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Natural Heritage Mission’s 1st Summer School

09/07/2024

The Natural Heritage Mission’s 1st Summer School was organised with great success, from  the 18th to the  20th of June 2024, in Piran, Slovenia! The host of this 1st Summer School was the Marine Biology Station of the National Institute of Biology (Community4Nature project partner).


Thirty
(30) students from nine (9) Euro-Mediterranean countries (Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Spain) gathered together with a specific goal: to exchange ideas on nature restoration actions and priorities.

Starting from the New European Restoration Law, adopted by the European Council on the 17th of June 2024, and based on the topic: “Our Mediterranean ecosystems’ health is in danger. Time to restore it!”, sixteen (16) instructors were tasked with delving into restoration issues, such as transformative governance, opportunities and priorities for wetlands’ restoration, monitoring and maintaining restored ecosystems, stakeholders’ engagement, etc.


One of the highlights of the Summer School was the
field visit to the Škocjanski zatok Nature Reserve, a restored wetland in Slovenia. During the study visit, which was labelled as a 2024 EU Green Week event, a guided tour was offered by DOPPS (Slovenian partner of BirdLife). Participants, both students and instructors, had the opportunity to learn more about wetlands and their relevance to water resilience.


One of the activities most appreciated by the students was the
Team Exercise. It was one of the interactive parts of the Summer School focusing on the creation of a specific action plan, proposed by the students and coordinated by some of the School’s instructors, for a specific case study needing restoration actions. During this Team Exercise, participants were divided into six (6)  groups, based on the type of environment they were interested in, i.e. wetlands/lakes, wetlands/salt pans, forests/parks/terrestrial and marine. Each group had a different dynamic, but the result showed that a true  co-creation of knowledge happened and six  action plans were finally  presented, all of them well structured.


The 1st Summer School closed with a
ceremony during which certificates of participation were awarded  to the students.


The students shared some short messages about their experience in this 1st Summer School. Here are some of these messages:

  • I loved it! So first of all thank you. My suggestion would be less presentations or less dense program, more “workshop” activities and not so many passive presentations.
  • We could have focused a little bit more on the Law content, but it was great!!! Thank you!
  • Engage regional administrations of all over the Mediterranean (north and also south Med). I’ll do my best to spread what we have been talking about in Catalonia.
  • Thank you so much for this incredible learning opportunity and the outstanding organisation! Hopefully more marine restoration discussions will happen next time. Besides that congrats on this fantastic work!
  • In nature restoration, we have to stay open-minded & enthusiastic. There is a saying in my country – “quiet water rolls the mountain”. I believe that the way to success is by taking small but decisive steps.