Alfred Toepfer Scholarship Winners 2017

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

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Every year,  the Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships (ATS) supports the work of young conservationist in protected areas across Europe. EUROPARC and the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung award 3 scholarships to young professionals willing to make study trips in European Protected Areas. The Award ceremony took place at EUROPARC Conference, in Portugal, get to know the winners of the 2017 edition!

Carmen Martínez, Spain

Area of work: Sustainable development in protected areas – contribution to a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy

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. 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, Hungary

Area of work: Importance of values of N2000 sites and protected areas on reducing impact of climate change and implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy

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 the 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, Turkey

Area of work: Contribution of protected areas to safeguard European citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing

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 values of the region.

Keep tuned, we will be opening a new call for applications in the 1st trimester of 2018!

All information will be available at