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Sustainability and Outdoor Education (SEE) Project

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Logo: Sustainability and Outdoor Education project
Logo: Co-funded by Erasmus+

The Sustainability and Outdoor Education (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 are proud to be the project leaders of the three-year programme and will be working alongside the following organisations:

Technical University Munich

Sport Northern Ireland

Image: partner logos

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

Folkungaland

EUROPARC Federation

Overview of the SEE Project

The SEE Project – Sustainability and Environmental Education in outdoor sports - will promote education in and through sport with special focus on skills development for outdoor sports professionals such as outdoor sports trainers, guides, or instructors. The SEE Project will also help to promote increased voluntary activities in sport, together with social inclusion, equal opportunities and awareness of the importance of health-enhancing physical activity all in a frame of sustainable development and in line with the new Green Deal for Europe.

  • 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 it is released to the public. The project will finish with an international learning symposium.
  • The SEE project will gain a greater understanding into the challenges and issues that outdoor sports can create or must deal with when using natural or protected areas. This understanding will be essential to inform the pedagogical processes developed.
  • The SEE project will identify good practices of sustainability and environmental education in leadership training across the partner countries, but also on a broader European context and from a global perspective. Good practices will be identified through a systematic search for good practice examples in the curricula of educating organisations like outdoor sport federations as well as through a practical exchange programme to share methods.
  • Based on the state-of-the-art in leadership training and the compendium of good practice from the exchange programme, the partners will develop further pedagogical methods to fill the gaps identified, face actual challenges and provide highly innovative methods to motivate outdoor sports enthusiasts for responsible behaviour.
  • The developed toolkit will be shared within the partnership and connected groups and promoted to a broad range of relevant stakeholders in European outdoor sports.
  • The developed educational tools will be implemented in a series of case studies to test the methodology and to showcase how to (better) implement sustainability and environmental education in the curricula.
  • During a number of training courses and multiplier events to promote and share the toolkit, important stakeholders within outdoor sport and the educational system will be trained with the methodology and act as further multipliers in the future.
  • The toolkit itself is focused on helping outdoor professionals like sports leaders, guides and instructors who are often at the forefront of introducing new participants to outdoor sports and natural or protected areas, to include environmental education in their business of guiding or leading outdoor groups. It will increase the competences of multipliers in the field of outdoor sport. As such, the toolkit will not only benefit the education system but also have a long-term multiplier effect by training later group leaders.
  • The project will also raise awareness on the importance of sustainability and environmental education and promote ethical behaviours and codes of conduct among sports people.

Why is the Project Needed

person riding a mountain bike (International Mountain Biking Association)
(International Mountain Biking Association)

The European White Paper on Sport (2007) highlights that “sport makes an important contribution to economic and social cohesion and more integrated societies”. However, it also highlights that “the practice of sport, sport facilities and sport events all have a significant impact on the environment. It is important to promote environmentally sound management, fit to address inter alia green procurement, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, waste disposal and the treatment of soil and water. European sport organisations and sport event organisers should adopt environmental objectives in order to make their activities environmentally sustainable.”

Outdoor sports have a real potential to have an extremely negative impacts on the environment yet can also really engage and connect people with the environment. This project is focused on developing mechanisms to train instructors, guides, and leaders on how to communicate good environmental practices and ethics and thereby reduce this impact.

Furthermore, the new European Green Deal highlights that environmental responsibility is now rightly at the core of European thinking and this project recognises the needs to promote sustainability in outdoor sports.

Finally, there is a recognition that if participation in outdoor sports continues to grow and more people access natural and protected areas – it is imperative that they understand how to mitigate and minimise negative impacts. Failure to do so could result in restrictions or exclusion and the benefits that can be accrued through outdoor sports would not be realised, while the opportunities for more people to participate in such health enhancing physical activity could be diminished.

Who Will Benefit from the Project?

There will be a range of beneficiaries from this project:

Participants/Citizens – Ultimately this project is about the citizens of Europe enjoying a better, healthier, and happier lifestyle.

The European Commission – This piece of work will be of real benefit to the Commission to showcase how sports can step up to the expectations under the New European Green Deal.

National Agencies – National Agencies are involved in setting the policy agenda for developments that can effectively increase participation in Sport and Health Enhancing Physical Activity.

European and National Federations of Outdoor Sports – The project will provide Federations of Outdoor Sport with information, data, and toolkits to more effectively train their instructors, leaders, and guides to communicate environmental ethics, messages, and sustainability to their participants.

Protected Area Managers and Park Authorities – The environmental authorities will be able to share the information from the analysis to help set policy that reduces restrictions where appropriate for those who understand the ethics and responsibilities of the outdoor sports participants.

Project Partners – The project partners have all articulated the need to be able to effectively train instructors, leaders, and guides in outdoor sports into how to most effectively manage environmental issues at a local regional and international level.

Official social media handles

Instagram: SEE Project Europe (see_project_eu)

Facebook: @See.Project.Europe

Twitter: SEE_Project_EU

Hashtag #SEE-project #europeoutdoors #natureconservation #SEEOutdoorChange

Project Webinar and Launch of Survey

Image: Outdoor Sports - engaging with or using nature? survey

The SEE Project has been officially launched and there is a call for contribution to a survey on Outdoor Sports in Protected Areas, which will provide inputs for the research part of the project. The survey is addressed to Parks and Protected Area managers or other professionals who have management authority over a publicly accessible natural area where outdoor sports take place. That includes all sorts of Protected Areas including Peri-urban Parks, Marine Protected Areas, Biosphere reserves, National or Regional Parks etc. In case your institution is managing more than one Protected Area, we would like to kindly ask you to submit several surveys – one per each Protected Area.

Logo: Leave No Trace Ireland

A survey addressed to the Outdoor Sports sector will follow later and will be prepared by the SEE project partners. The SEE project will then analyse the data and its outcomes will contribute to the preparation of a toolkit for outdoor sports trainers and educators in order to ensure a more sustainable, respectful and enjoyable outdoor sport experience.

If you want to find out more about the SEE project, you can visit our website here or contact the project coordinator at noel@leavenotraceireland.org.

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