Inspiration sessions

Friday, 6 October 2022

This is the moment to get inspired! Let’s take one step away from our day-to-day work to ensure that when you leave the Conference, you are full of new ideas.

Therefore, during these sessions you will hear about relevant topics, new developments in different national parks or other areas, lessons learned during on the ground management within different organisations. Be welcome to get into discussions with peers and to both bring in your ideas and get new ideas during these inspiration sessions!

Please note, you will NOT need to indicate what sessions you would like to attend during registration. There will be different rotating sessions that you can take part in.

Led by István Gyarmathy (National Park Directorate)          

The Hortobágy National Park in Hungary is an official ‘Dark Sky Park’, as one of 300 worldwide members of dark sky places network, approved by the International Dark Sky Association. Within this workshop the coordinator István Gyarmathy will introduce the concept of dark sky places and take us along in his long standing experience with the Hortobágy National Park’s efforts protecting the natural nighttime environment.


Led by Vera Geelen (Staatsbosbeheer) and Frank Hoffman (Natuurmonumenten)

Peat meadows  and peatlands form important natural climate buffers; they limit the impact of climate change, also in National Parks. At the same time they form regions of large economic activity, mainly agriculture. What role can NP’s play within these landscapes, within the Netherlands but also in the wider context of Europe? 

In this session the historical context of natural climate buffers will be discussed; how have we formed our landscape in the last century, mainly focused on large-scale food production. The specific case of peat meadows in the Netherlands will serve to illustrate how the ‘harmony between nature and people’ has changed over time. We will also briefly highlight some other natural climate buffers in other national parks.

Led by Tom Johnstone (Tirwedday Cymry/ Landscapes Wales)

In Wales a common strategic plan for Nature Recovery in the 8 Designated Landscapes (including Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks) is being developed. It’s asking how we can establish nature recovery at the core of the work and culture of all these landscapes? How can we build sustainable, functioning professional networks for collaboration and most importantly how can we work better together rather than in isolation.

Led by Tineke Lambooy (Nyenrode Business University) and Jan van de Venis (JustLaw) 

Can a national park have rights? In this session we will review different initiatives worldwide on rights of nature which are part of the ‘Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature’ network. Two cases will be discussed specifically; the Spanish saltwater lagoon Mar Menor, the first ecosystem in Europe to be granted legal status and the Wadden Sea area, where much effort is put now to reach a similar outcome.

In particular we want to discuss the prevailing perspectives amongst participants; what chances or barriers do you see? How can rights of nature be complementary to the existing governance structures?

Led by Riina Tervo (Parks & Wildlife Finland) and Tiia Kalske (Troms and Finnmark, Norway) 

Through transboundary cooperation, in the Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park we cherish nature and raise awareness on biodiversity conservation and living cultural heritage. We promote sustainable development in the joint border area of Finland, Norway and Russia, as well as human health and wellbeing. This long-standing cooperation (since 1990), will be the core topic of this session. What can we learn from their experience in the past and the present?

Led by Jasper Wubs (NIOO-KNAW, Netherlands)

Soil biodiversity is essential for nature conservation and restoration, now and in the future. A NIOO-led worldwide synthesis of experiments showed how active restoration of soil biodiversity improves aboveground biodiversity. In this workshop I will update you on the role of soil biodiversity in nature. However, understanding the biophysical laws involved is not enough, for sustainable implementation we also need to engage with the socio-economic context and that will be the focus of this workshop. My vision is not nature for nature, or nature for society - but society in nature. Will you come and share yours?

Led by Cristian R. Altaba (Medi Ambient i Territori, Govern de les Illes Balears)

The Balearics are a privileged laboratory for understanding the impacts of human activities on nature. Since (pre)historical settlement, the landscape has undergone major transformations, accelerated in the last century and prompting conservation initiatives. The question remains, how best to conserve a delicate natural and a rich cultural heritage with growing population pressure, both by residents and tourists? I will argue that this can be achieved only through a combination of current science, critical historical examination and good governance.

Led by to be determined (Common Wadden Sea Secretariat)

The trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation is a long-standing cooperation covering 45 years of cooperation between the Dutch, German and Danish governments within the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea area. What can we learn from this strong governmental cooperation? Can non-governmental stakeholders be involved more directly? And how can we organize the involvement of young adults more structurally?

Led by Antoinette van de Water (Bring The Elephant Home)

During this interactive session, we will explore transformative approaches aimed at fostering meaningful coexistence between humanity and wildlife. We will delve into how wildlife and protected areas can shape a more promising and equitable future for all beings. Through a One Well-being lens, we promote a perspective that transcends boundaries, advocating for innovative conservation strategies that are socially relevant and supported, creating mutually beneficial outcomes for wildlife, biodiversity and multiple stakeholders. This session aims to move beyond traditional protectionist conservation approaches, by inspiring a collective drive towards increasing natural landscapes and rewilding degraded land, but with human rights and well-being filters in place. We believe that this will enable local and global support for conservation, ultimately contributing to a world where humans and wildlife can coexist in harmonious ways.

Led by Catrien Scholten and Henk van Hooft (regional landscape & national park board)

In the Drents-Friese border region three nature ‘cores’ have been connected since 2013. The main goal was to preserve the quality of the nature cores by developing the intervening landscape and to combine ecological connections with recreational connections. The region includes two National Parks. This session will focus on the recently developed landscape biography, the challenges of working with different stakeholders on different scales and the trends towards more directive national regulations.

Led by Nico Boenisch, Ilke Tilders and Vladimier Milushev (FOS Europe)    

Many PA management authorities are mandated to ensure a broad spectrum of outdoor recreation opportunities across their PA network, while managing visitor pressure on biodiversity and conflicts between people. In a process initiated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), a group of experts from practice and research has integrated outdoor recreation management into the Conservation Standards. The result is a common adaptive management framework for the integrated management of conservation and outdoor recreation, aiming to manage PAs, so both aspects can be mutually supportive.

Led by Marco Berenthz (NORROEN Architects)

The nature serves as an arena for many different, and potentially conflicting, users. Multiple interests need to be put into consideration and planned for, in the development of new initiatives and projects in parks. What shall an area offer and to whom? How do we create a good condition for nature and people to meet in harmony? How can we go from a passive meeting to an active meeting, where guests and locals contribute to the regeneration of nature?
Co-creation and mobilization of multiple stakeholders is an essential point of departure for both long term strategic planning as well as in the development of specific projects, that will make a park appealing for both residents, user groups, farmers and visitors. In this session, NORRØN will share cases, best practice and strategies for using co-creation and mobilization as an essential and often underutilized driver for future development of European nature parks.

Led by Sonja Miller (Nationale Naturlandschaften, Germany) 

More and more visitors plan a visit to a national park in the digital world, long before they arrive. They are less and less receptive to signs and information centers. We have to be more present where our guests are: in the digital space. Two years of intensive work in Germany on digital visitor management have given insight on how to build useful structures such as ‘Digitize the planet’ to better inform visitors online. Can we further improve our digital visitor management throughout Europe to fully exploit the potential in the future? 

Led by Amy Duthie (Rewilding Europe)

Studies show that the ecological integrity of many protected areas in Europe could be improved; they are in need of ecological restoration. Rewilding is a cost-effective approach to restoration that creates benefits for nature, climate and people. Rewilding Europe and EUROPARC Federation have therefore joined forces to make a significant contribution to nature recovery in Europe through a new initiative, ‘Wilder Parks’.

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