Europe and Central Asia
23 Apr 2015

Show that you care: support your favourite nature sites

Doñana, Spain © Lugares Para Visitar - flickr
By Communications

Send in your “gesture for nature” to show that you care about Europe’s richest nature sites.

May 21st is Natura 2000 Day, celebrating Europe’s largest network of protected areas. Sadly, many of these places are not being protected and so are deteriorating and being destroyed every day. SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) is trying to stop this by running a campaign to raise the awareness of EU citizens about the importance of Natura 2000 sites and why we should protect them. So from April 27 to May 21, please lend your support and send in your “gesture for nature” to show EU decision makers that you want to protect wildlife and natural spaces.

There are more than 27,000 remarkable places, covering about 1 000 000 km2, that make up the Natura 2000 Network. It includes famous and stunning places like the Danube Delta and the Bialowieza Forest. The Natura network provides many benefits beyond nature conservation. They bring in about €200-300 billion/year and so are good for society and the economy. But despite this, and despite its 20-year history, few EU citizens know that the network even exists. This leads decision makers to only dedicate little money to support them.

“As a consequence, many Natura 2000 sites have been deteriorated by pollution, drainage of wetlands and agricultural expansion, the spread of invasive alien species and lack of good management. Some sites are being entirely swallowed up by urban sprawl or cut in half by transport and energy infrastructure built without any consideration for nature” explains Wouter Langhout, EU Nature Policy Officer at BirdLife Europe.

This is why BirdLife’s Spanish Partner SEO/and the Spanish news agency EFE are taking action to spread the word to EU citizens about the stunning riches of Europe’s Natura 2000 sites. This comes at an incredibly important time because nature protection laws in Europe are in jeopardy.

How to support Natura 2000 sites

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Support the Natura 2000 network by uploading a picture of yourself making the “butterfly gesture” with your hands on the campaign website. If you post your photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, please tag it with #Natura2000Day.

On May 21st, BirdLife Partners across Europe will hold different events to celebrate nature conservation. If you wish to take part, check out the website of the BirdLife Partner in your country to find out how you can become involved.

As part of the effort to conserve the Natura 2000 Network, two activities were carried out last year in Doñana, Spain, one of Natura 2000's most important sites. The first saw the restoration of “La Rocina”, a stream that is the main source of water inflow for the Rocío marshes. The second saw the removal of lead shotgun pellets from Doñana’s sandy soils, which means that the hundreds of geese that come here every year will no longer be poisoned and killed.

Please check out SEO/BirdLife's “Positive Natura 2000 Experiences”, to see other real examples of the benefits the Natura 2000 Network provides.


For more information please visit: or contact Beatriz Sánchez, SEO/BirdLife Coordinator of the Life+ Project ‘Connecting people with Biodiversity”

SEO/BirdLife and EFE thank the support of the European Commission and the EU Life+ Fund, as well as the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Biodiversity Foundation, Red Eléctrica and the autonomous communities of Andalucía, Castilla y León, País Vasco, Navarra, Islas Baleares, Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid and Cantabria.


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.