Pro Natura – Switzerland’s Number One in Conservation
Who we are
Pro Natura is the foremost Nature Conservation organisation in Switzerland. As an advocate and policy-maker for conservation, we are enthusiastic about and experienced in promoting the interests of nature. Pro Natura campaigns for the protection and preservation of native Swiss animals and plants. Pro Natura was founded in 1909 and one of its first pioneering projects was to establish the Swiss National Park. Today, Pro Natura is responsible for over 650 nature reserves spread over the whole of Switzerland, as well as two visitor centres. Pro Natura also has active branches in all of the Swiss cantons.
As a non-profit organisation, Pro Natura is dependent on membership fees and donations for over 80% of its annual turnover of 20 million Swiss francs. Pro Natura has 120,000 members, as well as some 26,000 loyal donors. Pro Natura is a registered non-profit organisation (ZEWO certified).
What we want – our goals
To promote biodiversity
Pro Natura wants the number and quality of protected nature reserves in Switzerland to increase, and unprotected sites to become more ecologically valuable. Common species must maintain their current distribution, rare species expand as their habitats improve, and genetic biodiversity increase.
To safeguard landscapes
Pro Natura promotes the reduction of building projects and urban sprawl. We also want a clear distinction between built-up and greenbelt zones. Unique and unspoilt landscapes must be effectively protected.
To protect natural resources
Pro Natura is committed to ensuring that all private and public planning decisions should take natural resources into account. Alternatives to unlimited growth must be sought and appropriate limitations established.
To increase interactions with nature
Pro Natura is convinced that contact with nature can lead to more responsible attitudes towards the environment and natural resources.
How we can reach our goals
In order to reach our goals, Pro Natura has established four effective strategies:
Pro Natura promotes sustainable policies wherever the natural environment is concerned. In collaboration with other national and international environmental organisations, we are a significant advocacy and lobbying group. Legal action is taken where necessary to protect the natural environment.
Pro Natura is responsible for more than 650 nature reserves, corresponding to an area totalling some 250 km, spread over the whole of Switzerland. Many of these reserves are managed by Pro Natura, but we also own some 60 km2 of these reserves. This makes us the largest private landowner in Switzerland. Each year, Pro Natura adopts new areas or purchases new parcels of land to ensure protection of ecosystems, establish wildlife migration routes, and improve existing reserves. These nature reserves mean that Pro Natura can protect the habitats of a vast number of animal and plant species, enabling future generations to live in an attractive and unspoilt landscape. Pro Natura was founded partly with the purpose to create the first Swiss National Park (1914). Since then, we have helped to establish half of the total protected land in Switzerland. The creation and management of nature reserves is still one of Pro Natura’s main tasks.
Environmental education is another important aspect of Pro Natura’s activities. Campaigns designed for schools, as well as a documentation service for teachers, provide ideas which involve thousands of children every year.
The Pro Natura centres in Aletsch (Valais, in the Alps) and Champ-Pittet (on the shores of Lake Neuchatel) offer special programmes for schools and youth groups. A children’s magazine is also sent to all younger members of Pro Natura.
Communication and international networking
Pro Natura proclaims the wonders of nature and the necessity for conservation. «Pro Natura Magazine» is published five times a year and distributed free to all members. Media work, regular press releases, and a variety of other publications help to complete our communication effort.
Pro Natura is a founding member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Swiss member of Friends of the Earth International. Pro Natura is active in regional networks such as Friends of the Earth Europe and the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA).