Posidonia, the lung of the Mediterranean

Bonjour, hello, privet !

My name is Stefaniia, I am from Russia and I am a student in final year of my master degree in France. I had the chance to participate to the IVY’s volunteers team since march 2020. Thanks to this program and my mentor who advise me to send my profile to them, I realized my wish to start my carrier as a community manager in “Région Sud”.

Stake: The first tourism destination in France “Région Sud”, with 30 millions visitors per year meet a problem but also the advantage of presence of Posidonia banquettes. In fact, Posidonia is an endemic underwater flowering plant in the Mediterranean. It occupies only 1 % of the bottom but brings together 25% of the Mediterranean flora and fauna. Indeed, the role of the living herbarium of Posidonia is relatively known unlike its dead leaf depots. The leaves live for about one year. When they die, the main part deposit on the beaches with the waves and form Posidonia banquettes. Those banquettes preserve the coast from erosion. The issue is to find a way to preserve Posidonia banquettes on the Mediterranean beaches , despite the constraints of beach management and local tourism activities.

In response to the 3rd modular call of the Interreg Med 2014-2020 program of the European Union, the POSBEMED 2 project was created in order to develop a global operational strategy for preventing the banquettes of Posidonia on the Mediterranean beaches.

As a communication assistant, I firstly read the administrative documents linked to the POSBEMED 2 project and activities in “Région Sud”. Secondly, in cooperation with my mentor, I created communication tools to present the project in French and in English for the “Région Sud”: I wrote a summary in English and realized a PowerPoint in both languages. I also used my skills and passion for photography to provide “the sea and coast service” with Posidonia and beaches photos and videos. Thirdly, I proposed to improve the communication on Posbemed2 project on the “Region Sud” website. Therefore, I wrote a summary especially for this.

Moreover, during the confined period (which lasted from march 15th to May 15th), I elaborated two databases concerning beaches on the regional coast.

The regional coast is composed of three departments (Bouches du Rhône/ Var/Alpes-Maritimes). Each department has its one geological characteristics, therefore the beaches are different. The databases objectives are to compile each Beach characteristics along the regional coast.

One of the database is filled with information about Posidonia banquettes presence (or not) on the beaches of the VAR department. I filled it by using google maps crossed with social networks information (Facebook photos, Instagram, plagesTV).

The second database stocks all the beaches names from the regional coast. It has to be filled by local authorities with beach characteristics and Posidonia management policies.

Finally, I participated to different meetings and video conferences:

  • The sea and coast service weekly meetings

  • One meeting with the mediterranean partners of the Posbemed2 project

  • Several meetings with the pilot site partners

  • Some meetings with other services on different topics of the “Région Sud” (zero plastic, Final conference of MAREGOT Marittimo project; CNFPT Webinar conference on “transitions, ruptures and resilience : what the covid crisis teaches us”.

During my volunteer period I improved my languages skills, communication skills, knowledge in Microsoft Office packages, creating special documentation. Moreover, it was at the beginning difficult to organise my working days in these extraordinary circumstances at home, but I managed it and I finally improved my productivity tips.

It’s so nice to have such an experience, working in a foreign place, with different cultures, languages, and traditions. I discovered a person who I did not know earlier, it was me. On my way out of comfort zone, I realised that I have a lot of new ideas, amazing discoveries, and new achievements. Especially I realized I was very fond of creating communication tools.

Thanks to this IVY program I discovered what is a European program and how the Europeans projects are working and are managed. I learned their structure and I would like to participate to another European project in the near future.

As a Russian citizen I learned how European Commission works for integration of different nations. I discovered the importance of Europe to help countries to apply environmental projects. But also, it’s very important to unite partner countries to identify joint solutions to specific issues as protection of biodiversity or coastal preservation.

Also, I am very glad to use the knowledge learned in my International relations Bachelor degree obtained in Moscow. This experience allowed me observe how EU really works in comparison with my theoretical studies. After my internship I would like to continue working in an international environment.

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