AIGAE – The Italian Association for Professional Interpretive Nature Guides
Welcome to AIGAE – the professional association of Interpretive Nature Guides for those guiding individuals and groups in the natural world within Italy and around the world.
AIGAE was founded in 1992 to develop and enhance the training, skills and professional status of the increasing number of Interpretive Nature Guides working in a sphere requiring the highest standards of skill and professionalism in all its aspects.
Today AIGAE – the Italian Association of Interpretive Nature Guides – is officially recognized by the Italian Ministry for Economic Development, has over 3000 members and works in close conjunction or has partnership agreements with the Italian Federation of National Parks and Protected Areas (Federparchi), severalItalian national parks, Interpret Europe and the Italian Association of Professional Bodies (COLAP) as well as the American National Association for Interpretation and the Canada Interpretive Guides Association. Many of our members are also qualified instructors in a range of outdoor activities and work as consultants in the hiking and interpretation in the natural and built heritage field. AIGAE also works closely with the AITR association to promote sustainable tourism values.
What is an Interpretive Nature Guide?
An Interpretive Nature Guide accompanies individuals and groups safely through a variety of terrain, offering all appropriate assistance and illustrating its natural characteristics and manmade and cultural heritage. There is no upper altitude limit to the terrain an Interpretive Nature Guide can accompany you on (as enshrined in Constitutional Court sentence no. 459, dating to 14 December 2005) but the itinerary chosen must not require the use of mountaineering equipment. The liberalization of the guiding professions is currently underway in Italy, in accordance with European Union legislation and Italian law no. 4 dating to 2003.
The Scope of Guiding
The range of nature activities offered by AIGAE members every year is staggering. Italian Interpretive Nature Guides lead groups and individuals on foot through some of the most beautiful natural environmentsin the world, with some specializing mainly in guiding young people, the elderly or schools. Many guides provide group and personal guiding at every level ranging from easy trails, walks and treks to the most demanding hiking routes in Italy and abroad, all year round. Some guides also offer mountain bike, canoe and donkey-hike instruction and guiding as well as other specialized outdoor activities.
The AIGAE is the professional body which represents the increasing number of Italian Interpretive Guides and Walking Leaders who work in the nature, hills and mountains of their home country, the European regions and further afield.
AIGAE keeps a register of members who are fully qualified Nature Interpretive Guides and Walking Leaders (GAE). Like all professional bodies we expect our members to be undertaking continuous professional development, and to meet certain professional standards. Assessment is often organized by AIGAE. AIGAE members, professionals wearing the badges and carrying the carnets of the organisation, have been trained and assessed to the demanding requirements of the internationally recognised qualification that they hold.
Individual guides and interpreters are increasingly involved in equipment design, development and testing while others act as consultants, assist in writing and filming, lecture and write on nature-related matters and give technical advice. Interpretive nature guiding is not simply a profession, it is a vocation. Our members are united by a shared love of the environment and a desire to share this with others. The natural world is never entirely free of risk but, with their great depth of knowledge and ongoing training, guides can certainly ensure that normal risks are reduced to a minimum, enabling clients to enjoy the experience offered to the full.
Current AIGAE members can log-in to access lots of additional resources, update their membership details and check on the latest news from the association.
Visitors can sign up to the newsletter and gain limited access to the website.
Looking for an Interpretive Nature Guide? Use the “Cercaguide” function
Looking for a qualified leader for your hike? With over 3000 fully qualified nature Interpretive Nature Guides with experience in guiding from the Arctic to the Andes, AIGAE is the obvious first point of contact in any search for a fully qualified guide to lead you through nature in Italy and abroad. Browse through a list of fully qualified Italian Interpretive Nature Guides on this link, or contact us on this further link, with details of your requirements We will then pass on your requirements and contact details to our guides.
How to join (link to membership pages – in Italian only)
The following are entitled to membership:
a) those holding an official professional Interpretive Nature Guide license recognized by the Italian Government and/or the European Union;
b) professionals who have passed AIGAE’s admission test;
c) those who have attended a professional course held or recognized by AIGAE.
There are various levels of AIGAE membership
Full Members who have completed the AIGAE training and assessment process are entitled to use the GAE title, wear theassociation’s badge and use its name and logo on promotional material, subject to AIGAE rules.
Full membership of AIGAE offers a host of professional services:
– professional status within Europe;
– access to a professional body representing you within the tourist and walking industry;
– a carnet and badge displaying your qualifications and status;
– professional indemnity insurance;
– discounts with major mountaineering equipment manufacturers;
– access to a magazine (Ambiente InFormazione, available to non-members on subscription), e-newsletters and a website keeping you informed of events and developments.
– access to refresher courses, meetings, conferences and seminars;
– opportunities to make your voice heard at AIGAE’s annual meetings in Italy.