Green Local Together

The Unifying Force of Nature

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from cloud spotting to Tiny Forest

Over the past three years, the partnership with IVN Nederland has not just achieved but surpassed its goals. “Our shared ambitions of introducing people to the many benefits of nature and helping them contribute to the restoration of biodiversity have proven to be a great match,” says Wander Vander Kolk, Director of Communication, Marketing and Programmes at IVN Nederland.

IVN Natuureducatie has made it its mission to create a nature-inclusive society where nature is an integral part of daily life for people of all ages. Supported by a staff of 150, thousands of volunteers and over 29,000 members, IVN aims to create a structural connection between mankind and nature. Partnerships are key in developing this growing movement in which all citizens get to learn about and contribute to a greener, more natural environment.

Closer to Nature

The partnership with IVN is part of Spadel’s commitment to invest 5% of its yearly net profit in local partnerships and initiatives. Like Spadel, IVN believes that when people feel more connected with nature, they are more likely to take care of it. Together, the two organisations have developed several programmes and campaigns designed to inspire, enthuse and educate the wider public and create a lasting impact that resonates far beyond the initiatives themselves.

Happy Accidents

Several pilot projects were initiated in 2019 to see how the partnership between Spadel and IVN might best take shape. The first message: discover what nature can do for you. Physical workshops were set to teach people how they could create bee-friendly gardens and help restore local biodiversity. However, with the pandemic requiring people to socially distance, the workshops became an e-learning tool, which multiplied the programme's audience capacity.

“In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

“The pandemic gave nature a huge boost,” says Wander. “People rediscovered nature and started understanding the importance of biodiversity and giving back to nature. Yes, COVID-19 came with some pretty unique challenges, but it also meant we were able to reach a much wider audience than we would have through traditional workshops.”

Photographer: Robert Elsing | Copyright:

Nature Challenges

With so many people finding their way back to nature, IVN and Spadel also developed two Nature Challenges. From collecting leaves to cloud spotting, the Challenges are designed to entice people to spend more time outdoors and actively discover nature. Since their launch, over 40,000 members of the public have taken part in these Nature Challenges, which remain online as a permanent IVN offering.

“Spadel has not only supported us financially, but they have helped us develop and communicate nature to a much wider audience too. It is an honour to have our mission and message embraced by such a large consumer brand.” – Wander Vander Kolk

Tiny Forests

Tiny Forests are small and dense woodlands about the size of a tennis court and are a great way of bringing nature to urban spaces. With the support of Spadel, IVN has been able to plant Tiny Forests in Brussels and Amsterdam. Getting children and local residents involved in planting these Tiny Forests creates a sense of personal investment and responsibility; the second message that the two organisations chose to focus on.

“Tiny Forests are well-known in The Netherlands, with over 200 planted, but we want to make this methodology widely available so that other countries can follow our example. Thanks to the support of Spadel we looking at creating an e-learning platform on how to create your own Tiny Forest,” adds Wander.

SDG Traineeship

Finally, Spadel and IVN joined forces for an educational collaboration as part of IVN’s SDG Traineeship programme. Five students and young professionals studied young adult behaviour and their response to the newly introduced Dutch deposit return scheme. As well as measuring the impact of the Doneerring which was placed outside the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, they looked at other successful initiatives. Their findings provided important insights for Spadel, and in turn, Statiegeld Nederland.

“Together, we have laid the foundation for a bigger, European dream. We have reached tens of thousands of people, educating them on the importance of nature and biodiversity, and the fun and factual campaigns have become embedded in our permanent offering. I believe we can be proud of the impact of our partnership and what it has contributed to our shared mission.”

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