“Unexpected and memorable” are usually not the words that come to your mind when thinking of conservation conferences but this year participants of Europe’s Wilderness Days managed to make the event really memorable by raising more than 1000 euros for developing new infrastructure in the host park, Borjomi-Kharagauli NP in Georgia.
More than 70 experts coming from 18 countries participated in this year’s Europe’s Wilderness Days, the PAN Parks annual conference. Besides a series of thought-provoking and inspiring presentations participants enjoyed workshop theme related field trips and worked in smaller groups discussing different aspects of wilderness. A lot of discussion was initated by the experiences shared by overseas wilderness experts. Outcomes of the conference include specific recommendations and steps to be followed up regarding wilderness policy and research themes.
One of the highlights of the 3-day conference was an exciting auction for which participants offered items typical of their home country. At the actual auction participants could bid on the more than 40 different items including a park boundary sign and a ranger vest from Canada, books on wilderness from the US, glass jewelry from the Czech Republic, jam from Hungary and Estonia, beautiful handmade tablecloths from Turkey and the most fascinating item a 3-day stay in Pine Bungalows in Jasper National Park, Canada. Borjomi-Kharagauli NP received more than 1000 euros to prepare several information boards in the park to educate visitors about its wilderness area. Park Director Toma Dekonidze thanked the audience for the generous gift saying ”It looked like a funny idea but we never expected that much. This contribution really means a lot for us.”
Next year Europe’s Wilderness Days goes to Estonia where Soomaa National Park will host the event!