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Natagora - Interview

  • Clio

The Ecomail team would like to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions in order to promote the actions that you carry out in your association "Natagora" to our users.

1. How was your association Natagora born? Where is your association located and what is your study area?

Natagora was born in 2003 from the merger of 2 associations RNOB and Aves.
RNOB is the natural reserves (conservation therefore) and Aves is the ornithological pole.

2. What are your main missions?

Natagora is active in the whole Wallonia-Brussels area. The main objective of the association is to halt the degradation of biodiversity and to contribute to the recovery of an better balance between human activities and environmental protection. In order to achieve this, she's assigned herself various missions.
Protect: more than 200 Natagora nature reserves, managed by numerous volunteers. are made up of diverse and often threatened environments. They are home to many of rare species.
Study: the identification of threats, direct support to the most threatened species, and the supervision of many monitoring programmes is a major concern of the association.
Getting involved: influencing political decisions, promoting biodiversity, predicting the damage to the environment, etc. that could be brought to him, react when necessary: the numerous volunteers of the association contribute to this on a daily basis.
Educate: training courses, regional centres for environmental education, awareness events, networking of individuals: Natagora is strongly involved in environmental education.

3. Can you tell us more about the 3 projects you have set up: - "nature at home": what are the annual counting operations? What is the purpose of this and, after data collection, what does it allow you to achieve within your association?

Created during containment, this unplanned communication/awareness operation was set up to meet the expectations of people who unexpectedly had time at home and who suddenly saw things in their garden, on their balcony,... that they usually didn't look at and even didn't know.

- Let's finally "bring naturalists and farmers together": can we explain how agriculture and biodiversity are closely linked?

We are talking about the Reconnect project here.
More info here: https: //www.natagora.be/news/en-3-minutes-decouvrez-les-liens-entre-nature-et-agriculture

- Can you explain this project to us? How is agropastoralism beneficial for biodiversity and why it is essential to reintegrate this method into agricultural management?

The starting idea is to promote our action by explaining the interest of sheep in maintaining open areas with high biodiversity. The wool of the sheep comes from animals that graze in nature reserves or Natura 2000 areas and from there we will design and eventually sell products based on this wool. We started with footstools, then lampshades for lamps and we are currently working on sweaters. The promotion of the products will play its role in raising awareness and the sale will generate income to finance the protection of biodiversity.

4. Among the actions that you carry out, you also create and manage nature reserves.
- What are the types of environments that have the greatest impact on your study area?

Although all environments are interesting, the focus is on the most threatened environments.
The forest is doing relatively well, so we invest the most in open environments.

- What is the process for creating a nature reserve?

One usually starts by buying a piece of land with interesting potential, if possible close to existing reserves. Then a management plan is decided upon and approved by the relevant authorities (in this case the Region), which hopefully will grant the status of nature reserves. The next step is to implement the management plan under the aegis of a manager and his management committee, often made up of volunteers.

- How many nature reserves do you manage within the association?

230 nature reserves, often fragmented territories that are gradually being connected to form coherent blocks.

- Do you observe a clear improvement in these areas transformed into reserves?

It's a job of patience for badly damaged land. We can see that with time and good management, biodiversity returns little by little. To take just one indicator, the number of plants can increase in a few years from a few to a few ... hundreds at a given location.

5. To complement your actions, you also propose other activities can you tell us more?

There are a lot of possibilities between going for a walk, following a training course, counting birds or butterflies in your garden, or encoding your observations on observations.be. With the magazine, our members also receive the agenda of activities.
You can follow us and our 114 000 fans on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter.

6. Finally, do you need volunteers and how can we join your Natagora association?

There are 3 main roads to reach us.
If you have time, you can become a volunteer in a regional, a reserve management committee or even in a support function (e.g. 2 volunteers who help us with requests and follow-up of legacies or a volunteer who comes to assemble welcome bags every week). The Board of Directors is also made up entirely of volunteers.
If you have money to spend on nature conservation, you can become a member and/or donor, or even the 2. 1/3 of our 25,000 members are also donors.
And finally, you can join the salaried team (130 people today) with all kinds of profiles from the naturalist to the accountant or the fundraising department!

Thank you for your time.
For more information: https: //www.natagora.be/