the park who are ending their annual period of service, and we will welcome the 4 young people who will replace them for a new year full of commitment to nature.

Celebrating three generations of nature enthusiasts in The Netherlands

EDoP in the Netherlands, picture by Andre Brasse

The National Parks of The Netherlands, hosts of the EUROPARC Conference 2023, have created a photo series highlighting three generations in different National Parks, each with their own unique story. They talk about their deep bond with the National Park. Meet a nature lover who was born and raised in the area and now passionately imparts all of his knowledge as a naturalist guide. Be inspired by a determined entrepreneur who shares her vision about creating a balance between recreation, agriculture and nature in the park. Meet a proud farmer who, with his family business, contributes to a harmonious collaboration between man and nature. Or step into the world of a studious Junior Ranger, who tells with a broad smile about the discoveries she makes in the National Park together with other young people. Learn more here.

Learn about Xerogardening in Spain

Spain the absolute front-runner in events organised! The Protected Areas of Spain are going all out this European Day of Parks, with many activities organised throughout the country. This event in the Sierras Subbeticas Global Geopark brings nature conservation right into the backyard’s of people! The aim of this Xerogardening workshop is to educate that home gardens also have room for the native species of the typical ecosystems of Andalusia.  Learn more here.

Interprative walk in Pateira de Frossos in Portugal

Pateira de Frossos is a wetland habitat located in the central coastal area of Portugal. The strong seasonality and relevant biodiversity present in Pateira de Frossos mark a complex and delicate ecosystem, subject to different pressures and threats, which justified its protection. In this wetland area, there is a nature trail (PR4-ABL) that begins and ends in the centre of Frossos town and takes participants through Pateira de Frossos and some historic and cultural sites. In this activity, the participants will be accompanied by a biologist while enjoying a nature walk in this Protected Area. Learn more here.

European Day of Parks meets the Nature Park Hiking Day in Germany

The Nature Parks Hiking Day, organised by the Verein Deutsche Naturparke is taking place within the framework of the European Day of Parks this year. The “Nature Park Hiking Day” focuses on the shared experience of nature and the happiness of experiencing nature with all your senses. Numerous adventure tours are accompanied by expert guides – so in addition to providing information, fun, knowledge and enjoyment of nature are not neglected. All information in the map.

Building on the Roots of Retezat National Park in Romania

For the European Day of Parks Retezat National Park will organize two events that emphasize the importance of preserving the Park’s natural resources and cultural heritage of its communities. The Parks wants to raise awareness of the need for conservation efforts and inspire visitors to become advocates for the Park’s future. More information here.

Finding Hidden stream-dwelling creatures at Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate

Finding Hidden stream-dwelling creatures at Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate

Discovering hidden stream-dwelling creatures in Hungary

The Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate is organising an interactive, playful walks focus on detecting the wildlife that can be seen in the environment and leave their mark. The trail introduces indicators of the cleanliness and pollution of our streams. Learn more here.

Learning about Polish konik horses through art in the Roztocze National Park in Poland

An educational workshop for preschoolers inspired by the breeding of the Polish Konik in the Roztocze National Park. During the workshop, children will create together an image of a Polish Konik. The installation will be made of a thousand wooden square pieces in different colours which will be magnetically attached to the board. Thanks to the installation, children will learn the most important facts about the Polish Konik, alluding to its ancestor, the tarpan – a wild horse that once inhabited the Roztocze primeval forest. All information here.

Join the traditional craft of drystone walling in Yorkshire Dales National Park in the UK

Humans have lived in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for more than 12,000 years. Their activity shaped the valleys, rivers and hills, creating the pattern of villages, farmsteads, pastures, meadows and moorlands that we see today. Remains from history survive because of pastoral farming in the last 300 years, including the amazing pattern of isolated farm buildings and dry stone walls. Join Dales Volunteers as they showcase the traditional craft of drystone walling and explain the construction of this iconic feature of the National Park landscape. All information here.

Are you organising an event? Then do share your pictures or videos with us!

Join the conversation

This is just a very small collection of what is happening across Europe. Do you want to join in on the conversation online? Then just access the official banner here that has been translated in many languages! Do not forget to tag EUROPARC and use the #EuropeanDayOfParks and #EDoP2023!

Get the banner here!

LIFE ENABLE – featured in “Being close – News from the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation”

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An article about the LIFE ENABLE project is now available in Being close – News from the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation (nah dran sein – Mitteilungen aus der Alfred Toepfer Akademie für Naturschutz).

Learn more about LIFE ENABLE & European Nature Academy

Don’t miss a chance to get insight into the LIFE ENABLE project and European Nature Academy – a new and innovative tailor-made training hub designed to help managers achieve their goals and priorities for nature.

You will also have an opportunity to see our first intake of participants, who are now progressing well on their ENA journey!

                                                       Download your version of Mitteilungen now!
                                                              (Articles available in German & English)

Download Mitteilungen now!

European Nature Academy Induction Meeting

In February,  59 Natura 2000 and Protected Area managers from 24 countries met during the European Nature Academy Induction Meeting in Schneverdingen, Germany.

Take a look at a short video of highlights!

We thank our LIFE ENABLE project partner Alfred Toepfer Akademie für Naturschutz for featuring this story.