European Natura 2000 Award
"Winning this award is a good feeling and it is nice to know that the time and the energy of so many people are recognised and rewarded", said Alexander Habermeier from Naturfreunde Baden-Württemberg, the winner of the 2015 Communication category award. "We are sure that our Natura 2000 project will now receive much more attention and appreciation in our country", commented Andreas Linsmeier also from Naturfreunde Württemberg.
To improve awareness of the Natura 2000 Network in Germany, Naturfreunde implemented two campaigns between 2010 and 2014. The first involved the creation of a network of 40 carefully selected Natura 2000 trails in Baden-Württemberg, designed for local communities so that they could learn about the natural treasures that exist on their doorstep.
The second campaign involved an exhibition ‘Es lebe das Leben’ to showcase the Natura 2000 network in Europe and in the region of Baden-Württemberg in particular. The exhibition was shown in town halls and other public facilities and was combined with regular speeches from mayors and other stakeholders. A series of Natura 2000 days - involving hiking tours, bike rides and canoe tours - were also organised at more than 30 sites.
During their implementation, the campaigns had to overcome two main challenges. On the one hand, ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders and their participation in the events and exhibition. "However, we were pleasantly surprised by the high acceptance of our project and the participation of numerous stakeholders such as local administrations, utility providers, banks, organic food shops, schools, universities and so on". The second challenge was to motivate members of Naturfreunde: "But this proved relatively easy thanks to the attractive combination between nature conservation, social events and hiking activities".
With regards to the future continuation of the activities, the Naturfreunde Baden-Württemberg representatives are enthusiastic: "We plan to produce a Natura 2000 hiking book to present all the Natura 2000 trails. In addition, the Natura 2000 exhibition will continue to be displayed in different municipalities of Germany in the coming years".