Welcome to our new President, Stefan Versweyveld
We’re very happy to announce that Eurosite is kicking off 2015 by welcoming our new President, Stefan Versweyveld. Stefan joined the Eurosite Board at our Annual Meeting in Haarlem in September last year, and we are pleased that Stefan will now be filling the role of Eurosite President, following Henkjan Kievit’s departure. Henkjan is stepping down after eight years as Eurosite’s Treasurer and then President. Henkjan will be greatly missed and we are thankful for all the hard work that he has put into Eurosite and for all that we have achieved under his direction, including our recent MoU with ECNC, which Henkjan signed at our Annual Meeting in Haarlem.
Reflecting on his time as Treasurer and President, Henkjan said: “Looking back on the past eight years, I particularly enjoyed sharing my love of nature and I really value the good friendships that have developed. It is hard work to protect Europe’s nature, but I am convinced that we can get the job done if we join forces and work together. I wish Eurosite a glorious future and will continue to follow the network with great interest as a future associate member.”
Stefan’s interest in nature was first sparked when he was just six years old and at the age of eight he joined the local branch of Natuurpunt, the organisation he would later go on to work for. Stefan studied Biology at the University of Antwerp and after graduating in 1997 he immediately started to work as a professional biologist for Natuurpunt, writing management plans for their nature reserves (Natuurpunt manages around 1.5% of the entire surface of Flanders as a nature reserve). In 2003, Stefan joined the management of the organisation and since 2013 he has been the Head of the Projects and Grants Department, coordinating 60 projects on the restoration of nature, biodiversity, and heritage. Stefan also coordinates Natuurpunt’s European relations with other nature conservation organisations and public bodies.
“I am looking forward to being President of Eurosite. At the moment a lot of people in Europe are worried about their job, pension, education or safety. Conservation, restoration and durable management of nature and landscapes do not seem like priorities. But I am convinced that accessible nature reserves full of biodiversity and a well-managed countryside are of the utmost importance for the well-being of everyone. Living in Flanders, one of the most densely populated regions in Europe, I experience this every day.
That’s why I am convinced that Eurosite as a pan-European network can play a key role. Through sharing experiences and knowledge, enhancing and promoting the management of natural sites throughout Europe, we can make a difference.”