Alfred Toepfer Scholarship winners

Alfred Toepfer Scholarship winners at EUROPARC Conference 2017, Sao Pedro do Sul, Portugal (winners: from left to right: Zerrin Karaarslan, Csaba Bereczki and Carmen Martínez) © Eduardo Realinho

2017 – winners:

Carmen Martínez is an Environmental Technician, working for ANSE, a regional ONG aimed Nature Conservation for more than 10 years, and a Lecturer in Methods Area of Experimental Sciences at Faculty of Education at the University of Murcia, Spain. Nowadays, she is engaged in the protection of Mar Menor, a Mediterranean Coastal Lagoon, establishing a management plan and involving inhabitants and workers in its conservation. Ms. Martínez will be visiting Protected Coastal Wetlands from 3 different countries (UK, France and Albania), with distinct management, social involvement strategies and status, in order to learn with their experience how they are planned and managed. By meeting with meeting managers and stakeholder, she expects to establish general guidelines for coastal wetland management, find ways to involve locals and stakeholders, mainly traditional sectors as artisanal fishermen, and starting a network of NGO working in wetland conservation.

Csaba Bereczki is currently working as biologist/project coordinator at Hortobágy National Park Directorate, Hungary. Csaba will broaden his knowledge about invasive alien species, the spreading of which is among the biggest nature conservation issues nowadays. He will collect information about species within the Carpathian-basin and also species that are likely to appear in the near future. During his study trips, he will focus on different best-practice methods of eradicating these species, and also how these methods could be adjusted to local conditions. Besides, he is interested in laymen and tourists involvement to eradication of invasive alien species. Csaba selected three Hungarian National Parks (Bükk National Park, Kiskunság National Park and Fertő-Hanság National Park), two Czech National Parks (Sumava National Park and Podyji National Park), one Polish National Park (Bierbza National Park) and one Nature Park from Croatia (Medvednica Nature Park) to visit in 2018. The experience and knowledge that hopefully gathered during his study trips will help Csaba and his Directorate to combat against recent threatening invasive species and to prepare in advance against those that likely to appear because of global climate change.

Zerrin Karaarslan is a Landscape Architect working for Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks, Turkey. She is also Ph.D. Candidate in Ankara University Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences. In order to enhance her knowledge on the benefits of ecological restoration on protected areas as means of ecosystem health and human health, she will make study visits to the best restoration practices at different ecosystem types. Zerrin will be visiting Doñana National Park and Sierra de Guadarrama National Park in Spain and Bavarian Forest National Park in Germany. As a technical staff working for the ministry, she will offer her gained experience to the restoration of degraded ecosystems in Turkey and enable the conservation of one of the richest biodiversity value of the region.

alfred toepfer scholarship winners

Alfred Toepfer Scholarship winners at EUROPARC Conference 2016, Parc Jura vaudois, Switzerland (winners: from right to left: Bryony Thomson, Baiba Galniece and Tymur Bedernichek) © Joao Romba

2016 – winners:

Baiba Galniece is Senior Expert at the Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia, working directly at the Kurzeme Regional Administration, Latvia. Ms. Galniece will enhance her knowledge regarding the floodplain grassland restoration, monitoring and management, with study tours to protected areas in three different countries. During her study trip, Baiba will not only observe details of grassland and meadow restoration, but she will mainly focus on how these project sites have been managed afterwards by the protected area’s administrations, with and without the local involvement. Baiba selected three protected areas – Biebrza National Park in Poland, Orseg National Park in Hungary and Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve in Estonia – due to the similarities with Latvia’s natural and socio-economic conditions. The experience Baiba will be gathering, will support her in the future planning and management activities in the region of Kurzeme.

Bryony Thomson is Community Involvement Ranger at the Peak District National Park, England. For Bryony, whose daily work is connecting people (either volunteers, schools or corporate groups) with the Park, believes that People need nature and nature needs people. Fostering this relationship should be a top priority for conservation organisation as a foundation for both happy, healthy people and a robust natural environment for many years to come. Therefore, her project is based on visitors engagement: understanding visitor’s motivations and finding effective methods to engage them.  Bryony will be visiting 6 protected areas in 4 countries (Estonia, Finland, Germany and Switzerland) and will make surveys to adult and child visitors to analyse demographics, attitudes and engagement. Looking forward to see the results of her study!

Tymur Bedernichek is a Researcher at the M.M. Gryshko National Botanical Garden in Kiev, Ukraine. Tymur has a dream: to re-establish re-establish Miloš Deyl Alpine Research Station on Pop Ivan Maramures, in the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve. Miloš Deyl was a famous Czech botanist and ecologist who conducted detailed research on vegetation, soils and climate at Pop Ivan Maramures, back in the 1930s. Deyl established hundreds of experimental plots and gathered unique information about Pop Ivan. Now, 80 years after, Tymur wants to repeat Deyl’s studies on the same plots, in order to have comparative data before and during global warming. The result? Tymur will be able to evaluate the impacts of global climate changes on the most sensitive and fragile ecosystems – subalpine and alpine tundra. For that, Tymur will firstly learn with his peers how climate stations work – there are currently six alpine research stations, in the Alps and Carpathians. He will be visiting climate stations located in Tatra National Park (Poland), Karkonosze National Park (Poland) and Karkonosze National Park (Poland).

ATS Winners 2015 at EUROPARC Conference 2015 © Jakub Kaspar

ATS Winners 2015 at EUROPARC Conference 2015 © Jakub Kaspar (winners, from left to right: Agnes Balazsi, Eduardo Batista and Roberto Piccirilli)

2015 – winners: Roberto Piccirilli, Agnes Balazsi, Eduardo Batista

Agnes Balazsi is a Romanian student graduated with a Master in “The protection of natural and anthropic systems” at the University of Cluj-Napoca. The aim of her project is to visit different protected areas within some of the post-communist countries of Europe in order to explore and compare their implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, with emphasis on grassland habitats. Agnes’ trip will lead her to five National parks situated in Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Read the article and download the full report.

>>Read the article and download the full report.

Roberto Piccirilli has completed a Master in management and development of parks and natural areas at the University of Teramo (Italy). His project aims at increasing knowledge of management and development of Adriatic marine protected areas through the exchange of information and best practices between two Marine Areas in the Adriatic, their human-environment and the efficient use of resources. The first area is Torre del Cerrano Marine Protect Area, in Italy, where Roberto works. The second is Brijuni National Park, a group of small islands in the Croatian part of the northern Adriatic Sea west coast of the Istrian peninsula.

>>Read the article and download the full report.

Eduardo Batista has a Bachelor degree in General Biology with Minor in Management and Bussines at the university of Aveiro (Portugal). He has been studying macro fungi communities in Portugal and strives now to identify and map the fungi community in different places to improve the knowledge of ecosystems and their preservation. To achieve these objectives, Eduardo has chosen to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park situated in the inland mountain region of Croatia.

>> Download the full report

alfred toepfer scholarship winners

Alfred Toepfer Scholarship winners at EUROPARC Conference 2014, Killarney Ireland © Don MacMonagle (winners, from  left to right: Natalya Yakusheva, Joss Ratcliffe, and Milene Matos)

2014 – winners: Joss Ratcliffe, Milene Matos, Natalya Yakusheva

Joss Ratcliffe is a young researcher based at the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, Scotland. He is very passionate about science and conservation and has a particular interest in blanket bog habitat. His project at the Environmental Research Institute is concerned with the rate of carbon accumulation and the effects of commercial forest planting on carbon stocks in Scotland´s largest terrestrial Natura2000 sites: the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands. With the long residence time of bog carbon, measured in millennia rather than centuries, healthy un-drained peatlands truly are one of the most effective ways protected sites can reduce the impact of climate change. Joss will visit a range of wetland sites managed by Metsähallitus Natural Heritage including Koli National Park and sites in Lapland and Ostrobothnia that most resemble open treeless peatlands in Scotland. He plans to visit sites representative of different mire types and restoration techniques as well as observe less intensive forestry practises such as the use of natural regeneration and what affect this has on ecosystem function and biodiversity.

>> Download the full report

Milene Matos is from Portugal and has been working on biodiversity conservation and invasive plant species control, but she lacks further experience, namely on how to correctly communicate these aspects to the general public, in order to engage it and raise public awareness. She wishes to learn from Parque Regional del Sureste (Spain) team´s experience and replicate the best practices in Portugal. Combining the gathered knowledge and shared experiences with her current activities, she will be able to actively contribute to the conservation of biodiversity of central Portugal, which is one of the richest in Europe. She intends to use the experience to help building a conservation framework tackling invasive species, specifically creating working documents to share with technical staff of the Protected Areas where she collaborates, and organizing training-in-action events.

>> Download the full report

Natalya Yakusheva currently holds a position of a PhD candidate at Södertörn University, Sweden. Her research is focused on the governance processes of nature conservation policy in the Carpathian countries, namely Poland and Slovakia. In particular she scrutinizes how various policy frameworks are translated and implemented on the ground, what are the implications, potential issues and benefits of Protected Areas for local communities. She would like to continue working on the projects that link research, policy and practice in the field of nature conservation, especially in the mountainous areas. Therefore,  she aims to explore links between political objectives (EU biodiversity strategy) and day-to-day implementation, i.e. management activities of transboundary Protected Areas in the Alps (Prealpi Giulie Natural Park, Italy and Triglav National Park, Slovenia). For this, she will examine the management plans, their implementation, including park’s human and resource capacities, day-to-day activities, key source of financing, as well as encountered obstacles and issues, monitoring and reporting systems and transboundary cooperation. In the final project report the collected materials will be analyzed against existing biodiversity policy framework in order to identify links and gaps.

>> Download the full report

2013 – winners: Maris Noor, Sabine Nouvet and Catherine Wynn

The 2013 Alfred Toepfer Scholarships winners are three ambitious conservationists who will research in different fields of Nature protection.

Maris Noor from Estonia would like to learn from other countries what is the best way to communicate the necessities of Protected Areas to landowners and other stakeholders connected to the Protected Areas. For gaining new experiences she will travel to national parks in Austria and Georgia.

Sabine Nouvet from UK plans to study the management of natural resources in national parks of the French Alps. She wants to focus on successful examples of agri-environment schemes which have been developed in cooperation with farmers and their shepherds.

Catherine Wynn, also from UK focuses on the effectiveness of management of Protected Areas and methods to measure success. She will get in contact with agencies and stakeholders which have participated in the management plan of Šar Mountains National Park.

The award ceremony took place during the EUROPARC conference 2013 in Debrecen (HU).

2012 – winners: David Bogoy, Tilen Genov, Willem Laermans

In 2012 Alfred Toepfer Scholarship winners were selected from more than 43 applications for the scholarship. The EUROPARC council had a difficult task to chose three proposals: this year´s winners are from Hungary (Mr. Bogoy), Slovenia (Mr. Genov), and Belgium (Mr. Laermans). Their research projects deal with habitat restoration, Marine Protected Areas management, and restoring wilderness, respectively. The award ceremony took place during the EUROPARC conference 2012 in Genk (BE) .

2011 – winners:  Tünde Ludnai, Ross Watson and Robbert Casier

In 2011 the scholarships were awarded to 3 candidates; Tünde Ludnai from Hungary who worked along with the Baltic Environmental Forum in Lithuania to support the development of the ranger concept in Lithuania. Ross Watson from Scotland in his project aimed to develop European partnerships and information sharing in the field of grazing management across three different woodland habitats. Please find his report on the right side menu.Robbert Casier from Belgium in his project tried to increase communication and exchange of knowledge between MPAs and World Heritage marine sites in the Mediterranean Sea.The report and a list of accompanying films of 2011 Alfred Toepfer scholar Robert Casier on Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean Sea is available.

2010 – winners:  Ekatarine Kakabadze, Alina Ionita and Matthew McGettiga

In 2010 the number of applicants for the scholarships rose dramatically. The EUROPARC Council chose between 17 brilliant applications. The three winners who were selected in June 2010 come from all over Europe: Ekatarine Kakabadze comes from Georgia, Alina Ionita from Romania, and Matthew McGettigan from the United Kingdom. They are undertaking studies in the fields of transboundary cooperation, rural development and climate change. These trips took place in 2011 to various EUROPARC member Protected Areas.

2009- winners: Saira Sheldrake, Naomi Barker and Urszula Biereznoj

In 2009 the scholarships were awarded to Saira Sheldrake (UK), who developed a tool to predict disturbance distances of the recreational sport of Kite-surfing on wintering and wading birds in Protected Areas with coastlines. Naomi Barker (UK) visited the national parks in Germany and report back to us about the management of areas without human impact, so called “non-interventional-management-zones” and conflict management between species protection and landowners. Urszula Biereznoj (PL) visited Protected Areas and environmental institutions in United Kingdom, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, to exchange knowledge, experiences and best practices of biodiversity conservation and Natura2000 management.

2008 – winners: Rachel Danemann, David Rodriguez and Razvan Deju

In 2008 the scholarships were awarded to Rachel Danemann (UK), David Rodriguez (ES) and Razvan Deju (RO). Rachel looked at fire management in Protected Areas as well as examine marine Protected Areas in Greece, while David visited the less well known country of Moldova and reported back to us on their Protected Area management system. Razvan Deju (RO) studied Bison management in Poland with the aim of reintroducing them in Romania.

2007 –  winners: Kveta Cernohlávková, Andrzej Ginalski and Stephan Krasser

In 2007 the scholarships were awarded to:

  • Kveta Cernohlávková (CZ): Junior Ranger Projects in Europe
  • Andrzej Ginalski (PL): Management in national parks and nature conservation: Report of study visits in the British National Parks
  • Stephan Krasser (A): Photo project “59” 

If you would like more information about the scholarship please contact us.