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Posted on: 29th September 2009
The beautiful Vanatori Nature Park in Romania was the venue for the third Training Champions training module in September 2009. This marked the mid-point of a six-module series designed to equip protected-area managers in the Carpathians Eco-region with the tools to manage better this wild, mysterious and stunning region. It is just one element in a wider to effort to deliver the commitment to significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010 (photo 1).
The trainers-to-be came together in the village of Varatec, on the borders of the Park, for an intensive few days focusing on the development of sustainable tourism, management planning concepts and training/ communication skills (photo 2). The Nature Park also provided a further important theme – how to integrate natural, cultural and spiritual values into protected-area management. Its many monasteries, set in the forested landscape and over 600 years of the monastic way of life make it one of Europe’s most important spiritual and cultural sites (photo 3).
Grigore Baboianu, Governor of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, was a welcome guest, and gave a compelling account of the importance of the Delta and, in particular, of the importance of monitoring. This set the tone for the early sessions on monitoring of management plans and monitoring of tourism as part of sustainable protected-area management. Later sessions covered community and stakeholder involvement, training and communication skills, Natura 2000 requirements and environmental education. A day in the field, led by Sebastian Catanoiu, revealed the rich values of this Park, ranging from the serene and atmospheric monasteries to reintroduction of the awesome European bison (photo 4). There is fantastic potential for sustainable tourism development but also some challenges to link the natural and cultural heritage effectively.
Overall, this was an intense and worthwhile experience, judging by the positive feedback of participants, who, as they get to know each other better, are starting to gain significant networking benefits as well as direct benefits from the training. Having said that, we were all very aware of the resource problems faced by our Romanian hosts, and recognise that securing basic resources is a fundamental requirement for protected area managers. We all look forward to the next event, in Poland, in the spring of 2010.
Keith Buchanan, Rosie Simpson and the EUROPARC Consulting team