What if you also became a nature guide?

With thousands of nature walks all year round, the associations of the France Nature Environnement movement provide the most curious audience with the opportunity to discover the nature of their region: spotting plants and wildflowers, watching birds, night walks to meet amphibians, reading landscapes, identifying delicate mammals … often making DISCOVERY AND GET STARTED TIMES These participants would like to go even further and deepen their knowledge of nature, or even become a nature guide! To do this, some of our member associations offer trainings in different regions of France.

Pierre François Perrier had the opportunity to follow that natural environment in Champagne-Ardenne (cane): Tell us!

who are you ? What prompted you to take this training?

Pierre Francois

In 2019, I moved back to Marne in Reims to develop my business: project management to implement environmental transformation. I work on projects that combine biodiversity and carbon issues, and on nature projects in the city. I love working in a very anthropomorphic environment; Before training, I knew more invasive alien species than native ones!

I wanted to get to know the ecosystems in the area better, and then, train myself to help people discover them myself. I was introduced to Nature Guide training by a group of citizens who wanted to set up a nature project in the city and urban agriculture. This training allowed me to discover or rediscover the ecosystems of the Champagne region, to meet with local actors involved in the environment in our region and above all to learn how to present these natural environments to other audiences.

Can you tell us a few words about what is covered during this training, and its goals?

small aquatic animal inventory
small aquatic animal inventory
© Champagne Ardenne Nature Environment

. has been trained 7 weekends from September to April, during the most appropriate periods for observing animals and plants (see brochure). Each Saturday morning practice starts at around 9am and ends on Sundays at 12pm. During the day we were outside to discover the different natural environments such as the bushes, forests, lakes and rivers of the Ardennes, Marne or Aube. Besides purely natural knowledge, examples of observational or manipulative activities have been shown to us so that we, in turn, would know how to suggest them.

In terms of investment, we were in turn responsible for producing the report of one of the training weekends as a team, half a working day.

Training allows you to get a solid foundation to become a nature guide, but be aware that each participant must continue training to become an experienced guide. You don’t become a naturalist in a few weekends 😉

What do you value most during this training?

  • Availability and upbringing of different speakers, good atmosphere with other trainees. On a Saturday evening, the whole group stayed in the same hostel, which allowed us to discuss intensely with the supervisors as well as with the other interns. This was very much appreciated by everyone.
  • Diversity of apprentices: teachers, hunters, retirees.
  • Discover very different places and learn about naturalists.

I especially remember the sequence “Recognizing Bird Songs”: something that seemed inaccessible to me before, even if I knew some of the birds that you often encounter in the city. Birds were discovered with a volunteer from LPO It completely changed my mind. Listening to and recognizing many songs has taught us: I haven’t heard birdsong the same way since.

Surprisingly, what surprised/distinguished you during this instructable?

I think of two moments in particular:

  • Night walk near Bolt au Bois (08). We moved as quietly as possible, sometimes we walked alone. We could hear the brown owl and guess its movements while enjoying complete silence during its flights. It is really amazing to try.

  • Observe the blueberries that grow in the forests of Ob. Seeing a vine growing wild and irresistible to man was a surprising and mysterious discovery. I was amazed by Liana’s free side. In addition, there are a lot of scientific questions about these wild vines. Usually, in champagne, vines are noted, pruned, and harvested!

How do you plan to implement this training?

Currently, I am developing a ‘Nature in the City’ activity for schools and social centers on an urban agricultural site located in Reims. The goal is to allow as many children as possible to learn about nature in the city and make them want to explore the ecosystems in our lands. Observations and manipulations are the focus of this project, as I applied everything I was able to learn thanks to the training.

Achieving a giant herbarium
Achieving a giant herbarium
© Champagne Ardenne Nature Environment

I also like to organize nature activities with professionals: for example, support companies to question their relationship to the nature around them. The goal will be to bring employees and managers into contact with “nature” and the animals and plants that surround them.

I am also an animator for biodiversity and would like to supplement this animation with professionally supervised nature walks in order to have the participants discover in concrete the interconnections with the ecosystems in our lives and our economies…

Who would you recommend this course to and why?

I have already recommended the training to many people, people committed to nature (especially people already involved in the Reims Urban Agriculture project) as well as professional relationships. For example, I talked about this training within the cooperative as I develop my activity. I also know farmers and fishermen, I recommend them to do this to make them want to discover the ecosystems in which they work.

Nature guide training in Champagne Ardennes

Nature guide training in Alsace

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