For one whole week the EM38 course escaped the rush of the city life and headed to one of the remotest areas in Germany: the island of Vilm in the Baltic Sea. As part of the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve, the whole island is designated as nature reserve and a dream for nature-lovers, especially as access is strictly regulated and limited. Without shops, television and other distractions, Vilm is the perfect location for our course attendees to fully focus on different aspects of conservation and restoration ecology. Talks, simulation games, group work, discussions were on the schedule, all in the context of topics such as ‘Biodiversity and the CBD’, ‘Marine nature conservation’, ‘Protected areas’, and the ‘financing of nature conservation’ .
Of course outdoor activities did not go short and the group also explored the island’s exceptional nature. The last logging on the island took place around the year 1527, which led to the development of undisturbed, mixed forests consisting of impressive individuals of beeches, oaks and sycamore maples and a remarkable biodiversity: 1312 different species were found during an assessment in 2002, considering the island is less than one km² in size, an astonishing number.
(Photos: A. Lindner)