Scamandre – Camargue Gardoise






East Atlantic flyway


WLI Europe


Name of organisation

Union for the protection and management of the Camargue Gardoise

(Syndicat Mixte pour la protection et la gestion de la Camargue Gardoise, SMCG)

Funding support

- Own resources: participation of the members of the Syndicate (Department of the Gard and 8 communes of the Gard Camargue)

- External funding depending on the action: Europe, French State, Water Agency, Languedoc Roussillon Region

Number of staff

18 including 3.5 people assigned to welcoming the public to the Scamandre Centre

Number of visitors per year

-Approximately 15,000 (including 3,000 schoolchildren)

Overall aims of the centre

Protection and management of natural heritage and wetlands / awareness raising for professionals, wetland users and the general public / environmental education for schoolchildren

Description of the centre

The Gard Camargue constitutes the western part of the Rhône delta (Gard Department, Languedoc Roussillon Region).

It comprises approximately 55,000 ha - of which 37,000 ha are classified as Natura 2000-RAMSAR-Biosphere Reserve (Unesco).

The Camargue Gardoise is made up of fluvio-lacustrine and lagoon-marine depressions, linked by a large network of canals and interspersed with ancient dune strips which follow one another from the Costières de Nîmes plateau to the Mediterranean Sea at Grau du Roi.

The Scamandre Centre is located in a 146 ha Regional Nature Reserve, in the heart of the 3,000 ha complex of Scamandre ponds and marshes, in the commune of Vauvert (30127)

Also Opened in 2014, the Marette (Maison du Grand Site de France) is an ecomuseum dedicated to discovering the landscapes, traditions, fauna and flora of the Camargue gardoise. This serves a more touristy and therefore larger target audience (reception and information on heritage - museography - interpretation trail)

- Main habitat types: reed beds, open marshes, ponds, meadows, salt meadows

- Main species present: wintering Anatidae, 9 species of breeding European herons (including an arboreal colony of about 4000 pairs!), Falcinella ibis (300 pairs)

- Owners: Département du Gard - Commune de Vauvert

- Manager: Syndicat Mixte Camargue Gardoise (SMCG)


Work Areas

Main CEPA work area

- School activities: 3,000 pupils/year

- Reception of the general public in the Nature Reserve: 12,000 visitors per year (2 discovery trails and museography)

- Organisation of thematic evenings with the local population (approximately every 2 months)

- Hosting conferences, seminars, training courses

- Consultation meetings with professionals, administrations, elected representatives and users on the management of water and natural environments and the implementation of public policies

- SMCG information bulletin distributed in the main shops in the area


Top three successes

- The reception of schoolchildren

Why: because the activities of the facilitators meet the expectations of the teachers, and the possibility of alternating classroom work and access to the natural environment on the same site is an important asset. Limiting factor: the cost of bus transport for the classes

- The development of the various trails for visitors

Why: good balance between protection and discovery, possibility of entering difficult-to-access areas in all seasons, fun aspect of the paths on stilts

Limiting factor: implementation and maintenance costs

- Raising awareness among local populations

How: by combining several actions: free school activities for local schools / free access to the Scamandre Centre for families / thematic evenings on subjects of interest to the local public with a time for conviviality and exchange.

Limiting factor: geographical distance from the urban area, evening work for the facilitators

Top three challenges

- Setting up a resource centre

Why: lack of training and motivation of staff in the management, animation and development of documentary resources - geographical distance from the urban area

- Evaluation

Why: difficulty in defining indicators and/or questionnaires to evaluate our different missions (awareness-raising, site protection) given the diversity of the public and their expectations (under consideration)

- Communication - visitors' perception of the site

Why: the desire to meet both reception (Scamandre Centre) and protection (Regional Nature Reserve) objectives on the same site makes communication difficult in terms of image and readability for different audiences (nature lovers, birdwatchers, local population, tourists passing through...)

The small size of the site is also a limiting factor

The controlled reception formula and the need to regulate visitor numbers are sometimes not understood. This aspect needs to be worked on in the communication process.



Interpretation techniques

Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails

Visitor centres

Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing / creating habitat


Working with disabled people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers

Education and communication

Working with primary schools; Working with secondary schools



Syndicat Mixte Camargue Gardoise

- Head office : Hôtel du Département-rue Guillemette, 30044 NIMES Cedex 9 - FRANCE
Tel : 33 (0)4 66 76 78 55 -

- Centre du Scamandre - Les Iscles-Gallician

30600 VAUVERT - FRANCE, Tel : 33 (0)4 66 73 52 05

Director: Cécile Gallière

Head of public reception: Serge Colombaud

Nature Reserve Curator: Jérémiah Petit

Website address:

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