European Commission representatives work alongside environmental NGOs and get their hands dirty for nature in Brussels

On Monday 21st November senior representatives from the Directorate General of the Environment of the European Commission, alongside other European environmental NGOs, gathered at the Plateau de la Foresterie Natura 2000 area in Brussels to get their hands dirty for nature by becoming green volunteers for a day.

Volunteer Management in European Parks

The event was organised by the EUROPARC Federation, the voice of Europe’s protected natural areas, to mark the European Year of Volunteering and as part of the project ‘Volunteer Management in European Parks’.

With the enthusiasm and joy that usually characterizes volunteers, 35 people from various EU institutions, international NGOs and other organisations got their hands dirty working for nature conservation for a day last Monday. With this special initiative the volunteers celebrated the European Year of Volunteering together through a hands-on activity: cutting down and removing invasive plants, Japanese Knotweed, in a Natura 2000 site in Brussels. All participants received a jacket and a personalized certificate at the end of the day.
One of the societal sectors that profit the most from volunteering is nature protection. Green volunteers do an amazing job looking after our natural treasures and deserve recognition for their efforts. This event was part of a wider project, funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union, to consolidate the management of volunteering in protected areas across Europe. The project ‘Volunteer Management in European Parks’, running from November 2010 to December 2013 will provide quality standards for good volunteer management, training for volunteer managers across Europe and disseminate and research information on the benefits of volunteering in protected areas for the local communities and the volunteers themselves.

EUROPARC applauds the European Union is for recognising how essential volunteers are to our society by endorsing the European Year of Volunteers. A study from the European Volunteer Centre has established that volunteers represent the equivalent of 3-5% of the economically active population in many countries and they make a $400 billion contribution to the global economy. If volunteers were a nation, they would be the ninth most populous country in the world.

Contact: Federico Minozzi, Policy Officer; E-mail:; Tel: 0049 (0)941 599 35 98 3

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