In 30 years time, the Eurosite network grew out to be the European network for natural site managers. This milestone was celebrated during our Anniversary Annual Meeting hosted by our member WWF Oasi, from 5 -7 November in Monticiano, Italy.

The General Assembly took place on the first day, during which the Dutch Province of Noord-Holland and the Turkish Nature Conservation Centre were introduced as Eurosite’s newest members. Also, participants voted unanimously to change Eurosite’s articles of association, thereby merging the European Land Conservation Network with Eurosite. Dr. Tilmann Disselhoff (Germany) joined the Eurosite Board, and Miquel Rafa (Spain) and Rhys Jones (UK) became the newest additions to the Eurosite Council. The evening was closed with a celebration dinner at the beautiful Spannocchia Estate near Monticiano.

The second day was kicked off with welcoming words from Eurosite’s president Stefan Versweyveld and Carmine Annicchiarico of WWF Oasi. Unfortunately our founders Nicole and Peter Nowicki were not able to attend. However, they sent a warm letter that was read to the audience (composed of 42 participants from 15 countries) by Eurosite’s Network Development Manager. Additionally, The European Commission’s Director for Natural Capital, Mr. Humberto Delgado Rosa, shared a wonderful video in which he emphasised the importance of international cooperation in conserving Europe’s nature. Furthermore, the day entailed a variety of presentations and workshops ranging from members keeping us informed on their ongoing projects, Crop Wild Relatives, Eurosite’s initiative to start with a new working group on remote sensing in 2020, a very inspiring speech by UNEP’s Dianna Kopansky on Peatland Restoration and investments in Nature Based Solutions. Lastly, Henk Zingstra, chair of the Eurosite Management Planning Expert Group presented the launch of a new online tool in management planning that supports natural site managers in developing their management plans. The group developed this online portal during 2018-19 as an outcome of their working group activities. The afternoon was filled with 3 workshops on European peatland restoration and management, management planning, and financing mechanisms for conservation. The evening was closed with the traditional EuroCocktail in which participants brought products from their own regions to share with other participants.

During the last day participants visited the beautiful Orbetello, a natural reserve managed by WWF Oasi. WWF site managers took the group on a tour to spot, amongst others, flamingos and spoonbills. All in all it was a very productive and special annual meeting, and a heartfelt thanks again the wonderful hosts of WWF Oasi!

Presentations are available on the dedicated event page.