About the NATURA mission project
Natura 2000 network is an initiative of European Union established in order to preserve Europe’s most valuable and threatened habitats and species while ensuring that management is ecologically and economically sustainable. This means that Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves, but the areas of the harmonious coexistence of human and nature. The idea of European network of protected areas dates back to 1979, when the governments of the European Communities adopted legislation commonly known as the Birds Directive. In May 1992 the network obtained its final shape when the Habitats Directive, designed to protect threatened habitats and species across Europe, was adopted. All Member States are under a duty of co-working in order to preserve the natural heritage of Europe. The accession of Poland to the European Union (the Treaty of Athens in 2003) obliged our country to implement EU legislation into national law, which resulted in Nature Conservation Act of 16 April 2004.
Official logo of the Natura 2000 network
Despite the fact that Poland started working on the implementation of Natura 2000 network in the late 90s of the 20th century, the level of awareness and knowledge on the network are, unfortunately, still very low. Stereotypes and myths about the limited possibilities of economic activity within protected areas result in negative and hostile attitude of local communities toward Natura 2000 and often lead to conflicts.
In response to the low level of knowledge and acceptance of the Natura 2000 network in Poland, the Foundation for Support of Ecological Initiatives is implementing a “NATURA Mission" project, co-financed by the EU LIFE + program and by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. As part of our activities we want not only to raise awareness on Natura 2000, but most of all to fight myths and unfounded negative social attitudes toward nature conservation issues through the promotion of best practices and benefits of co-existence of human and nature.
The European Network of Natura 2000 sites in Poland.
The purpose of our actions is to encourage a positive attitude towards Natura 2000. We want to emphasize that the protection of nature is not based only on the prohibitions and restrictions and that mutual understanding and respect are the key to sustainable development with benefits for humans and wildlife. We also want to develop methods for constructive public consultations by means of Conservation Measures Plans.
Bory Tucholskie PLB220009 - the largest Natura 2000 site in Poland (over 322 000 ha).
Actions of the project:
Natura 2000 Information Centre - if you have a question concerning Natura 2000, if you need ad vice – wegan help you! We have organized an information centre with the support of experts in nature conservation, legislation, fundraising, planning, economy or agriculture. They will provide information and advice via e-mail or phone, as well as during personal consultation.
Consultations are conducted both in the office and field trips.
E-learning platform – if you are interested in expanding your knowledge on the functioning of the Natura 2000 network, visit the e-learning platform with training modules on a variety of topice concerning Natura 2000.
One of the modules of the e-learning platform.
Trainings and workshops - the inception trainings were performed within 16 Polish voivodships with Natura 2000 sites in which Conservation Measures Plans were to be implemented soon. The trainings aimed at activation and preparation of local communities to develop and implement the Conservation Measures Plans. Ten Natura 2000 sites selected by the General Directorate for Environmental Protection and the Regional Directorates of Environmental Protection have been invited to participate in further project activities. The trainings composed of six thematic blocks were performed within these areas. As a result, local communities gained knowledge on how to promote and develop their region basing on a Natura 2000 site, as well as learnt how to effectively create and implement a Conservation Measures Plan.
Trainings modules concerned several topics, e.g. local products, renewable energy, tourism.
TV series "Mission: Nature" – was broadcasted on Polish Television. Not only did it show the beauty of Polish nature, but also the exemplary cooperation of human and nature, the possibilities for economic development and social activity in Natura 2000 sites. You can watch it as well on the YouTube channel.
The team of the TV series "Mission: Nature".