Nature and Society


Brabant pearls of biodiversity

         Project output and outcomes were published on the 'Biodiversity in Brabant' website. Visit the website...

In the spring of 2010 a unique programme was launched in the Province of Noord-Brabant: 'Brabant Pearls of Biodiversity'. (In Dutch the programme is referred to as ‘NME-arrangement Brabantse Parels van Biodiversiteit’)

There are many initiatives in Brabant in the field of nature and environmental education in relation to biodiversity. In this context ‘nature and environmental education’ refers to all activities aimed at strengthening society’s support for and involvement with biodiversity, and stimulating groups and organizations to undertake action. Unfortunately, the problem is that initiatives are often developed with great enthusiasm, but are implemented in only one municipality. As a result, the wheel has to be reinvented in other places. Another bottleneck is
that most projects are not followed up, and so have no lasting effect.

ECNC organized a Brabant Biodiversity Marketplace on Wednesday 17 November 2010 at the Province House in 's-Hertogenbosch (the Netherlands). This event highlighted the efforts undertaken in Noord-Brabant for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. The fair was funded by the Province of Noord-Brabant and in part also from the NME package ‘Brabant Pearls of Biodiversity’.

There is a need for more continuity in nature and environmental education initiatives for biodiversity. A programme is a partnership of users, providers, administration and innovators who ensure a good match between supply and demand of nature and environmental education. A programme:

  • brings supply and demand together;
  • helps administrative bodies to turn their objectives into deeds;
  • ensures that innovations (social / educational) are implemented.

A survey in Brabant showed that about 100 initiatives are working on nature and environmental education and biodiversity. Forty-four of these initiatives (‘pearls’) have been selected and were embedded in the programme. A steering committee and a project group ensured that the correlations are maintained.

The main aim of this nature and environmental education programme was to increase appreciation of biodiversity and to firmly anchor the application of nature and environmental education as a tool for strengthening biodiversity in Brabant society, by both administrators and target groups. This programme therefore seeked:

  • Activation: encouraging young people and the public to experience biodiversity and to learn about it and thereby be activated to take measures to promote biodiversity in their own environment.
  • Anchoring: promoting the anchoring of nature and environmental education & biodiversity in local, regional and provincial policy and encouraging administrators to recognize the value of nature and environmental education as a tool for integrating into other policy themes with a long-term impact beyond 2011.
  • Appreciation: encouraging end users to recognize the value of nature and environmental education & biodiversity in their own programmes and policy as a core task of their own organization.
  • Cross-linking: successful biodiversity projects are offered by the initiators in a coherent and demand-driven way. The providers link their activity to the direct demand of administrators and end users with an eye to scaling up and improving the effectiveness of the total offer. 
  • Broadening: biodiversity & nature and environmental education gains broader social cover by linking the theme to health and to new target groups, such as after-school care.
  • Scaling-up: existing initiatives are implemented in other areas in Brabant and in other provinces.

Activity packages
To bring structure to the variety of successful nature and environmental education projects available, they were grouped into six thematic activity packages. Each has its own target groups:

  1. Nature and environmental education: biodiversity syllabus (primary education)
  2. After-school care and biodiversity
  3. Schools in action for biodiversity (secondary and vocational education)
  4. Recreation, landscape and biodiversity
  5. Biodiversity in the fridge (about the relation agriculture – nutrition – biodiversity)
  6. The public and biodiversity.

Time frame
The Programme started in April 2010 and ran until the end of November 2011.


The Brabant Taskforce on Biodiversity was an administrator and client of this project. ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation and IVN Association for Environmental Education (Brabant branch) were responsible for coordination of the Programme.


Dutch national programme office for Nature and Environmental Education (Agentschap NL), Province of Noord-Brabant, 15 Brabant municipalities, water boards, nature and environmental organizations, community organizations in the fields of agriculture, recreation and after-school care, schools, local residents, green educational institutions, several entrepreneur groups.