Marina Škunca | 21.02. 2024

Although usually dreary in this corner of the world, February also brings a glimmer of hope. With a little bit of sunshine, it feels like spring is just around the corner, and all of nature is holding its breath, waiting …

Hopeful and inspired, my mind buzzing with possibilities – that was how I felt as I walked around the WUR campus of the Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands, a few weeks ago. With Module 1 as a part of a series of three modules, our first training was successfully delivered. I’m sure the participants got a good insight into the concept of ecosystem services and nature benefits.

WUR campus: inspiring indoor garden of the Lumen building, photo: Marina Škunca

Module 1, ‘Learning the Basics’, provided a general overview of nature benefits (ecosystem services), methodologies, available guidelines and examples of good practice. The group work also provided many inspiring talks and meaningful discussions among the 28 participants from 11 European countries, experts with a wide range of professional backgrounds and experience.

The group work encouraged meaningful discussions. Harm Schoten (director of Eurosite and on the left) discusses the assignment with Eva Van Wassenhove (Natuurpunt) and Carlotta Maggio (WWF Italy Foundation), photo: Marina Škunca

 The training was delivered by Wageningen University & Research, Natuurpunt and Eurosite – the European Land Conservation Network, with a special lecture series by Dolf de Groot, Chair of the Foundation for Sustainable Development and Ecosystem Services Partnership. It was organised under the Erasmus+ project ‘Nature Benefits: from Theory to Practice (TUNE IT)’ as the first of three training modules in English, each about a week long. These will be adapted to the national context and presented by the project partners in four additional languages – Croatian, Dutch, Turkish and Ukrainian.

Next phase: fine-tuning of Module 1 and preparation of Module 2, ‘Putting it into practice’. The second module takes place in April and brings a series of four webinars that explore in more detail how to use nature benefits

  • in communication with various stakeholders,
  • while choosing the alternative solutions or planning the restoration,
  • for finding alternative revenue and
  • planning the management of their site.

In the meantime, we plan to follow in the footsteps of our Project Coordinator, Loredana Enachescu (Natuurpunt) – step out of the office and experience first-hand some of the cultural services provided by early flowers!

Project Coordinator, Loredana Enachescu from Natuurpunt, being inspired by the flowering Camellia, photo: Marina Škunca

Stay tuned 😉

The Erasmus+ project ‘Nature Benefits: from Theory to Practice (TUNE IT)’ is funded by the European Union. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Commission, nor is the European Commission responsible for any use that might be made of information appearing herein.