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Jyväskylä Winter School in Central Finland

From the 11th to the 23rd of February 2018 Alexander Lentge participated in the “The Jyväskylä Winter School of Ecology” in Konnevesi, Finland. It is annually organized by the Faculty of Mathematics and Science and the Department of Biological and Environmental Science at the University of Jyväskylä in cooperation with leading Finnish experts in the field.

The school was divided in three parts. The first part took place during the first week and it was spent on "Boreal Winter Ecology" where the participants explored the surrounding areas around the research station. Each day emphasized on a specific topic. These topics included snow ecology, for example snow measurements, and winter ecology with focus on voles, birds, mammals and fishes. The group also participated in an experiment of a PhD student working in an enclosure to measure predatory effects on the animals. Furthermore, they visited a national park to ski and got introductory courses for snow-tracking and ice fishing. There they learned about techniques to work in harsh winter conditions with the help of skis, snow shoes, snow mobiles and warm clothing.

The second week was conducted as an in-class course. Following the topic "Population ecology and population cycles", several talks were held by leading Finnish experts in rodent ecology and population cycles. The follow-up workshop had a similar topic: "Population Cycles and Outbreaks: Still of interest or historical debate?" It was nice to meet researchers from different countries.

Alexander Lentge can definitely recommend this school. The organization, food and accommodation were great. The research school is located at the shoreline of a lake with great views. The Jyväskylä Winter School provides skis, snowshoes, sauna and fishing gear for free time activities. It is a very affordable way to see Finland because the school itself is free of charge. Only a small fee has to be paid for accommodation and food. Whoever goes there should expect very cold temperatures though (up to -30° C) although it usually is only between 0 and -10°C.

Text: Alexander Lentge

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