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Nature for All in Natura 2000 sites of the Eifel - Germany
Vennhochfläche bei Mützenich - DE5403305


Within the project ‘Nature for All in Natura 2000 sites of the Eifel’, eight Natura 2000 sites gained added value thanks to exemplary measures which combined ecology and access to nature for people with impairments. Thanks to the infrastructural measures introduced and information boards, the ecological condition improved and increased awareness of the concept of Natura 2000 sites among visitors and locals was achieved. The construction of a parking lot and toilets for disabled people, resurfacing of the pavement and improvements in information were some of the measures taken.

Since accessibility is essential for 10%, helpful for 30% and comfortable for 100% of the population, the project is mindful of demographic changes and addresses not only disabled people but also elderly persons and families with children. A corresponding marketing concept focusing on accessibility was developed for each Natura 2000 site. It has subsequently been integrated into Eifel’s existing tourism marketing strategies at all levels (local, regional, nationwide). The activities carried out in Eifel’s eight Natura 2000 sites possess a high degree of transferability to other regions in Germany and abroad. Already today the project serves as a role model in North Rhine-Westphalia and is visited regularly by stakeholders from other regions.


Crussol : another look - France
Massifs de Crussol, Soyons, Cornas, Chateaubourg - FR8201662


Video submission: The ‘Pelouses à orchidées et habitats rocheux des massifs de Crussol, Soyons, Cornas et Châteaubourg’ (FR8201662) site is located roughly at the halfway point of the Rhone Valley, at the same latitude as Valence, Ardèche (France), and it covers more than 5.5 km2. Its grassed sections are home to over 40 species of orchids. The purpose of the film is to show the richness and biodiversity of this area from a different angle. Whether flora or the wide variety of wildlife, this film is intended to be an ode to nature without being a specialist film for naturalists. The length of the film is deliberately limited to 26 minutes, in keeping with the attention span of children who are our main target audience.

Distribution: The film is intended to be watched in schools, colleges and high schools, and via media libraries. This type of short educational film is an accessible way to inform all stakeholders on how to approach the complex constraints of a protected natural site. At the first showing, it was an immediate success. We decided to stage a second show, as the 250-seat hall was not large enough. Media library managers were delighted to receive 2 DVD and Blu-Ray copies free of charge to loan out – demand for the film has been very strong. Our objective has been achieved: to show the importance and often hidden riches of this area, despite it being so close and so available to the inhabitants of the metropolitan area of Valence. Cost of the action: €25 000.


Awareness in schools of the ecological wealth of the Natura 2000 site Pic Saint-Loup - France
Pic Saint-Loup - FR9101389


The objective of this action is to make students more aware of the challenges of running a Natura 2000 site and maintaining natural resources. At the end of the activity, each student signs a Charte de l‘écolier (a simplified version of the official Natura 2000 charter) in which each agrees to five actions to help conserve biodiversity and the immediate environment. The first session conducted on-site covered how to observe and classify plant and animal species, human practices and their consequences.

The second session was conducted in the classroom, and involved developing the charter from the information collected. This programme, which is particularly addressed to 8 to 10 year-olds (Cycle 3), was built in association with the education department as part of its partnership with the Communauté de Communes du Grand Pic Saint-Loup.

River Lippe floodplain: living environment brought to life - Germany
Lippeaue zwischen Hangfort und Hamm - DE4213301


The City of Hamm municipality sought to bring together people who could make a difference and help restore the Lippe river floodplain. It was essential that these partners included the local water authority (Lippeverband) and neighbouring local authorities (Kreis Warendorf and Kreis Soest), as well as environmental group ABU. After securing this core partnership, the next step involved reaching out to people – such as farmers and Hamm citizens – who stand to be most affected by any changes to the river.

A series of consultation meetings were organised, where possible options such as reinstating former wetland areas, converting intensive farmland into meadows, reconnecting river sections and improving recreation facilities were discussed. A programme of public events was also planned and delivered. The aim of project has been to improve habitats such as muddy banks, alluvial forests, natural eutrophic lakes, tall herb fringe communities and lowland hay meadows. Several measures have been undertaken to stabilise the populations of highly endangered animal and plant species, such as the bullhead (a fresh water fish), the king fisher and northern crested newt.

©Mares Doru Lucian

The biodiversity of Natura 2000 Upper Tisa and Ronisoara Forest is a great unknown - Romania
Tisa Superioara - ROSCI0251


This site in Romania covers 11 local authorities and takes in several multicultural and multi-ethnic communities on the border with Ukraine. Relations with local people have not always been cordial, due mostly to misunderstandings about the need for biodiversity protection. Many objected, for example, to “someone coming here and forbidding us to work on our land!” Others worried that “if current economic activities are prohibited, will we have to leave the country to become beggars in other countries?”

For these reasons, the association decided to launch an information and awareness-raising campaign targeted at different segments of the local community: economic agents, farmers, forest owners, parent associations, schools and local authorities. Debates, meetings and discussions were then held to understand the importance of biodiversity conservation and improve knowledge on the contribution of protected areas to local economies. Local education institutions have been important partners, and we now have a group of “young ambassadors of Upper Tisa”.

Natura 2000: Walks to discover the most beautiful sites of Wallonie - Belgium
Fagne de Malchamps et de Stoumont - BE33032A0


This project aims to raise public awareness of Natura 2000 in Wallonia, Belgium. Although several Natura 2000 sites are now covered, the first was the ‘Fagne de Malchamps et de Stoumont’ (BE33032A0 and BE33032B0), with its peatbogs, dry and wet heaths and grasslands. ‘Discovery cards’ were used to inform hikers of the importance of this European ecological network, and also to increase appreciation of the wide biological diversity to be found in Wallonia.

Texts and pictures illustrate different species and habitats to be found in Natura 2000 sites, bringing to light the importance of the network and the necessity of protecting and managing these sites effectively. In 2013, some 12 820 Discovery cards for about 21 different walks were distributed. Tranferrable to all Natura 2000 sites in the EU, this original and innovative concept has the potential to be adapted and improved. The cards can be used to highlight the positive impact of Natura 2000, and the habitats that have been restored by LIFE projects co-financed by Europe.

©Jan Kyselka

Rediscovered Steppes of the Louny region - Czech Republic
Raná-Hrádek - CZ0424033


This project focused on promoting and protecting dry grassland habitats in the Louny region of North Bohemia, most particularly SCI Raná-Hrádek and SCI Oblík-Srdov-Brník, both ‘Sites of community importance’. The initiative aimed to communicate the immense value of these Natura 2000 sites and their importance in various ways. For example, information boards have been installed on access paths, and materials (also available in English) distributed through local information centres, on trains and at public events. Field trips to these sites have been organised for the general public, schools, universities and experts, with special attention paid to school children.

In addition to participation in classes, the project also organises an annual art competition with a nature theme (in 2013, some 30 schools and clubs took part). Educational materials are then produced using the best pictures, which gives kids a sense of pride in their work. Good cooperation with local teachers has been established. The biggest event for the general public is the annual ‘Celebration of steppes’, which takes place in May in SCI Raná-Hrádek. Every year more than 1 000 people attend. The project has also had success with seminars such as the recent ‘Pasture as traditional management of steppes’, where practical issues to support farming were addressed.

©Ute Nüsken

Natura 2000 goes to school - Austria
March-Thaya-Auen - AT1202000


Auring, a small society based in Hohenau/March in Lower Austria, offers a number of environmental education projects all year round. One particular project, entitled ‘Natura 2000 goes school’, sought to give both children and adults access to a fascinating Natura 2000 region. The Natura 2000 March-Thaya-Auen site was taken as an example to show how important and vulnerable these regions are. The project, which took place between 2009 and 2011, combined indoor and outdoor days for local primary schools to help increase their knowledge and awareness of this European network.

The project successfully increased enthusiasm for Natura 2000 among children and teachers alike, and kids were able to turn theoretical knowledge about ecology and nature, acquired in class, into tangible first-hand conservation experience. In addition, several times a year the entire population of the region is invited to join field trips and festivals to experience the Natura 2000 site in all its diversity. The project is easily transferable to other regions due to its clear concept; content may vary depending on location, as can the number of participating schools depending on financial resources.

© Naturefriends lnternationaI

Experiencing Natura 2000 alongside the Green Belt - Austria
Waldviertler Teich-, Heide- und Moorlandschaft - AT1201A00


Making people aware of their natural environment is an important basis for the implementation of nature protection goals. This project aimed to raise public awareness of the Natura 2000 areas along the Green Belt in Lower Austria (AT1201A00, AT1209A00, AT1202000, AT1214000), as well as encourage local people to take pleasure in their immediate environment and its natural treasures. The aim has also been to anchor the basic principles of Natura 2000 by preserving biodiversity for future generations. Within the project, six theme paths – so-called Natura Trails – were identified. A specific folder and information boards accompany each of these Natura Trails, while a DVD and internet portal have been developed to enable anyone to experience these Natura 2000 areas.

A key element of the project has been intensive cooperation with the local population, highlights of which included the opening ceremonies of the Natura Trails. Accompanying public relations work assured regular media coverage. While the project did not focus on any specific species or habitats – but aimed instead at communicating the variety of species and habitats in each of the Natura 2000 sites – a few flagship species have been described in detail. These include the Corncrake (crex crex) and European otter (lutra lutra), both of which can be found at site AT1201A00.

©Rafael Paulo Melero

Environmental seduction in the Albufera of Valencia - Spain
Albufera de Valencia - ES0000023


This project intended to highlight the natural wealth of Albufera by inviting the public to get to know more about the region’s secrets and unknown aspects. It aimed to awaken interest in nature protection through highlighting fragility, ecological problems and measures required for good conservation. Entitled ‘Environmental Seduction’, the project rolled out an awareness campaign between 2010 and 2013, and succeeded in raising appreciation of the beauty and opportunities offered by Albufera Lake and the surrounding area.

The project also increased citizen and local authority involvement in maintenance and conservation. Since the beginning of the project, there has been an Environmental Promotion Office within Albufera de Valencia. This is primarily an information and documentation centre, but it also aims to become an established venue for visitors, open for meetings, talks and events. The Environmental Promotion Office continues to develop new initiatives and projects to encourage activities that enhance this nature park."

© Victor Bandeira

Mammals Guide of BioRia - Portugal
Ria de Aveiro - PTZPE0004


The ‘Mammals Guide of BioRia’, written by Victor Bandeira, Alexandre Azevedo and Carlos Fonseca, is a tool designed to enhance public knowledge about the mammals that can be found and observed in this area. The guide also aims to raise awareness of the importance of these animals, by demystifying and clarifying negative conceptions and inviting people to get involved in the management and sustainable conservation of natural resources in the Ria de Aveiro.

The BioRia nature trails are a link that bring people into contact with the fauna and flora that populate the Ria de Aveiro. The trails that cross through the reeds and rushes, rice fields and marshes, are used daily by bird watchers, nature photographers, school groups, seniors groups and tourists. Direct contact with wildlife enables people to learn about and to respect the natural heritage of this Natura 2000 region. Among vertebrate species, mammals are often the most difficult to find and observe, even for those who study them. So this guide, which contains photos, illustrations, field reports and biological information, aims to help anyone interested in identifying certain species, or the traces and marks left by them.

© Looduskalender

Estonian nature webcams and news portal - Estonia
Väinamere - EE0040001


In Estonia, crowd sourced wildlife information using web cameras has proved to be a success. The website received 6 million unique visitors last year, with an addition 6 million viewers watching streaming services from the EENet server. Some 50% of these visitors came from outside Estonia; in fact, viewers came from 186 countries.

A similar concept has been started in Latvia, and an international forum with 2 500 members is up and running. This forum is a great place for researchers and enthusiasts to communicate, and to document what happens on the nature cameras, and the number of Facebook fans has reached 13 500. Web cameras are also extremely useful. The Wild Pig camera project, for example, involved research into the movement of wild pigs and racoon dogs using telemetric collars. The web cameras in Estonian Nature 2000 areas were also used to track movements. These web cameras are solar powered and operational 24 hours a day.

Education compass for European natural heritage: excursion guide for Natura 2000 areas - Germany
Regenstalaue und Chambtal mit Rötelseeweihergebiet - DE6741471


The diversity of Europe’s natural heritage should be brought into schools. ‘Special protected areas’ (SPAs) are not very well represented at educational institutions, which is why this project sought to give a variety of teachers, within the context of their curricula, the possibility of exploring and working in these regions. This project therefore provides the ideal basis for linking schools and conservation, encouraging sustainable development in the mind of pupils.

Five schools, located near a Natura 2000 area, were selected to participate. All these schools have earned the title of ‘Environmental Schools in Europe,’ which made them ideal candidates. Our environmental station provided information on the plant and animal species living in protected areas. We also provided teachers with necessary guidelines to be followed, and schools received teaching material. This included a description of the area, including aerial views, along with special features of the Natura 2000 area.


PANELS project: amazing local-scale environment network - France
Réseau hydrographique du Dropt - FR7200692


In July 2012, the Local Council (responsible for some 324 170 inhabitants) sought to initiate an action to raise awareness of Natura 2000, with a variety of objectives. These included making information more accessible, disseminating this information across the whole region and reaching a broad audience (residents, general public, schoolchildren and tourists).

To achieve these objectives, the council created information and educational panels to help local communities with a Natura 2000 site (15 sites across 121 communes) to promote their natural heritage. The council also launched a Natura 2000 site on its internet portal, in order to spread and relay information to as wide an audience as possible. The information panels were very well received by communities and State services. To date, 11 artworks have been finalised, with a further four currently in preparation.


Walking amongst water and mountains - Italy
Lago Marcotto - Roccabruna - Gifarco - Lago della Nave - IT1331012


The project ‘Walking amongst Water and Mountains’ mainly concerned wetlands and dry grasslands, particularly those where the species of most interest were the Italian crested newt (Triturus carnifex), the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris), the round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia, L.), the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris, L.) and the early purple orchid (Orchis maculate, L.). Several activities were carried out during this project, including the translation of research results conducted by the University of Genoa, which were made available to local authorities as guidelines for the restoration of valuable areas.

The project also helped various stakeholders understand the importance of the local management of ‘Sites of community importance’ (SCIs), in order to preserve habitats, species and biodiversity. Meetings and excursions were organised in order to inform and train all economic actors operating in the area, and an educational programme to inform young people of the importance of SCIs and their conservation was developed. As a result of all this work, the project succeeded in promoting, enhancing and preserving Natura 2000 areas, starting with some habitat restoration actions in the Lago Marcotto-Roccabruna-Gifarco-Lago della Nave SCI. The creation of a network between those working and living in the area will help to ensure the active management of the territory.

©Marti Franch Batllori

Restauration of Cap de Creus, Natural Park - Spain
Cap de Creus - ES5120007


This action plan has helped to restore the following habitats: sea cliffs off the Mediterranean coasts covered with sea lavender (Limonium), shrub land with conifers (Juniperus) and west Mediterranean soft scrub clifftops. This has benefited a number of animal species such as the common shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii), Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) and Mediterranean turtle (Mauremys leprosa), to name but a few.

This region is truly unique; rocky cliffs have been created by sea and wind erosion, and the landscape has been captured by artists and writers such as Salvador Dalí and Josep Pla. The park has also developed a system of routes and a network of panoramic viewpoints that allows visitors to see the best landscapes and geological oddities. Signposts have been placed to identify animal shaped rocks. A large influx of visitors has come since the restoration: about 10 000 people every year come to the Information Centre, while the park has also received several local, national and international awards.

©County of Council of Biscay

Public awareness about birds, their world and their migrations: Urdaibai Bird Centre - Spain
Urdaibaiko itsasertzak / Zonas litorales y marismas de Urdaibai - ES2130007


Urdaibai Bird Centre is a great living museum of nature, open to the public to enjoy the world of birds and their migrations. The centre itself provides a unique observatory of the marshland and is located in the heart of the estuarine ‘Special protected area’ (SPA) and ‘Special areas of conservation’ (SAC) of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. The centre provides information and scientific research about birds and the habitats in which they live. The centre, which pulls together research and communication teams, is indeed a living centre, where every day brings something new: the course of events is set by the behaviour of birds.

Urdaibai Bird Centre is also open to other centres interested in conducting research on the birds found in the wetlands of the East Atlantic flyway. A large number of projects aimed at deepening knowledge of birds and the habitats of Natura 2000 have been carried out. These have included characterisation of the importance of the Natura 2000 site as a rest or stopover area in the migratory route of birds and population dynamics of birds at coastal marshes. The centre has also studied population dynamics and the evolution of bird communities and the impact of global climate change on habitats and species.


Nightly flights of the owls of the world: ‘Nocturnia’ - Spain
Carbayera De El Tragamón - ES1200038


This event took place inside the Atlantic Botanic Gardens of Gijón. More than 300 people participated in each of the daily sessions, which included a guided visit through the different Atlantic bioclimatic sceneries represented in the garden, and the chance to watch the flight of different birds of prey. At the end of the tour, when it was getting dark, participants entered an oak forest called ‘Carbayera de El Tragamón’, which for centuries has been used for the traditional production of coal.

Nowadays, this forest is a Natural Monument of the city, and is included in the Natura 2000 network as a ‘Site of community importance’ (SCI). It is home to a large number of huge 500-year-old oaks, yews and chestnuts. A nightly exhibition took place in this forest, with different owls from diverse parts of the world. Each owl flight was accompanied with ambient music and educational information, which explained their role in each ecosystem as well as the benefits of their conservation. At the end of the activity, at the Botanic Garden entrance, a specialist was available to answer all questions.


Awareness-raising actions to protect our nature in Pays de Bray - France
Pays de Bray humide - FR2300131


The Pays de Bray arose several million years ago, its inverted geology resulting from ancient geological upheavals and erosion that eventually created a hilly basin and some habitats very specific to Normandy. Indeed, the unusual shape of Pays de Bray has given rise to the nickname of ‘buttonhole’. The Natura 2000 ‘Pays de Bray humide’ site is situated in low-lying parts of the buttonhole, where the soil is relatively impermeable. From the beginning of this project, the emphasis has been on promoting the site and awareness-raising among inhabitants of the area of rare and threatened fauna and flora.

The site has an important northern-crested newt (Tritus cristatus) population. This amphibian, a rare and fragile species, is becoming rarer in Pays de Bray and also in Europe as a whole. Communication tools featured a 12-minute film, shot in the Natura 2000 site. Complementary communication tools included leaflets, press conferences and the development of a website. The objectives of all these communication activities are to change behaviours and to create greater collective awareness to preserve our remarkable nature.

©Janos Mark-Nagy

Raising awareness of the local communities of the ‘Tur River’ protected areas - Romania
Râul Tur - ROSCI0214


The Transylvanian Carpathia Society – Satu Mare (Societatea Carpatină Ardeleană) –  carried out a complex communication campaign, between 2011 and 2013, aimed at the population of the ‘Tur River’ protected areas. The main objectives were to inform the population and to raise awareness. At the beginning of the campaign, a sociological survey was carried out, which measured the knowledge of the general public about such protected areas.

The survey revealed that only 30% knew about their existence. In 2012 and 2013, the surveys were repeated, assessed and changes made to the campaign. As a result, at the end of 2013, some 68.7% of those questioned knew about the existence of the protected areas. Several methods to reach our target audience were used. In the first steps of the campaign, we created a website ( and organised meetings every year in each town. Two times a year, we published a magazine entitled ‘Foaia Turului’ (The Tur’s Leaf), which was distributed for free in the local communities. For children, we organised eight camps and one competition, and placed 35 information boards and three educational paths in the protected areas.

Natura 2000 Bird guide for the Oosterschelde National Park - Netherlands
Oosterschelde - NL3009016


This application concerns the publication of a bird guide for the Oosterschelde Natura 2000 site. The guide not only offers the potential for bird spotting using photos, but also provides interesting facts on all species, covering topics such as food, reproduction and the origin of their name. The Natura 2000 species are marked with a special logo.

The publication of this book was partially made possible thanks to the ‘Gastheren van de Oosterschelde’ – a network of hospitality and recreational entrepreneurs that surround the National Park. This network promised to buy a certain number of bird guides for their customers. This cooperation – along with a contribution from the province (Provincie Zeeland) – made this publication financially feasible.

© Regione Basilicata

INTESA Natura 2000: understanding nature values and heritage (INN2000) - a communication project - Italy
Gravine di Matera - IT9220135


This communication project, which sought to promote the Basilicata Natura 2000 network, was carried out by ENEA and Forum Plinianum during 2012 and 2013. It was financed by the Basilicata Region within the framework of the local Natura 2000 programme, and aimed to update scientific information on ‘Special areas of conservation’ (SACs) and ‘Special protected areas’ (SPAs). In order to preserve its natural heritage and unique cultural landscapes, the Basilicata Region wants to increase public awareness about the importance of integrating biodiversity and land management issues into the governance process.

For this reason, this project aimed to promote knowledge of the 53 regional Natura 2000 sites, and raise awareness of their role in maintaining ecosystem balance and producing goods and ecological services. The communication campaign used many tools such as videos, websites, meetings, contests, social networks, press releases and broadcasts. Different target groups such as policy-makers, organisations, citizens, students, farms and small and medium enterprises from all over the region were widely involved.

© Lukas Kuhn, Petr Rott

Help Prasonisi Natura 2000 Park resist against the mazut power plant construction! - Greece
Notio Akro Rodou, Prasonisi, Ygrotopos Livadi Kattavias - GR4210031


The Greek government is planning to build a power plant at Prasonisi Natura 2000 Park. The plant – 115 MW, with two chimneys 50 m high – will be built on the southern coast of the island, near the Prasonisi peninsula and will use mazut, a heavy, low quality fuel oil that contains sulphur. This will pose an extreme danger to the environment, especially since fuel will be carried via pipelines that start 200 m from the coast, and go into the sea where oil tankers will be docked.

There is a huge threat of an ecological disaster happening in one of the most spectacular natural locations of the Mediterranean, and one of the most popular wind surfing destinations. The waste of the power station will be discharged into the sea and air. Nature-friendly energy alternatives such as wind and solar energy (photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies) should be used instead, as the island of Rhodes is one of the sunniest places in Europe, an island dedicated to the God of Sun, Helios. We are a small group of citizens who want to protect their homeland. It is vital that we save Prassonisi, one of the most important tourist destinations for surfing in Europe, a special spot for recreation and a rare place of natural beauty.

© Slovak Environment Agency

Centre of Environmental Education SEA Dropie (CEE SEA Dropie) - Slovakia
Ostrovné lúky - SKCHVU019


The Centre of Environmental Education SEA Dropie (CEE SEA Dropie) is located in the Ostrovné lúky Protected Bird Area. This area was declared a ‘Special protection area’ (SPA) by the Ministry of the Environment in order to ensure the favourable conservation status of certain habitats and migratory bird species. Successful communication activities aimed at raising environmental awareness and promoting the CEE SEA Dropie Natura 2000 site include Hypericum, a competition for primary school children focused on learning about selected plant and animal species of European importance, and about the Natura 2000 network in general.

A bilingual text and pictorial guide in Slovak and Hungarian was also produced to provide information on natural and cultural attractions in the Ostrovné lúky SPA. Various training activities, courses and field training were organised for teachers, providing them with basic information about Natura 2000, while programmes in CEE also included guided excursions/lessons for children, pupils and students. Raising environmental awareness about Natura 2000 (and SPA Ostrovné lúky) has been the main success of these activities.


Natura 2000 areas: Europe protects nature - Greece
Voreioanatoliko Akro Kritis : Dionysades, Elasa Kai Chersonisos Sidero (Akra Mavro Mouri – Vai – Akra Plakas) Kai Thalassia Zoni - GR4320006


This project sought to familiarise students with Natura 2000 sites and their importance to biodiversity conservation, by actively engaging them in the environment they live in. It also aimed to teach them of the importance of sustainable development from an economic, social and ecological point of view, and the important role of the European Union.

The programme involved frequent visits and field studies, where students were informed about certain characteristics of ecosystems. They recorded flora and fauna and debated conservation management and protection. Students also learnt about and photographed certain species of plants and birdlife in the area. Written reports were formulated by students under the guidance of teachers, which helped to record the views of local communities on Natura 2000 sites. There were also discussions with experts on specific topics, where photographs and slides were presented

© Asociatia Kogayon

Telling the big story of the smallest Romanian National Park: Buila-Vînturariţa, Natura 2000 site - Romania
Buila-Vânturariţa - ROSCI0015


Buila-Vînturariţa is the smallest national park in Romania and one of the most well-known Natura 2000 sites in the region. Its very well preserved habitats (out of which four are priority habitats) shelter rare and endemic species. In order to protect this natural treasure, Kogayon Association has started a large information and awareness campaign, allocating almost 25% of the project’s budget to communication activities. We consider that our most important achievement consists in having more than 5 000 children, aged between 7 and 18 years, participating free of charge in over 100 camps, lessons, workshops about nature protection and conservation. We can see now how the attitude of older people is changing thanks to the experiences of the younger generation, and we remain convinced that such small changes can have a big impact.

We have delivered guides, booklets, leaflets with information on Buila-Vânturariţa National Park and Natura 2000 site and have rebuilt two mountain shelters, each now with its own little information corner. We are pleased to read in the shelters’ books friendly and thankful messages left by visitors. We have achieved our objectives, with an overwhelming majority of the work done by volunteer members of the Kogayon Association. In the future we plan to create a dedicated visitor centre for Buila-Vînturariţa National Park Natura 2000 site, which shall be a focal point for our message to be spread and our communication initiatives to evolve and be further promoted.

© Fundación Descubre-Casa de la Ciencia-CSIC

Biodiversity. The Links of Life - Spain
Doñana - ES0000024


This exhibition focused on biodiversity and took the Decade of Biodiversity (2011-2020) as its starting point. The aim was to make known the concept and the importance of conservation on our present and future, through stunning photographs (some taken from Natura 2000 sites) and other points of interest. The project highlighted actions that have helped to ensure the conservation of biodiversity, such as the declaration of ‘Special protection areas’ (SPAs), and focused on Andalusia. This is the Spanish region with the largest area covered by the Natura 2000 network, and has the largest concentration and variety of inland and coastal wetlands in Spain and the EU.

Although there are 195 ‘Special areas of conservation’ (SAC) in Andalusia, this project focused on Doñana, though it also mentioned the Sierra Nevada and the sea coast off Almeria. The project has acted as a space for cooperation and coordination between scientists, communicators and online marketing experts, and a virtual exhibition is available at, providing access to anyone regardless of location. Since its inception in October 2011, the web version of ‘Life links’ has received 20 000 visits, while the exhibition has been shown at 21 locations to date.

Natura 2000: a river runs through it - France
Rivière le Douron - FR5300004


Video entry: The community of Morlaix, with help from partners including the Armorique Regional Nature Park and the association of ‘Pays Leonard’ municipalities, runs three Natura 2000 sites. The aim of this video was to introduce to local inhabitants and elected officials the wealth of biodiversity that lies within Morlaix‘s territory. These sites contain many different kinds of natural environments, species and human activities, and indeed, the video attempts to show that humans have a special role to play.

This video was shot in 2013 and involved a number of partners. It succeeded in uniting these different partners in a common goal, and in raising awareness of the Natura 2000 programme among school students in the area. A similar approach could easily be taken for other Natura 2000 sites across Brittany. A sequel that illustrates the Natura 2000 approach, from management to implementation would be a logical next step.


Natura 2000 in Pohorje region and networking stakeholders - Slovenia
Pohorje - SI5000006 ; SI3000270


The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation has played a key role in implementing the EU-funded NATREG (Managing Natural Assets and Protected Areas as Sustainable Regional Development Opportunities) project.

The results of this have made an important contribution towards integrating local stakeholders in the Pohorje region, leading to follow-up projects. One of these is ‘Pohorje Vision 2030’, which is already underway. For this reason, the area is gaining regional and national recognition in pioneering development cooperation. Indeed, with its integrative and cohesive approach to stakeholders, the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation has shown how harmonious and balanced development can be carried out, taking into account the value of nature and ecosystem services.


Art for Nature: graffiti for the future - Bulgaria
Sakar - BG0002021


One communication problem has been lack of awareness of the Natura 2000 network philosophy. The public perception is that the network is a tool for strict protection rather than an opportunity for the sustainable and equitable use of resources. We therefore engaged in an innovative approach to interpret conservation through modern arts, building on contemporary urban culture. In June 2012, young and promising graffiti artists from ‘140 Ideas’ were involved in creating a giant painting depicting the imperial eagle – a symbol of pristine nature and the eternal human strive for freedom. The 25 m mural was painted on the front wall of the biggest public school in Sofia.

Located in the centre of the city, the mural was made visible to the largest possible number of people (25% of the Bulgarian population lives in the capital). This generated huge media buzz, and communicated the message that Natura 2000 is about bridging rather than fencing. Our poll two years later shows that there are slightly more people informed about Natura 2000 (from 59.7% to 65.5%). Our broad campaign created national and local pride in nature and showed that Natura 2000 creates a favourable context for local development. Direct proof that our message has been well received can be seen in the fact that a target site has named itself ‘The realm of the eagles’ and developed an ecotourism programme. This linked eagles with a traditional food festival, designed to encourage and restore sustainable farming.

©Comune di Spoleto

Monteluco and Monte Fionchi: the Nature 2000 treasures - Italy
Monteluco di Spoleto - IT5210064


‘Monteluco and Monte Fionchi: Natura 2000 Treasures’ was a project started in 2011 and made possible thanks to financing within the European LEADER programme. The project aimed to promote the conservation of natural habitats found in Monteluco and Monte Fionchi, two of the eight Natura 2000 sites in the Spoleto territory. Some of the main actions carried out included scientific research into amphibians, reptiles and bats; a census of Bosco Sacro oaks; planting of young oaks with origin certified Bosco Sacro seeds; and environmental education visits.

The project also involved spreading information in the form of seminars and educational and tourist materials. More than 600 students were involved in the project and partners included several institutions operating in the territory. These included the Commune, Studio Naturalistico Hyla, Azienda Vivaistica Regionale UmbraFlor, CAI (Italian Alpine Club) of Spoleto, Istituto di Istruzione Superiore ‘R.Battaglia’ of Norcia (PG), Istituto Professionale di Stato per i Servizi Alberghieri Ristorazione e Turistici ‘G. De Carolis’ of Spoleto and many accomodation facilities within the Spoleto territory.

©Malatrasi Thomas

A Natura 2000 awareness and communication strategy using innovative and participative tools - France
Vallons obscurs de Nice et de Saint-Blaise - FR9301569


Metropolitan Nice Côte d’Azur manages seven Natura 2000 sites within its territory. The Natura 2000 process requires the involvement of all to succeed. Thus, Nice Côte d’Azur has built a strategy of outreach and involvement of local stakeholders and the public. To make this action operational and efficient, a department dedicated to Natura 2000 and biodiversity consisting of six members of staff was created. Nice Côte d’Azur has developed activities and tools of awareness, communication and education to make biodiversity understandable to all and to introduce it into the lives of people who can help preserve it.

The target audience for this strategy includes members of the general public, local residents, Natura 2000 users and stakeholders within Nice Côte d’Azur. A portfolio with all the tools developed is available at: Tools include graphs for the Natura 2000 sites within Nice Côte d’Azur, a film entitled ‘Biodiversity and Natura 2000’, an information kiosk, “I have Natura 2000 in my skin” tattoos and information on training and guided tours.

©Mats Ericson/

The Arctic fox in Scandinavia - Sweden
Vålådalen - SE0720084


The Arctic fox is a Natura 2000 species and one of the most threatened mammals in the EU. Hunted close to extinction a hundred years ago, there is now only one small breeding population left in the EU. This population is located on the border between Sweden and Norway, and here the situation is starting to look brighter thanks to successful conservation efforts. The project ‘Felles Fjellrev’ has, through strategic support, managed to raise the breeding rate of the Arctic fox up to four times the rate of areas without support. In 2011, a total of 106 pairings were registered in Sweden and Norway, and 48 of these took place in areas supported by Felles Fjellrev. A great success! In 2013, Arctic fox pups were born almost exclusively in areas with continuous support.

The project has also successfully reached the public with information about the Arctic fox and its threatened situation. This has resulted in the popular short film ‘Storm and Tinde’ and the children’s book ‘Meet the Arctic Fox’ which has been translated into six languages. Together with lecture tours, information centres, brochures and the website, the information effort has been both massive and successful. The Arctic fox has even started to create money for local entrepreneurs who, in consultation with Felles Fjellrev and the County Administrative Board of Jämtland, arrange tours to see the rare animal. We hope to see more of this in the future.


Knowing and preserving the 12 bat species of Alviela’s cave - Portugal
Serras de Aire e Candeeiros - PTCON0015


Public opinion is a key element in the conservation of threatened species. For example, environmental awareness is crucial to bat conservation, by expanding knowledge and contributing to a change in attitude by dispelling myths and fears. Bat observatories can be a key tool in educating the public, because they allow people to observe these animals in their natural habitats.

The Centro Ciência Viva do Alviela Observatory contains four infra-red cameras located inside a cave in the Rede Natura 2000 site. This cave serves as a roost for a number of bat species, including Miniopterus schreibersii, Myotis myotis, M. emarginatus, M. blythii, M. escalerai , M. bechsteinii and Eptesicus serotinus, to name but a few. Images from the observatory are available to the public at an interactive exhibition at the Centro Ciência Viva do Alviela, which is totally dedicated to bats. Communication activities have also sought to increase public awareness of the bat’s importance. Between the months of April and September, for example, the ‘Noite dos Morcegos’ (Bats’ night) is held. This is an outdoor activity that allows visitors to observe these creatures up close in their natural habitat.

Do good things for Natura 2000 in Salzburg and talk about it! - Austria
Weidmoos - AT3225000


Since the start of the first LIFE project in Salzburg in 1999, a tradition of communicating the importance of Natura 2000 with stakeholders has been established. The aim is not only to raise acceptance of Natura 2000, but also to encourage stakeholders to actively engage in the management of Natura 2000 sites. We combine communication with concrete action, such as restoration work, which means that we first communicate to find partners for a site then cooperate on projects and finally communicate the results to the public. This helps to motivate partners for the next site, and so on.

The Natura 2000 management planning process is also a vital communication tool. Management plans are drawn up in close cooperation with stakeholders. After the planning process, the site manager takes over as the main communicator. We have found that all communication has to be honest, “down to earth” and understandable. We also use special tools to reach our target groups. For example, we recently sent a Natura 2000 calendar to all landowners and land users in Salzburg Natura 2000 sites, to make them aware of what treasures they host. This communication approach is one of the reasons why numerous successful actions towards reaching favourable conservation status have been taken in most of our Natura 2000 sites, in cooperation with local stakeholders and municipalities.

©Zymantas Morkvénas

A farmer as an integral part of the ecosystem: Aquatic warbler case - Lithuania
Nemuno Delta - LTSIU0013


The Aquatic Warbler (AW) conservation project aimed to restore abandoned habitats across four Natura 2000 sites in Lithuania (Tyrai, Tulkiarage, Sysa, Zuvintas) and two in Latvia (lake Liepāja and Pape) through the application of sustainable farming methods. Since parts of these sites were in privately owned land, we sought to involve local farmers in the conservation process. We understood that farmers are neither a “nature management tool” nor an “enemy”, but instead should be considered as forming an integral part of the alluvial meadows ecosystem. Farmers also helped the project team see things from their perspective.

The communication strategy aimed to motivate farmers and build a connection between themselves and environmentalists, using old-fashioned techniques such as face-to-face discussions (not just about nature, but also about their life and worries), hand-written letters, small-scale meetings and friendly visits. We talked about the uniqueness of their land, which is one of very few AW breeding sites in the world. We also used innovative communication techniques (such as articles in national and regional press and online discussions), which were launched in parallel in order to achieve greater awareness and appreciation of farmers’ activities. Finally, all farmers agreed to postpone mowing in AW sites without any repayment.


Enhancing public participation in decision making for the effective management of Natura 2000 sites - Poland
Dolina Białki - PLH120024


The Centre for Systems Solutions Association has been actively engaged in increasing public participation in the effective management of Natura 2000 sites. For example, three projects were conducted between October 2009 and December 2013 in southern and eastern Poland, aimed at defining key recommendations for effective Natura 2000 site management.

A number of sites were identified as case studies for a bottom-up participatory management approach. During workshop sessions, the communication of stakeholder preferences was achieved, while a project on participatory development was also successfully conducted. Next, a complex participatory process was performed at a site where a conflict between authorities and the local community hindered the development of a management plan. Local community problems were discussed publicly at four meetings and during a field trip. As a result of these efforts, a conflict regarding flood protection options was resolved, and the proposed management plan gained wide acceptance. Similar processes at other sites have also helped to achieve mutual understanding and cooperation in nature protection actions.


The Boys of Clara Bog: a short video promoting a raised bog ‘Special area of conservation’ - Ireland
Clara Bog - IE0000572


Clara Bog is one of the best remaining examples of a relatively intact raised bog in Western Europe. The bog is a priority habitat under the EU Habitats Directive and has been the subject of Irish and Dutch scientific collaboration for many years. In late 2012, a class from Scoil Proinsiais Naofa, Clara, County Offaly, decided to produce a short video about Clara Bog ‘Special area of conservation’ (SAC) in order to encourage similar-aged children to visit the site. The students aimed to communicate relevant topics in a fun, quirky and humorous way to appeal to this audience.

The project involved research, workshops and discussion with staff of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and senior citizens familiar with the site. The project is an example of how effective site interpretation can be produced on a very limited budget with added benefits for the local community. The project was funded by the Offaly County Development Board of Offaly County Council and was supported by the board’s Social Inclusion Measure comprising Clara Local Committee and Clara Family Resource Centre. A six-minute video entitled ‘Boys of Clara Bog’ was uploaded onto YouTube in February 2013. The video has had over 1 400 views so far, though the boys are hoping that it will now go viral!

Publication and diffusion of a three: volume book about the Natura 2000 network in Lorraine - France
Plaine et étang du Bischwald - FR4112000


The cliché of Lorraine consisting of nothing but a cold climate, factories, mines and military camps still persists, despite the fact that the region contains rich biodiversity. For example, there are 42 natural habitat types of European interest (more than a third of which are priority), 114 species of European interest and 94 Natura 2000 sites. The Direction régionale de l’environnement, de l’aménagement et du logement de Lorraine (DREAL), along with the Conseil Scientifique Régional du Patrimoine Naturel (CSRPN) and two of our main financial partners, identified a strong need for a new communication tool to help Lorraine rid itself of this negative image.

We also wanted to help citizens to identify with the Natura 2000 network’s aims. So in 2008 we chose to write, publish and deliver a book about Natura 2000 habitat types, species, and sites in Lorraine. This gradually took shape and became a three volume book entitled ‘Natura 2000 in Lorraine’, which was first issued in December 2011. The book has been distributed to local authorities and stakeholders involved in the management of Natura 2000 sites, and to secondary schools and colleges in the region. There is also an internet site. The purpose of this publication is to give readers the chance to discover (and often admire) the richness that the network aims to protect or restore in Lorraine, and to get detailed information about how these sites are managed.


A way of public relations: the contact office ‘Wolves in Saxony’ - Germany
Raklitza Und Teiche Bei Rietschen - DE4554301


After 150 years of absence in Germany, the first free living wolf pack was re-established in 2000 in Saxony. Since then wolves have been dispersed in Saxony and other parts of the country. The challenge now is to deal with prejudices, changes in herding methods and human fears. Public acceptance is a keystone to the coexistence of wolves and people. In order to dispel false information and to answer questions about wolves, the ‘Kontaktbüro Wolfsregion Lausitz’ (‘Wolves in Saxony’ Contact Office) was established by the Saxon State Ministry of Environment and Agriculture in 2004 as the main wolf information centre for the public, the media and local authorities. It is in the responsibility of the regional county government of Görlitz.

The goal is to deliver information about wolf biology, behaviour, distribution and livestock protection methods in an objective, factual and straightforward way. More than 200 target-group oriented lectures and educational booths are organised yearly. The office is responsible for writing press releases, publishing newsletters and flyers as well as maintaining a wolf exhibition and a website with up-to-date information. The ‘Wolves in Saxony’ Contact Office is a unique facility unprecedented in Germany and Europe.

©Management Agency of Karpathos and Saria

Public awareness actions, ‘sensitisation’, and the management agency’s PR - Greece
voreia karpathos kai saria kai paraktia thalassia zoni - GR4210003


The Management Agency decided to establish a number of communication tools to promote the area’s ecological value, along with the Agency’s activities and perspectives. Final products included the design and production of a portable environmental interpretation exhibition, to enhance the exhibits of the Agency’s environmental information centre in Diafani, and the creation and maintenance of a webpage. The Agency also produced a video, information leaflets and audio-visual material with details about natural features and a map of the area including footpaths.

A book with comprehensive details of the natural and cultural features of the area, the historical background and the constitutional framework of the conservation regime was also produced. Environmental education textbooks for classes were distributed and two information events were planned in collaboration with the University of the Aegean, the Greek Ministry of Environment and environmental NGOs. These communicated to the local community the region’s natural attributes and the role of the Management Agency.

©The National Centre for Sustainable Development

InfoNatura 2000: national awareness campaign on the Natura 2000 network in Romania - Romania
Apuseni - ROSCI0002


InfoNatura2000 was a national awareness campaign aimed at communicating the importance of biodiversity conservation through Natura 2000 sites in Romania. The project was implemented by the National Centre for Sustainable Development, Romania between 2010 and 2013. The campaign was financed by the European Union. Activities covered the 381 Natura 2000 sites declared in Romania in 2007. The campaign had a wide target audience, including central and local authorities, experts, journalists and the general public. Activities included eight training sessions and eight awareness-raising events organised in each region; a national conference; a first documentary video series on the Natura 2000 sites and the first volumes on Natura 2000 sites, habitats and protected species at the national level.

A catalogue, album and agenda were developed, along with a manual for the appropriate evaluation of the impact of plans/projects on the conservation of Natura 2000 sites. Five partnership agreements on information exchange among interested parties from seven sites in each biogeographical region and one dedicated website on Natura 2000 in Romania were also achieved. We would also like to mention the participation of 1 122 people at these events, the production and national distribution of more than 48 000 volumes, the broadcasting of the documentary on a national TV station and 13 local TV stations. The campaign website can be found here:

©Agencia EFE

EFEverde with Natura 2000 Network: commitment and dissemination - Spain
Sierra de las Villuercas y Valle del Guadarranque - ES4320039


The EFE Verde Department of news service, Agencia EFE, has developed a firm commitment in recent years to the Natura 2000 network, and is currently the beneficiary of two LIFE+ EU projects. Our journalists have travelled many kilometres defending the Natura 2000 network and disseminating its values and meaning through audio-visual and multimedia reports. These have taken place in some of Spain’s most spectacular nature spots such as Monfragüe National Park, Sanabria Lake Natural Park, Villuercas Ibores Jara Geopark – all them with several ‘Sites of community importance’ (SCIs) and ‘Special protected areas’ (SPAs) – and many other spots of special environmental richness that we treasure in Spain.

This effort adds to the important work that EFE has been doing for more than 20 years in disseminating environmental information, effectively contributing to create an emerging ""green conscience"" in Spanish society. Agencia EFE’s work with the Natura 2000 network is very difficult to summarise. It should be borne in mind that EFE has been producing and disseminating environmental information even before this journalistic specialisation was defined. In our work, we have always expected to give voice to all actors involved, including detractors or those defending conflicting interests. Our vocation for impartiality has enabled us to collect the multiple aspects of the Natura 2000 network.

Countdown 2010 in Bologna: discover and help biodiversity – Italy
Gessi Bolognesi, calanchi dell’Abbadessa - IT4050001


The project took place in the following Natura 2000 sites: IT4050019 Gessi Bolognesi, Calanchi dell’Abbadessa, IT4050019 La Bora, IT4050016 Abbazia di Monteveglio. The activities carried out included meetings with employees of the protected areas aimed at updating and producing new teaching materials, user satisfaction surveys for students and teachers, and quizzes for students. Educational activities also took place in local schools.

Artificial nesting boxes and environment information panels were installed in the Bologna Botanical Gardens, natural areas, ‘L. Donini’ Museum of Prehistory and schoolyards with the involvement of students and teachers. A booklet, entitled ‘Scopriamo e aiutiamo la biodiversità’ (We discover and we help biodiversity), was produced and an events calendar was put together for citizens and tourists. The activities carried out during the project involved a total of 1 586 students, 114 teachers and 532 citizens.

Ambassador network for ‘biodiversity and rural’ patrimony – France
SIC "Petite Camargue" - FR9101406


During 2011, the ‘Syndicat Mixte pour la protection et la gestion de la Camargue Gardoise’ (SMCG) and tourism providers worked on a set of tools to help a network of actors, such as the tourist office, accommodation providers, and bike rental and horseback riding operators, relay public policies for protecting and enhancing heritage. Indeed, maintaining the quality of rare natural heritage for future generations to enjoy is inextricably linked to the participation and commitment of land users today. Through several days of meetings, hosted by the SMCG, natural heritage themes were discussed in order to develop a common understanding and help tourism stakeholders to play their role as ‘heritage ambassadors’.

Each ambassador receives communications tools – educational books on natural heritage, map illustrating the wealth of the Natura 2000 site – to pass on to visitors. A page dedicated to the network was also created on the SMCG’s website. To achieve the common objectives of economic and social development in accordance with the preservation of Natura 2000 sites, tourist offices, the departmental tourism committee and other representatives from the tourism sector in Vidourle Camargue and Valley Vidourle are also active members of this ‘living’ network.

© Management Authority of Lake Pamvotis

Biodiversity enhancement pilot project in schoolyards of Ioannina city, Greece
Limni ioanninon – GR2130005


The Management Authority of Lake Pamvotis is carrying out a biodiversity enhancement pilot project in schoolyards of Ioannina, in order to enhance students’ understanding of and commitment to biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in general. Environmental education and awareness can play a key role in changing people’s attitude towards nature. The schoolyard project seeks not only to increase vegetation, but effort is also put into selecting plants to attract fauna such as birds, bees and butterflies. Emphasis is placed on active student participation through discussion, reflection and action in schoolyards.

The programme involves five successive stages. The first is to provide students with information about the ecosystem of Lake Pamvotis, the role of the Management Authority and the importance of conserving biodiversity. A discussion takes place on the ways that students can help biodiversity conservation and how they can make their schoolyard “biodiversity friendly”. Stage 2 involves the recording of the present situation (topography, microclimate, vegetation, green surfaces) and more class discussions. Stage 3 is the schoolyard design phase, where emphasis is placed on plant selection. Stage 4 is the presentation of the schoolyard design and implementation. Stage 5 involves the formation of a student group for the maintenance of the schoolyard.