‘Nature in mind: understanding our values’ was the theme of the EUROPARC Federation 2019 Conference, held in Jurmala, Latvia, on the outskirts of Kemeri National Park, 24-27 September.

Focusing on five topics – Politics, Business, Health, Arts and Creation of Spaces – all the participants had the opportunity to attend workshops, field trips and working sessions according to their field of interest.

In a plenary session, five guest speakers shared their knowledge, experience, thoughts and dreams of ‘Having nature in mind’. Rauno Väisänen in Politics, Anete Vabule and Mara Lieplapa in Business, Dr. William Bird in Health, Silvija Nora Kalnins in Arts and Simon Bell in Creation of Spaces. That gave inspiration to everyone to participate in a fruitful but also fun procedure throughout the conference.

Interpret Europe was represented by Athina Tsekoura, Natural Heritage Coordinator. Together with Kristian Bjørnstad, Country Coordinator Norway, an information desk was set up at the Marketplace. Getting in touch with 370 participants – professionals of the European protected areas and visitors of the event – gave us the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences and discuss possible future cooperations.

As Ignace Schops, President of EUROPARC Federation, mentioned in his closing speech: ‘…we are doing our best to understand what is going on… and nobody can do everything but we all can do something…’ so with ‘Nature in Mind’ we keep on working for a better future.

Athina Tsekoura works in the environmental education field and can most often be found underwater. She is IE’s Natural Heritage Coordinator and can be contacted at: athina.tsekoura@interpret-europe.net.