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International Module on Nature Conservation 2017 – Vilm Island, Baltic Sea

February, 2017 from 5th ton 11th, Global Change Ecology (GCE) M.Sc students attended the International Module on Nature Conservation on the Vilm Island in the Baltic Sea together with 25 other international students. This course is organized annually by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz - BfN).

Bild: Marie-Isabell Lenz

Bild: Marie-Isabell Lenz

After many train changes and a boat ride the GCE students arrived on the island of Vilm on the Baltic Sea in the evening of the 5th of February 2017. This beautiful island forms the core part of the southern biosphere reserve of Rügen.

The course included talks by scientists and decision-makers from the BfN and other organizations such as the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Topics covered in the course related to many fields of nature conservation, ranging from protected Areas to international environmental law, marine conservation and financing conservation etc.

Participants had interactive experiences as well, which included a mock conference of the parties to the convention on biological diversity. This simulation included the discussion of a document outlining the parties' responsibilities with respect to biofuels as an option for more sustainable energy. They also played the game Fish Banks to simulate the over-exploitation of fish, which showed them first-hand how private commercial choices can deplete common pool resources like fish stocks.

There was a lot of interactive group work and simulation tasks were incorporated into the lectures each day. Apart from learning a lot and having a wonderful experience on the island, they also met many interesting people, including students from other universities who have a shared interest and experience in nature conservation.

Text: Kiely Doherty

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