Historically known as an unfailing source of creativity for poets, writers and artists, nature will be the primary inspiration for European Heritage Days event organisers throughout 2017. Celebrating the diversity of heritage values embodied in nature, this year's edition of Europe's largest cultural heritage festival will highlight the extent to which our environment shapes our lives and lifestyles.
Through an exciting programme that will take place at various places including local parks, historic gardens or national reserves, European Heritage Days will invite people connect to nature and explore its richness. The Heritage and Nature theme will thus promote the positive effects of spending time in nature and also the need to actively participate in preservating our environment.
For the European Heritage Days explorers, these thematic events will bring extensive opportunities for adventures through places whose marvels lie in unique biodiversity or astonishing landscapes. Local organisers, on the other hand, will need to think of new and creative ways to showcase the unique heritage values of green surfaces that surround us.
Some of the ideas on how to create great experiences during European Heritage Days 2017 are outlined in a draft case study paper by Interpret Europe, which represents an inspiring resource for planning and organising the upcoming festival. Through four key questions, the paper aims to give a number of ideas for nature-inspired events:
- Are there any remarkable natural features such as plants, gardens, animals, rivers, lakes, rocks etc. around your site that could be part of your visitor programme?
- Is there a significant link to the natural surroundings through built materials – or can you enhance the experience visitors can enjoy close to your site?
- Are there any public figures from the history of your site linked to a natural history topic in your interpretive programmes?
- Are you dealing with intangible heritage, such as legends or culinary delights, that are connected to nature on or close to your cultural heritage site?
These questions encourage taking a closer look at spaces that surround us and finding inspiration even in some seemingly everyday places such as city parks, private gardens or simply green fields in outskirts of our cities. This year’s European Heritage Days will thus allow people to peek into all the different places that are bringing energy and joy to their everyday lives, inspiring them to find new meanings and values of nature around them.