Trying to protect the last European Wilderness

Hi all, I am Nella!

Originally coming from Latvia, I am currently doing a master's degree in environmental policy and law at University of Eastern Finland. Although, the university does not require an obligatory placement during the studies, I recently came across the volunteering opportunity within the Centralparks Interreg project at the incredible environmental NGO, European Wilderness Society (EWS), that I could not resist. Luckily, this voluneering experience happened to be fully supported by the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) initiative. Without any further thinking, I immediately went for it.

Today, at EWS, I volunteer supporting numerous fascinating projects that are aimed to protect the last European Wilderness. Among them, there are BEECH power and Centralparks. The former focuses on both the promotion of sustainable regional development within the UNESCO World Heritage sites and on the production of innovative models for World Heritage beech forests specifically. The latter project, on the other hand, seeks to improve the integrated environmental management capacities of the protected area administrations and other public sector entities in the Carpathian countries. For these projects, I help to run digital communication practices so as to raise awareness and ensure certain public and private parties’ engagement in such issues.

Besides the above, it is worth noting that EWS participates highly in other Carpathian-related projects. All together, these projects add up to the general Interreg missions of innovative and sustainable developments in Europe. If you are interested in exploring these excellent initiatives, please click here.

Speaking of personal feelings around this experience in general, I can definitely state that I am truly having the time of my life here, in Austria, while being an IVY for Centralparks at the EWS. I am unconditionally grateful to be present in the office during such uncertain pandemic times, and run the existing campaigns with all my beloved team members. My colleagues have unbelievable passion and belief in what they do for this planet, which is the type of energy that inspires me daily. We work both smart and hard, but when it comes to the weekend – call us the adrenaline junkies as we are skiing, hiking, climbing, cycling, and doing all other awesome things somewhere in the Alps.

I have no words to describe my appreciation for this fantastic opportunity, that has been generously provided to me by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR). Thank you, AEBR!

Nella Sergejeva, Interreg Project Partner at Centralparks project.

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