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The seminar “Public Health and Experience of Nature – the Role of Protected Areas” took place in Maribo Nature Park in Denmark from May 27 to 30, 2008. Approximately 50 persons from eight countries took part.

In the four sessions of the seminar, we were looking at the topic of Public Health and Nature, discussing the offer of protected areas to work together with the public health sector, and sharing our knowledge about target groups attracted by protected areas – both visitors and the service sector.

After the seminar the participants had chance to take part in a very well organized (thanks a lot to our Danish colleagues) post seminar site visiting tour. They experienced most beautiful places of Maribo Nature Park, traveled around the area of Guldborgsund municipality and visited Nakskov Fjord. The tour included visit in a very interesting art museum, sailing with an old post boat and 14 km ride with bicycles. A tan from the ride is still visible.

An introduction to EUROPARC Federation and its work took place on the last day of the seminar because the seminar was organized by the EUROPARC Nordic-Baltic Section. EUROPARC Federation is a great network for protected areas and nature conservationists across Europe, and it can be used as very effective tool for information exchange and partner search so the event was a great place for meeting new friends and finding partners for cooperation.

Written by Laura Jukame,
coordinator of EUROPARC Nordic-Baltic Section 2006-2008

The programme and (most) presentations are available to the right.

Session I – Public Health and Experience of Nature

  • Introduction to Naturpark Maribosoerne and its history, Lars Malmborg, Nykøbing Falster Environment Centre, the Danish Ministry of Environment
  • The public health sector realizes nature is important! Finn Berggren, Director, Gerlev P.E. and Sports Academy, former advisor to World Health Organization
  • Nature for Health: On the benefits of the outdoors for developing and industrialized communities, Sarah Pilgrim, Senior Researcher and IJAS Editorial Assistant at Centre for Environment and Society, Department of Biological Sciences University of Essex
  • Therapeutic Landscape – The  Greenspace Rescue Remedy, Terry Robinson, Natural England

 Session II – Working Together with the Health Care Sector

  • The Focus Areas on Public Health in Lolland Municipality and a special presentation of the concept of Walking Together in Nature, Jytte Møller, Head of Lolland Public Health Centre
  • The Challenges of Working with the Health Sector, James Parkin, Health & Recreation Policy Officer, Countryside Council for Wales
  • Working together with the public health sector, John van den Berg, Staatsbosbeheer, The Netherlands
  • How to engage Health Professionals – experience from the Natural England Health Campaign, Huw Davies, Health Campaign Manager of the Natural England

Session III – What do the protected areas offer?

  • Nature – prevention and treatment! Claus Jespersen, Head of Regional Office of Danish Agency of Nature and Forestry, Storstrøm
  • Challenges for intersectorial cooperation on nature and health: The call for evidence versus lay knowledge and the search for new health promotion windows. Jesper Holm, Associate Professor, Roskilde University
  • 3.000 steps a day – in nature. Healthy opportunities in Müritz National Park. Jens Brüggemann, Assistant Director of Müritz National Park, Germany -! Remark – unfortunately Mr. Brüggemann could not attend the seminar, but he has kindly sent his presentation for publishing in the website.

 Session IV – Who are going to be attracted?

  • Product development as part of destination management. Matti Tapaninen Metsähallitus, Finland
  • How do we increase the heartbeat of Nature Lovers? Henning Enemark, Head of Department, the Danish Outdoor Council

EUROPARC – and its work!

  • What is EUROPARC all about? Morwenna Parkyn, Communication Officer, EUROPARC
  • What has the Nordic-Baltic Section achieved during the last years? Rolands Auzins, President of the Nordic-Baltic Section, Latvia
  • The Danish perspective! Majbrit Lindstrom, the Danish Forestry and Nature Agency and Jan Woollhead, Nature & Environment, Region Zealand, Denmark
  • Some experience of other EUROPARC Sections – work of EUROPARC Spain, José Vicente de Lucio, Director of the EUROPARC Spain

Read also about our Working Group on Protected Areas and Health.