As a first working step, the VDN carried out a survey amongst Regional Nature Park associations and responsible authorities. In the questionnaire, the associations were asked about the main fields of work and objectives of their parks. What are the park’s activities in the field of nature conservation? What do they do to promote sustainable development of rural areas and sustainable tourism? How are the associations and parks organised and managed? What types of educational programmes do they offer? These and other questions were asked in an online survey and later analysed in detail.
To promote the direct exchange between European Regional Nature Parks and to collect best practice examples, from February to June 2016, the Verband Deutscher Naturparke visited numerous parks, park associations, responsible ministries and park partners in 11 countries throughout Europe.
Despite their vital importance for the sustainable development of rural areas in Europe, the value and potential of European Nature-Regional-Landscape Parks is largely untapped. Therefore, a key issue of the project was to highlight the importance of these parks for nature conservation, environmental education, sustainable regional development and environment-friendly tourism to politicians and decision makers. In 2017, the VDN and EUROPARC Federation presented the results of the study in Brussels at the First European Summit of Regional Nature Parks.
The project culminated in a book showing the tasks and objectives, the diversity and the value of European Regional Nature Parks. In this publication, park association from 22 European states present the work of their Regional Nature Parks in an individual chapter. It was the first time that the work and achievements of Europe’s Nature, Regional and Landscape Parks was presented altogether in one book. Furthermore, the main project results were summarised in a brochure.