Meeting friends, exchanging experiences, and generating new ideas:
On 20 and 21 February, about 120 national and international guests gathered at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt in order to discuss different aspects of protected areas management. The so called „Klagenfurt Days of Protected Areas“, an international “come together” for managers, planners, consultants, and researchers working in and with protected areas, are not only a perfect platform for exchanging experiences and generating new ideas; they are also a great opportunity to chat with friends and colleagues while having some wine and Reindling, a sweet Carinthian speciality, in the evening.
Lively discussions took place during the technical seminars on tourism, ecological connectivity, and butterfly diversity, as well as during the international colloquium of the MSc Programme „Management of Protected Areas“, where the graduates presented their theses results. Thereby, it became obvious that despite of many efforts and some great achievements in nature conservation, many obstacles still exist. In some countries, for example, Natura 2000 sites have been established, but due to a lack of money and political will, no proper management is provided. Green bridges are built over highways all over Europe in order to allow for ecological connectivity and a free migration of animals, but as long as hunting still is allowed in the direct vicinity of the green infrastructure, it´s efficiency can be highly questioned. Public awareness for nature conservation issues has surely been growing during the last decades, but there obviously is an alarming generation gap, which means that in future particulary children and young people have to be interested in protected areas. Thus, money is needed, and as public funds are declining, innovative financing measures, such as „crowd funding“ or the economic valuation of ecosystem services shall be tested and applied if appropriate.
„I am glad that I made it to the Klagenfurt Day of Protected Areas“, said Peter Puchala, an ornithologist from Slovakia, „the presentations have been quite inspiring“. While guests have been pleased after the meeting, the actual graduates from the MSc Programme on the one hand have been released as they finally finished the demanding course. On the other hand they have been sad as they had to say good bye to their friends from all over the world.
The meeting demonstrated once again that networking for nature (by the way the motto of the Alumni Club of the MPA Programme) is highly needed in order to achieve our goals. In this respect we would like to thank everybody who contributed to the success of the Days of Protected Areas, and to all who joined us in Klagenfurt!
„girls | BLOG | nature“ is a crowdfunding project, which gives 10 girls and young woman aged 13 to 18 in the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern (AUT) the possibility to get in contact with the work fields „nature and environment“. The girls will be supervised by female trainers, padagogues and female role models, which work in nature protection and ecology.
Click here for further information and the possibilities to support the project financially.