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International Nature Conservation on the Isle of Vilm

Four students of the Elite Graduate Program Global Change Ecology Johann Carodenuto-Stiepani, Georg Küstner, Lauren Lopes, and Amani Saul Lwila exchanged Bayreuth for the remote island of Vilm in north-eastern Germany for a few days to learn about Nature Conservation, as part of their training on ecology and policy.

The group of students took part in the module on International Nature Conservation. It took place from February 14, 2016 until February 19, 2016 and was hosted by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. The module was a training for Master Students on concepts, themes, and methods of international nature conservation. It was facilitated by the International Academy for Nature Conservation. The majority of the students in attendance had prior international conservation experience either from work, research, or internships. The time on Vilm was an opportunity for students to deepen their existing knowledge. Students also shared their experiences, available opportunities, e.g. regarding internships, and other networking opportunities. The majority of the module was conducted in the form of lectures followed by a workshop, often including group work. Lecturers were a combination of Federal Agency for Nature Conservation staff, German consultants, international lawyers, or professors - all experts in different aspects of international nature conservation. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation lecturers gave the current standing of Germany’s policy, projects, and future aspirations. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation staff touched upon the topics of protected areas, World Heritage conventions, and marine conservation. The latter took up almost an entire day and was a highlight of the modules. Experts talked about impacts of underwater noise effects on marine mammals, marine protected area networks, and conflicts concerning international fisheries. One of the most memorable portions was a game called fishbanks, which showed the interrelation between human greed and fisheries decline. The simulation of a Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) formed another very interesting afternoon. In general, the whole program was very well thought out so that it maximized the learning experience of its attendees and promoted discussions among them and with the lecturers.

Text: Johann Carodenuto-Stiepani, Georg Küstner, Lauren Lopes & Amani Saul Lwila, Elite Graduate Program Global Change Ecology (GCE)
Picture: Lauren Lopes

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