Submissions are now open for the European Natura 2000 Award to celebrate the Natura 2000 heroes and bring them into the spotlight.
- Conservation on land
- The Conservation on land category is aimed at conservation activities on terrestrial sites that improved the conservation status of terrestrial species or habitats protected on the site(s) in question. Applications submitted under this category would typically focus on best-practices or particularly successful conservation achievements.
- Marine conservation
- The Marine conservation category is aimed at conservation activities on marine or coastal sites that improved the conservation status of marine or coastal species or habitats protected on the site(s) in question. Applications submitted under this category would typically focus on best-practices or particularly successful conservation achievements.
- The Communication category is aimed at any kind of communication or promotional activities that explicitly focus on raising awareness or bringing lasting positive change in attitudes or behaviour towards Natura 2000. They can be large-scale, or small-scale actions, and their target audiences can be specific or general.
- Working together for nature
- The Working together for nature category is aimed at applications featuring a concrete positive impact on Natura 2000 through the creation of social or economic benefits for local people or communities, and/or through the resolution of conflicts bringing together stakeholders who were not originally inclined to work together.
- Cross-border cooperation
- The Cross-border cooperation category is aimed at any collaborative endeavours that positively benefit Natura 2000. These collaborations can be between different partners coming together over a common theme or problem, or they can be true cross-border collaborations across institutional, regional or national borders. They must show a concrete impact on at least one Natura 2000 site.
- Citizens’ Award
- The European Citizens’ Award is not a category but a recognition by the public of its favourite finalist. The finalists from all categories are automatically entered into a public vote and the finalist with the highest number of votes wins the coveted Citizens’ Award.
- The Natura 2000 network protects a wide array of threatened habitats and species across the European Union. The people and organisations protecting and managing the network deserve to be recognised for their efforts.
- Applying for the Natura 2000 Award has multiple benefits.
- All applicants, regardless of whether they win an award or not, benefit from having their work promoted on the Award website and to a wide audience across Europe.
- Finalists’ achievements will be promoted more extensively via European Commission channels, and in particular through the Citizens’ Award public vote. Finalists will be offered a complementary training on social media by an expert in communications with a proven track record in both profit and non-profit communication. Social media serves as a powerful tool for engaging with a wide audience, and the purpose of the training is to provide the finalists with the necessary knowledge and digital skills to promote the Award, their projects, and daily activities in an appealing and efficient way. In addition, they will receive tailor-made visuals that they can use to communicate to their own networks.
- The finalists will be invited to attend the Award Ceremony in Brussels. Before the Award Ceremony, all finalists are invited to join a half-day networking event in Brussels. This is a great opportunity to meet and exchange with the other finalists and representatives of the European Commission.
- Winners will receive a small financial prize to put towards their conservation activities, in addition to all the benefits mentioned above for finalists. To celebrate their win not only in Brussels, but also back home, the European Commission supports all winners in the organisation of a local event.
- Here are the top three advantages of applying for – and winning – the Award:
- Get recognition for your work!
- Winning the Award has a very positive impact on the profile of your organisation and provides a clear and visible recognition of your work. Your efforts in helping protect Europe’s most valuable species and habitats will become better known to a wider audience, and showcasing your success story will also provide inspiration for others who manage and promote Natura 2000 sites. This is true for typical Natura 2000 stakeholders (for instance, conservation NGOs or public authorities) but also for less typical stakeholders (such as farmers, hunting associations, tourism organisations, schools, sporting associations, etc.).
- Increase your media reach!
- Having your work promoted on the Natura 2000 Award website, in the Award Newsflash and via social media results in a much-increased media attention and increased stakeholder awareness. Finalists will be offered professional training in social media communications, which they can use both to promote the Award and in their day-to-day activities. In addition, they will receive tailor-made visuals that they can use to communicate to their own networks.
- Receive benefits for your ongoing activities!
- Winners receive a small financial prize to help support their future conservation efforts and, of course, a trophy and a certificate. All finalists are also invited to attend the Award Ceremony in Brussels which provides a useful and exciting opportunity to meet and network with other Natura 2000 heroes as well as policy-makers and other stakeholders.
- Get recognition for your work!
- All types of public and private organisations – businesses, authorities, NGOs, volunteers, landowners, educational institutions or individuals – involved in managing one or more Natura 2000 sites across the European Union are eligible to apply.
- Applications must explicitly refer to one or more Natura 2000 sites. They can be written in any of the official EU languages except Maltese and Gaelic. All efforts are made to assess the applications in their original language, although in some cases it may be necessary to translate the application.
- Applications by multiple applicants are allowed, but one of the applicants has to be designated as the lead applicant. Applicants have to clearly present tangible results achieved in the past five years.
For more information, visit European Commission.