Port-Cros National Park: Protecting Biodiversity Through Greater Public Awareness
The French corporate foundation has signed a new agreement with Port-Cros National Park in France as part of the TotalEnergies Foundation community engagement program, and in particular its climate, coastal areas and oceans priority area. The agreement’s main focus is to raise awareness among young people and the wider general public of the importance of preserving this unique ecosystem.
Port-Cros National Park: France’s Number Two Tourist Destination
Port-Cros National Park was created in 1963, making it Europe’s first marine park. Located on France’s Mediterranean coast, it stretches across 146,000 hectares of land and sea and encompasses two islands (Port-Cros and Porquerolles) and 11 municipalities, five of which adhere to the park’s charter (La Garde, Le Pradet, Hyères, La Croix-Valmer and Ramatuelle). The national park works to protect natural and cultural heritage from excess tourism, bad practices and other threats.
The “2021-2022 Environmental Awareness and Education” project, supported by the French corporate foundation, consists of several initiatives aimed at visitors to the national park. In response to a significant increase in boating and water sports, the park has designed a guide outlining best practices in areas such as eco-mooring and biodiversity-friendly behavior. Once completed, it will be distributed to divers, fishermen and boaters along the coast and be backed up by an awareness campaign among harbormasters and boat rental companies. In addition, the park plans to test out eco-guides in the areas around the five municipalities that have signed the charter. The guides are designed to inform summer visitors about the rich yet fragile biodiversity to ensure its protection. Special teams and information materials will be put in place to this end.
Raising Awareness of the Importance of Safeguarding Biodiversity
A visitors’ center at the historic Pradeau fort will provide information on marine, underwater and terrestrial ecosystems, climate change-related issues, best practices and other topics. The content and media are currently being prepared.
Bringing Young People on Board
As tomorrow’s citizens, young people are forces for change. For this reason, the French corporate foundation is seeking to support the park’s youth-oriented initiatives. These include upgrading the Port-Cros underwater nature trail and installing new signs to protect the flora and fauna, supporting the activities of an institution-backed network for underwater nature trails, organizing photo exhibitions on the park’s missions, and holding role-playing games to teach people about Mediterranean wildlife and the impact human activity has on it.
All of these initiatives aim to spread knowledge as widely as possible and thereby promote a better understanding of the need to preserve Mediterranean biodiversity. In this way, Port-Cros National Park is appealing to people’s sense of responsibility so that they treat these unique ecosystems with the respect they deserve.