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Restoration Academy Strives to Engage Youth in Nature Restoration

Restoration Academy: Empowering Youth Participation in Nature Restoration is a 36 months long Erasmus+ project initiative of five ambitious European organizations. It aims to inspire both youth workers and young people to contribute to bringing back nature across Europe by providing tools for youth-oriented restoration activities.

Graphic: Sara-Sofi Alho.

Nature restoration refers to a process to support the recovery of human altered ecosystems. It is a hot topic, as combating climate change and ecological degradation is among top priorities for youth all around. Remarkably, little attention has been paid to promoting their agency and participation in nature-based and hands-on restoration activities. 

To tackle the gap, Youth Academy and the Finnish Nature Association from Finland, KMOP from Greece, Tree of Life from Slovakia and RE-PEAT from the Netherlands recently launched the Restoration Academy cooperation partnership, which will be implemented from September 2023 until August 2026. 

The project starts with mapping and examining the state of nature-based environmental education and both youth workers and young people’s knowledge on nature restoration, after which three nature restoration training camps will be organized in Finland, Slovakia, and the Netherlands in 2024–2025.  

One of the main aims for the project is to create an operations model for youth-oriented nature restoration activities, as well as other tools and communications materials on the topic addressed. Towards the end of the project training will be organized both for youth workers and young people.  

Why nature restoration? 

Human actions have altered 75% of the planet’s land surface. It is estimated that up to one million animal and plant species around the world are at risk of extinction. In the European Union, 81% of habitats are in poor condition and every third bee and butterfly species are in decline.  

Habitat changes, such as reducing surface areas and quality deterioration, are the biggest single cause of the loss of species. Practically speaking, restoring brings back more nature and biodiversity and thus is a significant means to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation and halt the loss of biodiversity. 

Across the European Union, the EU Biodiversity Strategy aims to halt biodiversity loss and reserve the negative trend in it by 2030. The EU Nature Restoration Law was approved by the European Parliament in July 2023 and is currently under so-called trilogue negotiations which refers to defining its details between the European Parliament, the European Council (governments of the EU member states) and the European Commission (the EU’s executive arm).  

Once the nature restoration law comes into force, it will strengthen fulfilling the objectives of the not legally binding strategy through creating binding targets for nature restoration across the European Union. All the EU member states will have to create plans for restoring significant parts of their nature, too. 

How to join? 

We are currently searching for young people interested in the topic to join a youth advisory board, which will be formed to support the implementation of the project.

RE-PEAT, being itself a youth-led collective, will form and lead the work of the board. Read more about how to join the youth advisory board here and/or from Instagram.

Later, there will also be opportunities for youth workers and young people to join the nature restoration camps organized as part of the project and workshops related to creating and developing the operations model. Trainings towards the end of the project will be open to the whole public.  

We also appreciate support to foster the visibility of the project by for example sharing its posts on social media platforms: You can tag us with #restorationacademyproject and #ErasmusPlus. 

Don’t hesitate to contact the project team and remember to follow up the partners’ social media channels to stay updated with the progress of the project!

More information:

Sanna Lindgren
International Affairs Coordinator at Youth Academy, Finland 
+358 400 827 413

Hanna Pöllänen
Project Coordinator at the Finnish Nature Association, Finland
+358 44 757 2903

Inquiries about the youth advisory board:

Frankie Turk
Network and Communications Coordinator at RE-PEAT, the Netherlands 

Co-funded by the European Union.
The European Commission is not responsible for the content of this publication.