Partner countries, their projects and workshops
Four European Union countries - Finland, France, Ireland and Scotland - were involved in the LEADER+ 'Connecting People with our Peatland Heritage' project. Training workshops were an important part of the project. Each partner country hosted a workshop. The theme of each workshop reflected an area of expertise for the host country, with people from other partner countries attending and contributing.
Workshops allowed the participants to meet project members in other countries, see the results of ongoing work and discuss ideas and results. Crucially, workshops also provided several opportunities, through face-to-face contact, for people to strengthen their networks of peatland-linked friends and advisers across the EU.
The way in which people connect with peatlands and the degree to which they are already connected varies considerably between the four project-partner countries.
In Ireland, for example, bogs have provided fuel and employment, but they have also made farming and communications difficult. Now, as 'cutaway' peatlands are emerging from years of industrial peat harvesting, their recreational and environmental benefits are being recognised.
By contrast, people in Finland have long used the peatlands for recreation, including hunting and harvesting of wild berries. There is a very well-developed outdoor culture in Finland, giving potential for further development of tourism linked to peatland heritage.
International contrasts such as these illustrate that:
The way you connect people with their peatland heritage will depend on their cultural associations and perceptions of peatlands.