Alfred Toepfer Scholarship winners 2018

Alfred Toepfer Scholarship Winners 2018 (From left to right) Ignace Schops, Agné Jasinavičiūtė, Lászlo Patkó, Baiba Ralle and Andreas Holz at EUROPARC Conference, Scotland.

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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 the Cairngorms National Park (Scotland), get to know the winners of the 2018 edition!

Agnė Jasinavičiūtė, Lithuania

Area of work: sustainable development and management of protected areas and awareness-raising of landscape in practice.

Agnė Jasinavičiūtė is currently working as Chief Officer of the Landscape Protection Division at the State Service for Protected Areas under the Ministry of Environment of Lithuania. Her main duties includes the coordination of landscape monitoring in protected areas, assessment of the status of the values, preparation of strategic planning documents and implementation for landscape and biodiversity conservation and management.  She is a Lecturer and also Ph.D. student in Vilnius University of Physical Geography field.

During her study trips, Agnė will focus on various landscape perception and policy tools for management in different categories of protected areas which are under pressure from various drivers of change such as urbanisation, infrastructure development, intensive recreation, climate change etc. She will also analyse how these large-scale protected areas are managed and monitored. Besides, Agnė is interested in methods of raising awareness and landscape interpretation of the protected areas.

Agne Jasinaviciute and Andreas Holz, representative of Alfred Toepfer Stiftung, during the Awards Ceremony.

Agne Jasinaviciute and Andreas Holz, representative of Alfred Toepfer Stiftung, during the Awards Ceremony.

Agnė selected several National parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in United Kingdom, which have the oldest and deepest traditions of the landscape protection – the Cairngorms National Park and Scenic Area in Scotland, South Downs and the Peak District National Park, together with High Weald and Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England. Also Montagne de Reims and Caps et Marais d’Opale Regional Natural Parks in the North of France.

By meeting with protected areas managers and stakeholders, she expects to prepare recommendations to improve landscape monitoring strategy and implement a new approach to the protected landscape.

Baiba Ralle, Latvia

Baiba Ralle is currently working as a nature education specialist/PR manager at Nature Conservation Agency, Latvia. Her everyday work is mostly connected with Kemeri National Park. Baiba will broaden her knowledge about communication of protected areas (strategic planning of public relations), collect new tools, best practices, outstanding ideas of society involvement and learn new methods of nature education and interpretation.

She is interested in new methods of educating park visitors and local groups, connecting them with nature, giving them the feeling that specially protected areas have been made for them, are actually serving them and should thus be regarded as elements of national identity, something own and therefore guarded as a gemstone.

Baiba Ralle presenting her project proposal during the Awards Ceremony.

Baiba Ralle presenting her project proposal during the Awards Ceremony.

Baiba will be visiting protected areas with a great popularity as tourism destinations at European level – Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park in Italy, Saxon Switzerland National Park in Germany, Triglav National Park in Slovenia, Central Bohemian Uplands in Czech Republic, and will learn with the Conservation Volunteers from the United Kingdom.

The experience and knowledge will help Baiba and her administration boost the potential of Kemeri National Park and other Latvian Protected Areas in promoting nature and culture heritage conservation both for local communities through the new projects offering new connections; as well as national/international audiences through the new PR and marketing activities. Experience will be step towards effective improvement of public awareness and sense of ownership of our common natural and cultural heritage, which is the very basis for sustainability of any conservation efforts.

László Patkó, Hungary

László Patkó is working for WWF Hungary as the Large Carnivore Programme Leader since 2018. Previously, he was employed by the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). László has graduated from the Szent István University where he studied nature conservation and wildlife management. He studied non-invasive carnivore monitoring methods during his PhD years at the Institute for Wildlife Conservation, Gödöllő. Having spent his early career in research, hunting and nature conservation led him to WWF Hungary where he manages the Euro Large Carnivore LIFE project. This project aims to bridge the gap among different stakeholder groups, like conservation experts, hunters and livestock keepers for a more efficient co-existence with large carnivores.

László Patkó on stage at the Alfred Toepfer Awards Ceremony 2018.

László Patkó on stage at the Alfred Toepfer Awards Ceremony 2018.

László’s aim is to visit Alpi Marittime Natural Park in Italy where he can learn more about local involvement. In Malá Fatra and Cerova vrchovina (Slovakia) he would like to learn about carnivore monitoring methods, which are carried out jointly with park rangers and hunters In Romania, at the Cheile Bicazului Hasmas National Park he is going to learn about the long standing coexistence from the locals. As his final destination, he will share his experience in his home country at the Bükk National Park and at his Alma Mater, the Szent István University.

“Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf.” (by Aldo Leopold)