Preserving landscapes and biological diversity has always been a prime goal pursued by Friends of Nature. The European Union, too, has understood the vital role of our natural heritage and has enshrined the protection of Europe's habitats as well as of its animal and plant species in Community law. With its aim of setting up an all-European network of protected areas, Natura 2000 is a milestone in the Community nature protection policy.
The "Protecting Landscapes - Experiencing Europe" campaign is designed to help implement the Natura 2000 objectives by carrying out hands-on projects and to demonstrate the need for protecting our natural heritage.
Although the task of making Natura 2000 a reality lies primarily with EU and national authorities, it also requires the support of all the partners and interest groups concerned. Moreover, the effective implementation of the Natura 2000 network depends to a considerable degree on the broadly-based support of all those owning and managing land or using it for recreational and leisure-time pursuits. With this in mind, the "Protecting Landscapes - Experiencing Europe" campaign was launched to raise awareness of our natural heritage and to help translate the Natura 2000 objectives into practice.
- Encourage active engagement with nature and impart knowledge on our natural heritage with special emphasis on the characteristic features of individual regions
- Get across the importance of the long-term protection of nature as a space where people live, work and find recreation
- Contribute to sustainable development at the regional and the local level by stimulating new activities (e.g. "gentle tourism")
- Set examples in the implementation of Natura 2000 objectives by carrying out nature protection measures on the ground (e.g. renaturation of water bodies, tending of dry meadows, etc. )
In the implementation of the campaign the focus will be on encouraging active engagement with nature, while imparting knowledge on the habitats, animals and plants concerned and in this way to raise awareness of the importance of our natural heritage and generate sympathy for nature protection.
- Laying out so-called Natura Trails devoted to a specific theme which is of significance to a given (Natura 2000) area (e.g. an endangered group of animal species) and raising awareness of the given theme by imparting special knowledge (see Projects/Natura Trails)
- Organising themed walks or excursions with special emphasis on ecological and social aspects (e.g. show respect to nature, consider the needs of disadvantaged groups, etc.)
- Setting up environmental education points (e.g. at Friends-of-Nature houses)
- Organising work camps for different target groups for the purpose of implementing the campaign objectives
The "Protecting Landscapes - Experiencing Europe" campaign is coordinated by International Friends of Nature (IFN), the umbrella organisation of the national Friends-of-Nature federations.
The campaign receives financial support from the Directorate General XI of the European Union.
The project is led by:
DI Andrea Lichtenecker
International Friends of Nature
Diefenbachgasse 36, A - 1150 Wien