Commincation and education

The biological richness of the cross-border Maritime Mercantour region is the patrimony of all and is of fundamental importance for projects such as the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventories, which ensures wide dissemination of results and allows a strong involvement of the scientific community, especially on the local scale.

Indeed, so that all which has been started and achieved so far, and that the Inventory is known beyond just a few, there has been and will still be a developed awareness and education with the aim of:

  • Raise public awareness in science, taxonomy and biodiversity through activities with the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory
  • Develop new educational models in science education
  • Inspire, develop and involve “new minds” in the scientific world
  • Become a link between the scientific world and the general public

The collaboration with the Regional Museum of Natural Science in Turin has enabled the development of several initiatives to bring the public closer to the world of research. The focus of the project is directed both towards schools and universities. In fact, in 2009, the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime, set up an education and didactic “Biodiversità in valle Gesso” [‘Biodiversity in the Gesso Valley’] with local primary schools, with researchers taking part in activities linked to the Inventory project, the Regional Museum of Natural Science in Turin and the staff of the Parco delle Alpi Marittime. With this initiative, students investigate characteristics of natural diversity, typical of the Maritime Mercantour and communicate their experiences through the creation of scientific posters or multimedia programs. The initiative has been very successful and allowed the young people of the Gesso Valley to learn more about their area, which, until just a few years ago, was unknown.

For older children, it was considered important to involve “new minds” in the scientific world as a way to educate and appropriately manager their natural heritage in the future. In the wake of positive formative learning experiences, implemented in acts in 2008, 2009 and 2010 by the EDIT (WP8) with the Summer School in taxonomy, the Parc du Mercantour and the Parco Alp Marittime brought forward the initiative dedicated to university students (MSc and PhD), with strong application management and themes. The PIT has also opened up the possibility for limited participation by graduate students and active researches to work on the protection of natural resources.

The inventory has seen the creation of three Summer Schools, two in the Parco Alpi Marittime and one in the Parc du Mercantour, which had a total of 51 students from all over the world participate under the expert guidance of 26 teachers, ecologists and taxonomists from all over Europe. The topics were varied, trying to cover the many issues relating to monitoring the protection of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. The is not only in the Alps, but also in other territories subject to anthropogenic pressure.

With the Investario Biologico Generalizzato, there was an opportunity to present the Maritime Mercantour territory (and initiatives in science and education) in more or less strictly scientific contexts, presenting oral communications and posters, such as the Butterfly Conservation VI International Symposium, University of Reading, held in March 2010. In particular, there was the great participation in the ATBI Annual Conference in Tennessee, USA from 7 to April 2011. In fact, every year for the past 14 years, the non-profit organization, Discover Life In America (DLIA) organizes a conference to bring to light the latest research in the field of ecology as a means to understand, manage and protect the rich biodiversity of the Great Smoky Mountains (GSMNP) and the surrounding territories.

Mercantour and the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime were invited to present their experiences through ATBI project management, the first to be developed in Europe. It was interesting to compare the different active approaches by ATBI projects managed by Americans and Europeans and understand how the American project is funded on an on-going basis with the ability to expand to other states throughout their 14 years of activity.

As part of a major exhibition on biodiversity entitled, “Un futuro Diverso - Salvare la biodiversità per salvare il Pianeta” [‘A Difference Future – Save Biodiversity to Save the Planet’] at the Regional Museum of Natural Science in Turin in 2010, there was a major section on travel dedicated to the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, entitled “Taxon – Da Linneo all’inventario biologico delle Alpi Marittime e del Mercantour” [‘Taxon – From the Linnaeus biological inventory of the Maritime and Mercantour Alps’]. The exhibition consists of 60 photographs by Francesco Tomasinelli and Philippe Richaud and a film by Roberto Tibaldi that explains the project inventory through images of the researchers who participated in the activities with beautiful images of plants, animals and landscapes of the Maritime-Mercantour area. The exhibition was on display at the Galerie des Pechêurs in Monaco (30 June – 2 September 2011), recalling the close link between the Albert II Foundation and the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory. In the winter of 2012, it was welcomed by the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, one of the main partners of EDIT.

At the same time the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, through the images of Tomesinelli and Richaud, has been included in the exhibition “Inventari senza frontiere” [‘Inventories without borders’], along with other Inventory projects. This photographic exhibition, conceived in 2010 by the two Parks and the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, has been displayed along the Jardin des Plantes in the Museum of the Jardin Val Ramey in Mentone, with the aim of illustrating the biodiversity inventories within different areas of the planet.

From the beginning of the ATBI, more than thirty scientific articles have been published by expert taxonomists involved in the inventory. There are also numerous reports of these produced by students (graduates and PhD candidates) who, with the guidance of tutors involved in the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, have participated in the collection of species and a variety of genetic and ecological investigations.

For more information on research and references of scientific and popular publications produced by the project, please contact:

Luca Giraudo
Parco naturale Alpi Marittime
Sede operativa di Entracque
Settore Vicedirezione-Servizi Tecnico, Vigilanza e Conservazione
Strada Provinciale per San Giacomo, 12
12010 Entracque (CN) Italia
luca.giraudo@parcoalpimarittime.it
tel.: +39 0171 978809
fax: +39 0171 978921

Marie-France Leccia
Parc National du Mercantour
Coordinatore All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory - Mercantour
23 rue d'Italie
CS 51316
06006 NICE Cedex 1 Francia
Tel : +33 (0)4 93 16 56 95 / +33 (0)6 34 47 68 07
Mail : marie-france.leccia@mercantour-parcnational.fr


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