Though here in the United States "National Park Week" has come and gone, in Europe excitement is building for "European Day of Parks 2013."
European Day of Parks, a unique campaign day that will be celebrated on May 24, is intended to mobilize citizens to express their passion for nature through artwork. Activities are planned in Ireland, Croatia, France, Italy, Belgium, and Spain.
Participants are being encouraged to organize a silent walk and have the hikers paint what they felt afterwards; provide materials for drawing a picture or elaborating an artistic object; inspire participants to write a poem or story around the theme of this year's celebration, My Park. My Passion. My Story.; or compose a song and sing it with others.
Perhaps someone might be inspired to produce a film with parklands as a setting for hiking, biking, canoeing, or even paragliding over the protected landscape.
Protected areas across Europe will join this year's event with an eye on helping the day of celebration gain international recognition on a EU level.
Noting that John Muir once said, "The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness,” organizers of European Day of Parks note that most people do embrace nature in just that way. And this year´s European Day of Parks offers a unique opportunity for all those engaged in conservation and protection to express their passion through artwork.
My Park. My Passion. My Story. opens a new dimension of campaigning for nature as it connects art and nature and pays credit to individual approaches.
EUROPARC Federation members are at the core of this campaign day and aim in the Federation's 40th anniversary year to gain international recognition for the European Day of Parks.
“This would be a fantastic achievement for all of us, all who are investing their energy, time and passion for the protection of nature” says Chief Executive Officer Carol Ritchie.
Since its launch in 1999, the European Day of Parks has grown to a European-wide campaign day with hundreds of events and activities. It gains its strength from widespread participation of protected areas, agencies and organizations working in conservation. This year, a special invitation goes to the NATURA 2000 network.
Recognizing Rembrandt´s words -- “Choose only one master - Nature” -- the 2013 theme is accessible to all people, persons of any age, nationality, gender, profession, dedication.
“Everybody is invited to join the campaign and help to foster the recognition and respect for Europe's green treasures,” said Thomas Hansson, EUROPARC president.
European Day of Parks has the power to prove once again the value of protected areas for citizens as unique places of recreation and joy with a rich biodiversity of fauna, flora, and ecosystems. It plays a pivotal role in reminding people of the passion they sense when out in nature and experience it with all their senses.
More and more stakeholders in and around protected areas, in particular tourism enterprises, do recognize the added value of networking. The European Day of Parks is a great chance to proactively collaborate to sustain the protected area systems that is fundamental to our wealth and health.
Further information on the European Day of Parks My Park. My Passion. My Story, check out this website.
EUROPARC Federation is an independent, non-governmental organisation whose membership brings together organisations responsible for the management of most of Europe's protected areas. Currently it represents some 400 members in 25 countries. These include protected areas, governmental departments, NGO's and businesses in 35 countries, who themselves manage the green jewels of Europe's land, sea, mountains, forests, rivers and cultural heritage.