My IVY experience: transboundary cooperation for a connected Alpine region
I can't believe it is almost two months I am volunteering at Eurac, Bolzano/Bozen. It has been a real busy time! Volunteering in a research center implies being involved in every activity of the research group you are in and learn how to act in a working environment, which is useful for a person like me who comes directly from a university experience.
At the same time, being a volunteer lets me freely express my opinions, ask questions and sometimes give ideas. Every day I have new roles and tasks and I am lucky enough to have a good dialogue with my supervisors. I learnt how to deal with graphs and data elaboration, collected data, got the possibility to attend several meetings and speeches, managed video material and lots more: I never get bored. Volunteering in Bolzano / Bozen also allows me to be part of a bilingual community where Italian and German are spoken but of course, also English is used: I really hope to improve my German here.
It has been tiring in the first days but the gained knowledge and experience are the best rewards besides with the possibility of spontaneously speaking and popping questions. I experienced this way of sharing thoughts during the last ALPBIONET2030 Steering Committee, which was held in Eurac on 28th and 29th of March 2018. It has been instructive for me to see people from all over Europe working on a common project aimed to reach a high level of ecological connectivity in every Alpine region.
You may ask, what is ecological connectivity?
It is a branch of nature conservation and protection studies, which tries to find solutions in order to resolve the fragmentation of landscapes caused by human land use and at the same time to allow to every animal species to live in a suitable habitat. Actually, habitat loss and fragmentation do put the incredibly various biodiversity of the entire Alpine region in serious danger and the situation is expected to become worse, once the climate change effects will continue to affect those areas and will force some species to migrate across fragmented landscapes in order to find better life conditions.
We can act in this process by working together on a transboundary level in order to find, build and maintain corridors that ease the species’ movement. As species do not recognize national borders, neither should the regulation stop at them.
That is the reason why, when talking about nature conservation, transnational cooperation is of key importance.