Sports and Changing Natures

Call ongoing

On the occasion of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the MNHN and UFOLEP have teamed up for the call “Sports & Changing Natures”.

Your mission should you choose to accept it…

You probably have objects and documents in your cupboards that are souvenirs of your sporting activities and bear witness to the changes in nature - they are treasures for us all! Bring them out of oblivion and share them in this collection!

An old photo of your mountain hikes in the Quéras region, of the miles you covered at sea to win the Golden Dolphin, of your ski crossing of the Arrow at Crest Voland, of your cross-country ski treks in the Jura, of your sailing trip from island to island (from Aix to Brest), of your mountain bike rides through Sologne or Beauce, your GR20 in Corsica, your snowshoe hikes in the powdery snow of the Southern Alps, your tour of the Ventoux by bike, your orienteering races at primary school, an article about the Olympic torch relay in 1992, a photo exhibition about the Tour de France, and an article about the damage caused by wild boar in the golf course at Roquebrune Cap Martin…

Sport, whether for leisure or at the highest level, is often an opportunity to experience nature. And if these objects or documents don't awaken our memories, we could forget the past state of nature that our parents, grandparents, ancestors or ourselves experienced.

Recalling the past to help us meet current and future environmental challenges is the aim of the Sports mission in Changing Natures project. Launched in 2022, this digital, participatory natural history collection invites you to build a collective memory of nature based on your own documents and individual stories.

Create a community!

These documents tell stories of changing natures... Write them in your own words so that others can discover them! And interact with other participants:

  • By adding comments and keywords to other people's contributions
  • By enriching the objects already in the collection with your own story.

Explore the past of nature that you have experienced in your sporting activities!

Everyone can take part, young and old! You don't need any previous knowledge to take part.

Rummage through your cupboards, attics, libraries or public archives and find an old advertising poster, an old postcard, an old everyday object, a song from the 1950s... that talks about the experience of nature that you had while practizing your sport and that tells something about the animals, plants, landscapes and relationships between humans and nature as they were before. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at the collection in progress here.

Why contribute?

This participatory science programme is designed to enable you to contribute to research! By submitting a document and your story, you will be providing valuable data to research teams in the humanities and social sciences, enabling them to study the many ways in which we perceive changes in nature through the practice of sport.  

  • How have our views of nature changed?
  • What have we forgotten from one generation to the next?
  • How can we pool our stories of nature to build a collective memory?

Let's take a look at our partners

The Union Française des Œuvres Laïques d'Education Physique (UFOLEP) was founded in 1928 as part of the Ligue de l'enseignement, a popular education movement. UFOLEP is a federation approved by the Ministry of Sports and a member of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). As France's leading multi-sport affinity federation and the fifth-largest sports federation in terms of the number of clubs, UFOLEP has the dual ambition of being both a multi-sport federation and a movement of ideas in today's and tomorrow's society. To find out more about UFOLEP, follow this link.

Participatory science lies at the heart of the values and different missions of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN), as an institution for research, expertise, teaching, conservation of collections and dissemination of knowledge, geared towards its public and at the service of the major issues facing society. Because they combine research and the public in an original way, they have a unique potential to produce new knowledge, to engage citizens and provide them with the means to take action, to transform relations between researchers and citizens, to promote the universalist dimension of science in the face of individual or community opinions, and thus to work towards a democracy of knowledge. To find out more about the MNHN, follow this link.

This call is funded by the French Ministry for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion.