Country coordinators

Interpret Europe's country coordinators take responsibility for the development of heritage interpretation and of Interpret Europe in single European countries. At present there are 15 country coordinators leading their own teams:

Country Coordinator Albania:
Dorina Xheraj-Subashi

After finishing my bachelor’s degree at Bologna University, I came back to my home country, Albania, where I continued my study in Archaeology (Master of Science) and, years later, earned a PhD in Museology. During this period, I was employed as a lecturer of Cultural Heritage and Albanian Museology at Aleksander Moisiu University, where I still work and share my experiences with my students. I love teaching and giving students the best examples of heritage interpretation, not only because they need to acquire knowledge on their tourism studies, but because they should understand that heritage needs different skills applied to several contexts.

In November 2017, I initiated a cultural activity called “My Heritage-Heritage4All”, focused on the past heritage of everyday life and its presentation in an academic environment, such as a university. It was the first step where the students were at the core of it with their personal heritage objects, preserved in their houses for decades or almost a century. This initiative helped to involve people and create a cultural environment followed by dialogue and shared personal stories and memories of the objects, as well as by performed skills.

I hope to combine both academic studies and professional experiences from other IE members, to better contribute to interpreting heritage in academic curricula, freelancer guides and interpreters in Albania.

Country Coordinator Croatia:
Dragana Lucija Ratkovic Aydemir

I was born in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1969. Having finished studies at Zagreb’s legendary Educational Centre for Culture and Art, I enrolled in the study of comparative literature and art history at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. I was employed at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments at the Ministry of Culture in Zagreb, and then in Poreč (Istria), where until 2004, I worked on the safeguarding of cultural heritage. In 1997, I was awarded a six-month UNESCO scholarship for professional training in the field of the conservation and restoration of cultural assets in Poland.

In 2003, after the successful installation of a permanent exhibition of sacral heritage in Rovinj’s Franciscan Monastery, the Town of Rovinj (Istria, Croatia) employed me for the 'House of Batana' project. I successfully led this project until 2013 and it became the first ecomuseum in Croatia. This project was a turning point in my work and served as a case study for professional training at the Marcel Hicter Foundation in Brussels. In this European programme of education, I gained a European diploma for management in culture and cultural tourism in 2005.

I also established Croatia’s first specialized boutique company for management in culture and tourism. This company, called Muze d.o.o/ Muses Ltd, has a special emphasis on heritage interpretation and presentation.

In 2009, I was elected as the President of the Association of Mediterranean Maritime Museums (AMMM) whose centre is in Barcelona (a four-year mandate), and from 2010 the UNDP in Croatia employed me as an expert advisor for ecomuseums in the Coast project.

Since 2012, I have been managing a pioneer project of interpretation and presentation of nature consisting of 30 investments in nature parks and protected areas in the Republic of Croatia, financed by the World Bank.

In 2016, I was involved in the establishment of the Croatian Association for Heritage Interpretation Interpretirajmo Hrvatsku (Interpret Croatia), where I hold the position of Vice President. Besides this I am a member of various professional associations such as ICOM, ORACLE and EMH.

Country Coordinator Greece:
Georgia Kanellopoulou

I was born in 1978 and raised in the small rural village of Peloponnese. The olive grove was my kindergarten. In school I was interested in learning about geology, botany and the environment.

Through my first Diploma and Master’s of Science in Geo-Environmental Engineering, I considered environmental protection to be my main purpose. I worked as an engineer for almost seven years on environmental public health issues, solid waste management, evaluation of water and soil pollution, quality control on highway construction and on remediation of oil spills.

In 2009, I moved to a remote mountainous area called Zagori, a breathtaking natural and cultural landscape. In 2014, I completed my second master’s degree in the field of Environment and Sustainable Development and specialised in mapping geotrails in Zagori, which is part of the Vikos-Aoos Geopark. In order to have a deeper understanding of the diverse elements that comprise Zagori’s landscape, I began my PhD research in 2015 on the cultural heritage based on the geomorphology (including features such as drystone constructions).

In 2009, I quit engineering and I now work as a hiking guide in thematic and experiential tourism. Furthermore, I am a founding member and director of the Ecomuseum Zagori, which aims to protect and promote the cultural and natural heritage. The heritage is constituted by the landscape and its inhabitants’ testimonials, with its historical heritage, agricultural processes, crafts and customs, and natural landmarks. This heritage protection and presentation take place in-situ with these selected elements that highlight a specific topic and compose the local identity. In this context, geotourism and cultural tourism development were based on heritage interpretation so I trained as an interpretive guide to assist in delivering thematic hiking tours.

I work as a freelancer in the field of integrated sustainable development of remote areas based on local identity, heritage interpretation, social economy and environmental protection.

Country Coordinator Ireland:
Abby McSherry

I was born in England in 1967 and studied for a BSc in Physical Geography in Aberystwyth in Wales and emigrated to Ireland in 1996.  I have lived and worked in many parts of this lovely island from Tipperary to Strangford Lough and have now settled working in and around the eastern border area near the ancient Gap of the North. This was a strategic route into Ulster and a major centre of power in ancient Ireland. The landscape I now call home has witnessed many invasions, battles and historic journeys and is an area rich in legend. Here, CúChullain defended Ulster in the most famous Celtic epic the Táin Bó Cualilgne and here this ancient Iron Age culture is very close to the surface.

I first started practicing heritage interpretation working for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and later the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, where I particularly enjoyed exploring the links between arts and science. I then worked on a cross-border biodiversity project, a major part of which was the provision of interpretation across 23 sites and ten council areas, and it was during this that I ran into Interpret Europe and was encouraged to speak at the Swedish conference about the different aspects of interpreting everyday biodiversity to the general public. I have kept up my links with IE and am on the news team proofreading and editing the newsletter.

I am now working on a landscape scale project in the Ring of Gullion, a stunning but poorly known area, shaped by volcanoes and glaciation that suffered from a violent reputation during the Troubles in Ireland. This area is pulling itself up and away from this characterisation and is building itself a new vision from the grassroots. Our project contributes to this movement with the aid of fabulous events and festival programmes, investment in access to the countryside and other infrastructure and works to promote the unique biodiversity and cultural heritage of the region to tourists and locals alike.

As always, working in this field, I am a victim of short-term funding and short-term contracts. However, whatever the future holds professionally, I will continue in my voluntary work with the Louth Nature Trust running such projects as the Baltray Little Tern Colony where volunteers work to protect the birds and educate the public about them and manning a local bird-hide providing an educational guiding service for schools.

Country Coordinator Italy:
Maurilio Cipparone

When I started writing a short personal “Bio” to introduce myself as Country Coordinator for Italy, I realised that it would be too full of verbs like “I have promoted, carried out, planned, directed, chaired, established, founded (Interpret Europe included), governed, guided…etc…”. Probably boring and too self-referential.

In fact, I have been involved in environmental issues for 50 years. BUT, instead of recounting what I have done on three continents - working for protected areas, in planning, training, education, interpretation and wearing many different jackets to represent many different roles, from international and national NGOs, to National and Regional governmental Institutions and Offices - I prefer to share what I would like to do, to carry out the tasks requested of a Country Coordinator.

Starting from a reality, represented by a nation, Italy, which has the highest number of UNESCO WHS and the richest biodiversity in Europe. A country where heritage interpretation should be “business as usual”, carried out by a multitude of professionals and implemented in an immense universe, populated by so many historical towns; by more than about 500 national museums and national archaeological sites; by 1,500 national and regional protected areas where more than 1,300 heritage sites are conserved and, last but not least, a nation that has given birth to…(please select the person you prefer) and whose language is still used to indicate how an opera should be performed, or a music played. A country where heritage interpretation should be “business as usual”, then. But it isn’t.

I believe that to continue working for heritage interpretation to be rooted in Italy under the Interpret Europe flag, with the added value represented by a European Association, may make the difference and can also be useful to strengthen our consciousness of European citizenship.

Therefore, my commitment as Country Coordinator, with the help of a team of remarkable volunteers (wanted), will be spent to overcome the existing barriers between interpretation and universities; between interpretation and museums, archaeology, history, traditions, UNESCO sites; between interpretation and parks and other landmarks, with their nature and their local, ancient, cultures.

I (we) hope to help to create many “heritage stewards” and also to promote new job opportunities.

I (we) hope to contribute in promoting a stronger, lively, reliable Interpret Europe.

Country Coordinator Kosovo:
Kaltrina Thaci

I am a cultural heritage expert with an architectural conservation background gained in London. I also have a diverse experience in various projects of conservation, restoration, adaption, management and interpretation of archaeological sites, listed buildings and historic houses. In addition, I am very experienced in preparing conservation plans for historic areas as well as for museums, as I have been engaged in such projects lately. My attention to providing physical and content access to disabled people, and fire and health safety provision for the community, ensures that every project I work on is done to the highest possible standard.

I have been working with the organisation called Cultural Heritage without Borders Kosovo since January 2012. I have drafted the conservation, interpretation and management plans for the Castle and the Hammam in Vushtrri as well as for Prizren Fortress. In addition, I have coordinated the conservation plan for Vushtrri Historic Center, Prince Claus Fund emergency intervention projects and the emergency programme implemented in 50 buildings in Kosovo. I have worked in the interpretation of the Museum in Gjilan and Dragash, the regeneration of a historic street in Prishtina and I am currently managing the research and publications platform at CHwB Kosova. I also work as a cultural heritage guide for a Catun tour operator.

I graduated at the University of Prishtina, in the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, in 2009 and then completed postgraduate studies in 2011 at Kingston University London, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture; I  was awarded an MSc with merit in Historic Building Conservation. Prior to working at CHwB Kosovo, I was a freelance architect with nine years of experience in architectural design and I also worked at the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning in the permits sector. I am a PhD candidate at the Technical University of Vienna as well as an active member of ICOMOS.

Country Coordinator Macedonia:
Nada Andonovska

My first encounter with alternative presentation and interpretation of heritage was in 1995 during the General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) held in Stavanger, Norway. The video of costumed characters telling a story to kids in a museum made a lasting impression on me. I believe that was the moment when I set my personal mission to persue alternative ways of interpreting heritage. In 1997 I presented the paper, “New Methods and Devices in Presentation and Interpretation of Museum Materials”, at the Annual Conference of the Macedonian National Committee of the International Council of Museums and it was published in the journal Museologica Macedonica.

In the past few years my interest slightly shifted to the field of intangible heritage, especially to its links with the identity of its bearers. Having wished to contribute to the research in this domain of heritage in a scholarly and scientific manner, I got enrolled at the Postgraduate Cultural Studies of the Institute of Macedonian Literature in Skopje. I am currently working on my master thesis, “Intangible Cultural Heritage in Macedonia and in International Frames”.

Contact with the mission of Interpret Europe brought me back on track. My desire for conveying the value and meaning of heritage to other people was re-ignited after being acquainted with the interpretive approach in communicating it. So, the CIG and CIT courses revealed to me the ingenious methodology and techniques of implementing this approach. Although I might not have a chance to apply them in guiding of visitors, I believe I could make a difference transferring them by training other people. As IE Country Coordinator, I hope to successfully disseminate the interpretive approach to presenting cultural and natural heritage.

Country Coordinator Montenegro:
Bojana Sekulić

I graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Podgorica in 1998 and after my studies I did various office jobs. However, the value of tourism that I discovered during my two-year experience in one tourist agency inspired my efforts to continue my tourism story.

From 2011 to 2016, I was engaged as a Project Coordinator on numerous projects in the tourism industry. The results of these successfully-accomplished, cross-border projects are regional thematic trails and new tourism products such as the Via Dinarica, Shkoder / Skadar Lake Ethno-gastronomic Route and Honey Routes through Durmitor and Herzegovina. These activities were funded by the European Union within the IPA CBC Programmes.

Then, as a tourism development expert, I was engaged by several NGOs, local and national authorities, to develop the feasibility studies and strategies of some national and cross-border destinations – the Cijevna River (2014), Šasko Lake (2015) and the regional initiative Tur.Grate2 (2014). In addition, I was a member of the expert team engaged in the action to develop the projects of setting up thematic trails in national parks in Montenegro (2015).

I am now working as a hiking guide licensed by the Montenegrin Mountaineering Association. Through creating and leading hiking tours, I present my country – its nature, people, their lifestyle, gastronomy, products, history, culture and tradition. At the same time, I support local people to earn from tourism as well as from agriculture, and make sure that tourists from all over the world have a great experience. In that way I contribute to the sustainability of the projects I was engaged in.  

My enthusiasm to develop an integrated approuch to heritage is the main reason for my interest in the initiatives that diversify and promote tourism products of Montenegro as well as improving regional cooperation. Having this in mind, I believe the Interpret Europe network is a force for good in giving a new dimension to the understanding of natural and cultural heritage and contributing to sustainable development.

Country Coordinator Norway:
Kristian Bjørnstad

My educational background is in Human Ecology and Education, specialising in sustainable development and regional parks. I hold Master’s degrees from Lund University in Sweden and Florida State University in the United States. At present I am attached to the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Intending to research the emerging regional parks in Norway ten years ago, I instead became active in the regional parks movement. Since then I have been involved in establishing the Norwegian Parks Association and am now the Secretariat Director for this small but growing organisation. I am also building links between regional-nature parks in the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe.

I became interested in heritage interpretation through planning work in the Nærøyfjord World Heritage Park on the west coast of Norway. I am especially interested in how heritage interpretation can be used in parks and protected areas to connect people with place and to create good visitor experiences.

In 2016 I participated in Interpret Europe`s CIG course and the CIG trainer course. I am looking forward to increasing the interest for interpretation in Norway and the Nordic countries.  With Swedish partners, I am organising the first Scandinavian CIG course and launching a project on forest interpretation.

Country Coordinator Poland:
Magdalena Kuś

I have always been fascinated with the nature and education, that's why I decided to develop my competence in both of these fields. After graduating at the Faculty of Forestry in Kraków, I started working in Magura National Park, linking my passions and developing them in my professional life. As the Head of the Education Department I was responsible for creating and realising educational projects whose aim was to connect people with nature.

Getting to know the concept of heritage interpretation was a highly essential discovery for me. I strongly believe that first-hand experience creates a deep bond which can be the key factor for the protection of what we get to know. I observe this while working with local heritage as a guide and interpreter. The interpretive approach gave me a completely new insight into my job and developed my skills to help visitors find their own meaning and appreciate the heritage.

Since 2010, I have been the mountain guide specialising in nature tourism and outdoor education. I am also an Interpret Europe trainer for the Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) and Certified Interpretive Host (CIH) courses which help to equip people working in the heritage field with essential tools for fostering respect for all heritage. I am involved in spreading this approach in Poland and convinced that people can benefit from the heritage interpretation experience. I am especially interested in implementing the interpretive approach to nature education, led by heritage sites.

Heritage builds our identity and as a result strengthens our sense of responsibility for it. It would be a great success if more people in my country needed to ask themselves "why should I care?". I believe that heritage interpretation is a great tool for achieving this.

Country Coordinator Portugal:
Carla Silva

I was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1975. I lived there with my father from an inland rural village in mainland Portugal and a mother from an island of the Azores which are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I spent all my childhood enjoying incredible vacations going back and forward to my father’s village and my mother’s island.

I studied applied biology in the Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon University. I finished my degree working at the Oceanography Department of the Azores University in 1999, when I chose to live on Faial Island. In 2000, I switched happily from marine research to tourism and, for a couple of years, worked with whale-watching companies on Pico and Faial islands. I then decided to pursue the field of education, and went for a degree in teaching  biology and geology, again at Lisbon University, which I finished in 2005. By September 2005, I had started working on Pico Island with the regional environmental NGO, Os Montanheiros, which is dedicated to caves management and natural heritage awareness. With them, I coordinated their services in environmental education on Pico Island (called Ecoteca do Pico). I worked with several international projects and in more local ones, such as the awareness of local schools about the 2004 World Heritage designation by UNESCO of the Vineyard Culture Landscape of Pico Island.

In 2008 I obtained a post--graduate in nature conservation management at the Azores University.

In 2011, I was invited to be the Coordinator of the Environmental Education Department for the newly-created public company for nature conservation management on the nine island natural parks of the Azores where I worked until 2014. I then started working directly for the Azores Government, in the Services for Nature Conservation and Environmental Awareness, based on Pico Island. Here I became even more interested in heritage interpretation as I started being a trainer for the courses of Azores Natural Parks Guides, which I have done since their first course in 2015.

I am the co-author of the book A história do Zeca Garro, a children’s book where the main character is a Cory’s Shearwater, a protected migratory marine bird species.

Since 2012 I have been a volunteer member of the educational staff of the Azores Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark and also of the NGO Os Montanheiros, where I have been the president of the Pico group since 2017. In both, I focus on geo-education for schools and for tourist companies.

I love communicating, teaching and helping people to create connections between nature and local culture.

I am always looking to improve myself and learn new tools and this was how I found Interpret Europe.

As an IE Country Coordinator, I am very excited to find new members for our network and to help in spreading the message of this great approach using first-hand experiences for visitors and finding deeper meanings in heritage.

Country Coordinator Romania:
Eliza Marin

I was born in 1991 and studied at the University of Bucharest, receiving a degree, in 2009, in European Studies. I concluded my academic development with a master’s degree in World Heritage Studies. Because of my new study programme, I emigrated first to Germany, in 2013, where I trained and researched for a short period before spending longer in Turkey, Albania, and Finland before I settled back home.

Through my training, I have had first-hand experience in researching the identification, assessment and management of diverse heritage sites in Europe. For example, I drafted a financial plan for Suomenlinna World Heritage site, researched the nomination of Rosia Montana on the UNESCO InDanger list as a cultural landscape and examined the expansion of the ancient and primeval beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe.

As an emerging World Heritage professional, I have had the chance to collaborate with institutions that deal with both legislation and research of heritage. The resulting understanding has steered my decision to dedicate the final stage of my second academic degree to studying biodiversity protection through ecotourism and agroforestry in a protected area for my master’s thesis.

Considerable exposure to rural agricultural practices in Romania has given me a valuable insight into assessing the genotypes of crops and animals and ecological conditions, and understanding the local management of ecosystems. This was informed by values-based and people-centred approaches which I consider extremely relevant and applicable to the sustainability debate.

My latest activities as a speaker are delivering workshops on heritage activism within Balkan organizations and facilitating conferences on heritage at the European Council. Today, I offer independent consultancy and research in the field of heritage management.

Why interpretation, you might ask?

I had my first encounter with interpretation during my training with Cultural Heritage without Borders. During my thesis, I studied one of the most diverse biodiversity locations in Europe, but I ended up having trouble finding a field that would aid me in valorizing the site in a non-imposing way and informing the managers of practices that were achievable.

At the time I didn't know it was called interpretation but, with little research, I found something that seemed promising.

Since I have come in contact with heritage interpretation, it seems as though I have learned another language: an idiom of kindness and simplicity, of listening and communicating more effectively. I do not any way want to imply that interpretation will solve all conservational problems or other self-fabricating issues that our generation faces. What I do believe is in interpretation’s potential to relate to and include people in experiencing heritage in a more meaningful manner. At the same time, working together in a European context could facilitate a more realistic and measurable way to manage the challenges of safeguarding nature and culture.

Country Coordinator Serbia:
Gordana Milanović

I have completed bachelor and master studies in art history at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, as well as master studies at the UNESCO Chair for Cultural Policy and Management at the University of Arts in Belgrade and the University Lumiere Lion II in France. As a most successful student, I received a scholarship for study research in Paris in 2014. In 2016, I won the National Museum of Serbia award for the best master thesis defended in 2014/2015.  

I have gained practical experience through internships at the National Museum of Serbia, the Central Institute for Conservation, the Ministry of Culture and Information (Desk Creative Europe), the Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection. Gradually, my interest was increasingly focused on the field of cultural heritage and its interpretation and promotion.

As a co-founder of the NGO Center for Research and Promotion of Cultural Heritage HeriTag, I fully dedicate myself to the research, protection and interpretation of the local heritage. Advocating a participatory approach in the process of defining, preserving and presenting local cultural heritage, we open a space for the dialogue between past and present, between communities and heritage, in order to protect and promote the cultural identity of the places and people living in them. Using digital technologies, we discover new interactive and creative ways to interpret the heritage of local communities in order to increase its attractiveness, as well as the accessibility of cultural content to the broader public.

My work is also focused on community museums, researching methods and models of their functioning. An important segment of my interests is the education of children and young people about the significance and values of local heritage.

I am a member of the ICOM Serbia Commission for the organisation of seminars and museum counseling.

Country Coordinator Slovakia:
Juraj Svajda

I am assistant professor at Matej Bel University in Slovakia, where I specialise in teaching and research related to nature conservation and management of protected areas, including ecosystem services and human dimensions of natural resources management.

I believe that a theoretical knowledge and previous experience in conservation of heritage, and also a connection between nature and culture and interpretation, together play an important role in society. During my research in Slovak protected areas, I have found that the quality of interpretation of the natural heritage – if it exists at all – is very weak compared to other countries. However, if we are unable to communicate the meaning and value of protected areas to visitors and to mediate scientific information to the public, we are unable to change their behaviour and attitudes. Typical examples are educational trails and the interpretation of natural disturbance – e.g. bark beetle infestations – in national parks.

Therefore, my main goal and motivation is to start a systematic and coordinated approach to better planned interpretation in Slovakia and create a network of people who will work on it.

Country Coordinator Slovenia:
Janja Sivec

When finishing my university degree in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the Faculty of Art in Ljubljana, several things happened in a very short time. I got sucked into the NGO sector and EU projects, became impressed and intrigued with heritage interpretation and was present when Interpret Europe was established in 2010 in Slovenia.

Being familiar with the possibilities of different EU programmes (today’s Erasmus +) and having met all the wonderful interpreters, I went on two different exchanges. The first was job-shadowing in Scotland with ARCHnetwork and the second was 12 weeks’ practical work with TellTale in the UK. Those two experiences helped me immensely to see the practical aspects of interpretation and gave me the professional direction that I follow.

Since 2013, I have been the leader of NGO Legends. We research, promote and interpret heritage. We do a lot of different activities for children and youth and educational programmes for professionals in tourism and the heritage sector.

I am also an Interpret Europe trainer for Certified Interpretive Guides (CIG) and Certified Interpretive Hosts (CIH); programmes that are doing very well and have opened several doors for interpretation in Slovenia. From time to time I also help the IE social media team.

Most of my current work is leading different courses, but I still love to work as a guide and deliver pedagogical programmes for youth and children. They are the best of critiques. I enjoy combining heritage interpretation with the methodology of youth work, because they both offer methodology that is so close to my heart. Practice what you preach!

Country Coordinator Switzerland:
Sebastian Bellwald

I am geographer and economist. In combining these disciplines, I have been shaping regional development in Switzerland for 20 years. Convinced that individuals are the driving force for developing their environment, I have put knowledge- and networking-management at the centre of my interest and daily business.

Unsurprisingly, these competences are also the core of my own consulting company, named PLANVAL. Together with my colleagues, I have initiated and executed numerous projects in the field of regional development and sustainable tourism. Thereby I came across the power of interpreting natural and cultural heritage to visitors and realised the still untapped potential for interpretation in Switzerland. The country has rich landscapes, cultural and historical sites, and a high diversity of folklore. However, interpreting this richness is still in its infancy.

Convinced by the power of interpretation, and driven by my spirit of innovation, I engaged with heritage interpretation in 2003. Persuaded by the creative force of networks at different scales, I became a co-founder of Interpret Europe and volunteered to become the Country Coordinator Switzerland: to be able to contribute to this international network but also to let Switzerland benefit from the experience and knowledge of IE. As Country Coordinator, I will contribute to IE and to heritage interpretation as a profession with the following actions:

  • Bring heritage interpretation to the attention of professional individuals, organisations and institutions related to heritage interpretation in Switzerland to increase the quality of interpretation-products in Switzerland;
  • Create and strengthen networks of professional individuals, organisations and institutions related to heritage interpretation in Switzerland and supporting international networking activities;
  • Strengthen the presence of Interpret Europe as an international network for the interpretation field in Switzerland; and
  • Attract new members by pointing out the operational opportunities of Interpret Europe and the meaning of heritage interpretation.

Country Coordinator Ukraine:
Nataliia Gudkova

I'm an Assistant Professor at the State Ecological Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management in Ukraine. I specialise in adult environmental education and protected area management and promote ideas and principles of heritage interpretation and sustainable development in Ukraine.

I hold a PhD degree in Biology, MSc degree in protected area management (Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt, Austria), and also graduated from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine). I have been a scientific expert in the UNDP/GEF Project “Strengthening Governance and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System in Ukraine” (2008-2011).

My involvement in heritage interpretation started in 2012 with activities related to conservation biology and nature interpretation within the framework of the MATRA/MAVA Project “Building capacity for biodiversity conservation in Ukraine: network and training support” of the Ukrainian Environmental Club "Green Wave".  

In 2016, I participated in Interpret Europe`s Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) course and the CIG trainer course. In partnership with the US Forest Service and the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), I have coordinated a project on nature interpretation and organised the first CIG course in Ukraine. My current interests also include arranging engaging heritage interpretation to facilitate pleasant and valuable visitor experiences.

Our mission

To serve all who use
first-hand experiences to
give natural and cultural heritage
a deeper meaning