IMBA Europe will participate in a new European Erasmus project called SEE (Sustainability and Outdoor Education). The SEE project aims to increase outdoor sports participation and enhance the protection of natural landscapes through education on responsible outdoor behaviour. This will be achieved through collaboration between outdoor sports professionals and conservation organisations across Europe.
Leave No Trace Ireland served as the lead applicant and will be the project leader of the three-year programme and will be working alongside the following organisations:
- Technical University Munich
- Sport Northern Ireland
- National Resource Centre for Expertise and Sport Performance
- The National Institute for Physical Education in Catalonia
- International Mountain Biking Association Europe
- Mountaineering Association Tara
- Surf Clube de Viana
- EUROPARC Federation
Over the three years, the project will aim to produce several research reports analysing challenges of sport in nature and the current developments in environmental education for outdoor professionals. An environmental toolkit will be created which will be specifically for environmental education and leadership training. The toolkit will act as a compilation of best practices, case studies and include new educational material for different landscapes/environments, different sports, different participants and different formats.
Several exchange programmes will take place during the project . These exchanges will be based in Serbia, Portugal, France, Sweden and Ireland and will bring together outdoor recreation stakeholders. The toolkit and the methods developed for environmental education will be tested and evaluated before the final publication. The project will finish with an international learning symposium.
Maura Kiely, CEO of Leave No Trace Ireland, says this initiative is poignant and timely, “Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns have shown the world that access to outdoor sport and recreation are essential to our mental and physical well-being. We need to have a co-ordinated approach to outdoor education across Europe to protect the environment for future generations.” Dr Noel Doyle, who will be the project manager, expressed his excitement for the project. “Very rarely do you get the opportunity for this level of collaboration across a variety of countries. The wealth of knowledge and experience presented by the partners will make for an engaging project with significant outputs”.
Mark Torsius, general manager of IMBA Europe, agrees that this project is perfectly timed. 'European countries that allowed outdoor recreation during lockdowns, witnessed a huge increase in trail usage by mountain bikers'. It's clear that all people that practice outdoor sports should do this responsbilly and minimise their impact on the natural environment. To best way to achieve this is through education. We are excited to work together with a highly regarded institution like Leave no Trace and all other project partners to create a succesful project with a positive impact in many EU countries'.
For more information, visit Leave no Trace Ireland . A project website will be launched in the next couple of months.
photo: H+I Adventures