We're sure you've got the 15th March circled in your calendar, but if not, just a reminder that the deadline for all programme content ideas is fast approaching!
If you've got a great project, inspiring solution or learning opportunity you would like to share with the world, here's your chance. The success of the Congress rests on sharing knowledge from all corners of the globe and we're sure there's some amazing case studies and stories out there itching to be told which can have a profound affect on shaping the future for protected areas.
You can submit a proposal for programme content through the World Parks Congress website. Applications close 15 March 2014. For further information, please visit the website.
She conquered adversity to became the youngest person to sail unassisted around the world, she's skippered the youngest crew ever to compete in the iconic Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, was named one of the top young adventurers by the National Geographic, is passionate about the marine environment and received an Order of Australia Medal for services to sailing and being a role model for youth.
She has now thrown her support behind the IUCN World Parks Congress!
Who is it? The humble and extraordinarily determined and talented Jessica Watson.
Since her voyage Jessica has displayed maturity and dignity beyond her years, becoming a role model for young people all over the world. Her voyage has inspired thousands of people of all ages to take up sailing and to respect and love the marine environment.
Jessica hopes to continue to inspire young people, other adventurers and everyone with a dream in their heart.
Apart from the World Parks Congress, 2014 is shaping up to be another big year for this Aussie adventurer with a movie about her incredible story due to be released in Australia this year by Paramount Pictures.
Stay tuned for more details about Jessica's involvement in the World Parks Congress.
Celebrations of Australia's parks are in full swing this month with Parks Week kicking off 3-9 March.
Now in its third year, the celebratory week organised by Parks Forum aims to celebrate our wild spaces and encourage the community to connect with nature through a range of activities organised in various parks and reserves across Australia and New Zealand. This includes a mountain bike challenge from the stunning NSW Pilliga Forest to the Salt Caves, offering a new route for cyclists.
The Hon. Robyn Parker, the NSW Environment Minister and co-hosting Minister for the World Parks Congress, said: “In celebrating this week we want to create opportunities for the community to come together and connect with these special places that not only conserve our unique environment but provide endless benefits to the community."
More information about Parks Week can be found at: www.parksforum.org.
As we move towards the Congress, we'd like you to get to know a little about the topic area experts who are leading the streams.
In this edition we meet Grace Mwaura, from the Inspiring a New Generation Stream.
How did you come to be involved with Protected Areas?
My first volunteer work as an undergraduate was at an orphanage, taking care of young elephants whose mothers had been poached. Since then I have come to appreciate the role of protected areas in safeguarding our wildlife, protected areas more broadly, the people who depend on these.
Why are you passionate about Protected Areas?
It is the rational thing to be passionate about. My particular interest in conservation has been how we communicate and engage. As a Kenyan, I have daily interaction with the realities, benefits and impacts of protected areas on people, the economy, the culture and the politics. I have become passionate about the things that connect the systems of the world I live in, and protected areas are at the centre of these systems.
Why is your stream important?
Inspiring a new generation means more than just a congress stream. It’s about enabling a generation to truly understand the need for protected areas, and mobilizing their energy and passion towards supporting long term plans for the sustenance of protected areas.
What do you hope the IUCN World Parks Congress achieves?
I am hoping that a new generation, old and young, will be inspired to become leaders in the conservation community. I am also hoping that in Australia, a global movement of people, of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and ages, will be born. This is the movement - the generation - that will revolutionize our perceptions of nature, how we use nature and how we politicize nature. This is the movement that will safeguard our protected areas for the generations beyond this century. Having worked with youth movements before, I can’t wait to see the impacts of this stream to the next generation of conservation leaders around the world.
What’s been your most memorable experience within a Protected Area?
Spending a day at the Luneburg Heath Nature Reserve in summer 2013, and just marveling at the blooming heathland; something we don’t have in tropical countries like mine. It’s because the area is protected that I had the pleasure of enjoying its serenity. How can I communicate these life-changing experiences of nature to others, and engage them in appreciating and taking part in the production of nature?
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