Last year, the EUROPARC Federation came up with the theme “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” for European Day of Parks 2020 on May 24th (EDoP).
“We could have never guessed how relevant it would be,” reads the 2020 guidelines for EDoP day. “We want to highlight the importance of positive contact with nature for human health”.
Created in 1999 to celebrate the anniversary of the first European national park established in Sweden in 1909, EDoP is held every year to celebrate protected areas and help bring people into a closer relationship with natural Europe. This year however they will have many of their actives, that normally take place on protected areas, online because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Join the celebration
The EUROPARC Federation will create a video with images, sounds and pictures all from parks throughout Europe, highlighting Europe’s amazing natural heritage.
This EDoP the EUROPARC Federation is looking to show the real value of parks across Europe, for people and for nature, and the services they continue to offer us even though most European countries are still locked down from the coronavirus.
For this, they are asking European residents to send them footage from your favorite park, from bird calls to wildlife pictures and videos that showcase just how special these places are. The video once compiled, will be released on the 24th of May.
You can send your picture, video or audio with the park name and credit info to email@example.com
For our health
EUROPARC focuses on all of the benefits Europe and Europeans gain from her protected areas. This year they are focusing their efforts on EDoP to promote “Green Exercise,” what they describe as a relatively new field of work that focuses around the effects of specifically outdoor activities for physical and mental well-being.
“The organization has compiled a suite of case studies from the EUROPARC network to demonstrate the important work that Protected Areas are doing in the field of health,” reads the EUROPARC website.
“They show the work that Protected Areas and agencies in Finland, France, Latvia, Spain and the UK are undertaking in different health policy areas […] they demonstrate the significant contribution that parks make to human health and well-being…”
Studies in Finland demonstrated that more than 80% of visitors to Finland’s Pyhä-Luosto National Park in Lapland reported that their social, psychological, and physical well-being were improved by a visit or multiple visits to the park.
Studies done in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales found that walking in a National Park was of such benefit – even when only done on a fortnightly basis, as to make reasonable the designation of green spaces as “public health assets”.
Programs launched in three protected areas across northern France aim to challenge French citizens to resist sedentary lifestyles and get out into nature for exercise to improve public health. The programs were launched with support from public-private partnerships in the sectors of tourism, sport, health, and environment, and include things like a 10,000 steps-a-day in nature challenge.
Even though many parks are beyond the reach of quarantining Europeans right now, it’s always worth taking a day to celebrate our countrys’ natural heritage.