Nature conservation in the Alps

As Austrian citizen, I’m not new to a mountainous landscape. I basically learnt to hike and to ski simultaneously to learn to walk; and I fell in love with nature in all its forms and wonders. No wonder that when I grew older and learned about the threats nature is facing, I felt the need to protect it! That’s why I studied biology and forestry, and that’s why I was eager to work in a nature conservation NGO.

IVY made this possible for me. In September, I, Julia, 29 years old, started to work at the European Wilderness Society. With its main office in the middle of the Austrian Alps, in a town called Tamsweg, it’s the perfect place to work in protecting nature while at the same time also experience nature. The organization is involved in two Interreg projects and several other national and EU funded projects.

Needless to say that everyday work is very diverse. As IVY volunteer I’m involved in the ‘Centralparks’ project, which aims to enhance transnational collaboration and capacities of protected area management in the Carpathian Region. Nature doesn’t know borders, thus, only by working together towards the same conservation goals can ensure effective nature protection. Nine different countries are part of the project and as IVY volunteer I’m involved in several communication activities to support the successful implementation of the project.

On the weekend, I exchange my computer for hiking boots to explore all the beautiful places in the region. Tamsweg is located in a Biosphere Reserve, surrounded by mountains and alpine lakes. No matter if you’re new to hiking or already experienced, there are plenty of hiking routes for everybody. During the last couple of months, the forests glowed in autumn colors and even the first snow fell. I used the opportunity to do many different activities. Together with my colleagues from work, I went hiking, biking, rafting, and even explored a glacier!

Especially due the current situation, it is a blessing to live surrounded by nature. It doesn’t matter that many venues are closed, because the only thing I need are my feet, good boots and a warm jacket. Now, I am enjoying the last snow-free days, before exchanging the boots with my snowboard!

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