Alumni Success Stories: From Dresden to Cambridge

We’ve got some great news from CIPSEM alumna Razan Nimir who successfully completed the 38th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Postgraduate Course on Environmental Management last year: We were thrilled to hear that Razan was not only accepted for the MPhil degree masters course in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge, but is also awarded with a full scholarshdsc_0139ip by the Department of Geography.
On top of that, Razan  was selected  out of 1000 applicants as one of 34 delegates and is just in this moment representing the East African Region at the IFAW International Youth Forum on People and Wildlife in Johannesburg.
Razan distinguished herself also during our course program with her outstanding final paper entitled “Opportunities of Integrating Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change into the National Adaptaton Plans” for which she was honored with a final paper award.

We’re delighted for Razan at her achievements and wish her success with her upcoming studies and her promising future career!

Time to say goodbye

22 people from 22 countries have worked hard in the last six months far away from home, family and friends and this day is the day that the EM 38 course participants were recompensated for their efforts: at the TU Dresden rectorate they received their well-deserved graduation certificates. After the official award ceremony and a final group picture everybody headed back to CIPSEM to prepare the food for the graduation/farewell party in the evening. International dinner was the theme of the night and the participants have been well prepared and served homemade culinary masterpieces from their home countries.

It was a great pleasure to meet you EM38, all the best for all of you!

(Photos: T. Karp)

Visit at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Hainich National Park

For the last excursion of the EM38 course, the group headed once more to Leipzig. This time a visit at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) was scheduled. The iDiv research centre is a joint institution between the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Leipzig University. The research center was established in 2012 and conducts top-level research in biodiversity sciences with special focus on environmental change, sustainable development and bioresource management.

On the second day the group headed to Thuringia to visit the Hainich National Park. The park is part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany’ and includes the largest unexploited area of broadleaf forest (50 km²) in Germany.

(Photos: A. Lindner, T. Karp)

Water treatment and excavation material management

Today Dr. Willscher from the chair of groundwater and soil remediation took the group under her wing and to the lignite open-pit mining site Nochten in the northern Upper Lusatian region. Here, the participants learned how water used in the mining process is treated and what happens with the excavation material.

(Photos: T. Karp)

Biosphere Reserve Upper Lausatian Heath- and Pond Landscape

Together with the TUD M. Sc. course ‘Tropical Forestry‘ the group visited the ‘Biosphere Reserve Upper Lausatian Heath- and Pond Landscape’ (Oberlausitzer Heide- und Teichlandschaft) … – what a long name, however this area’s uniqueness justifies the effort: the reserve comprises over 30.000 ha and is part of the UNESCO ‘Man and Biosphere’ network (MAB). The target of biosphere reserves is to reconcile human livelihoods, economic activity and nature conservation, which is worldwide achieved by the classification of the area into four zones (core area, buffer zone, transition zone and regeneration zone) with various natural features and different management purposes and intensities.

Carrs, mire-, heath- and dune-landscapes, woodlands, meadows, riparian forests, ponds, and river flood plains are just some of the habitat types occurring in the core area and the buffer zone. Over 3.400 animal species have been found in the reserve (e.g. 53 species of dragonflies, 23 fish species, 15 amphibian species, 161 species of breeding birds, such as white-tailed eagle and 49 mammal species) among which are 807 IUCN Red List species.

Transition and regeneration zone serve primarily for agricultural production, settlements and the recultivation of devastated lignite open-cast mining sites.

(Photos: A. Lindner)

Restoration of open-pit mining areas

The group sallied to the Lower Lusatia-region in southern Brandenburg, more precisely to the surroundings of the town Finsterwalde. Whereas the town itself has gained national fame in the late 19th century through a folk music song, the participants were dealing rather with the culture of soils and cultivation of plants today. Starting at the open-pit mining site Welzow-Süd the group got an impression of the dimension of devastated and degraded areas after lignite surface-mining. 

Subsequently, the restoration process at different stages – starting with the first planting on dumped soil, finishing with a reforested site – was examined and discussed.

(Photos: T. Karp)

Ecological research station Neunzehnhain

About 80 km southwest of Dresden the TU is maintaining a small outpost: the ecological research station Neunzehnhain. Located in the middle of the forest nearby the Neunzehnhain dam, the station offers the possibility to facilitate skills and methods in the physical, chemical and biological investigation of water bodies. But first the group had a look at the dam. Completed in 1914, the dam’s primary purpose is the drinking water supply of the nearby located city of Chemnitz. As the quality of the reservoir is excellent, supposedly even the best water quality to be found in Saxony, the citizens of Chemnitz can really consider themselves fortunate. After passing the coping of the dam, the group entered the dam itself and learned about its functionality and about the measurements performed in the dam. The next day started with some microscoping lectures, before the group returned once more to the dam to be taught about different methods for the assessment of water quality.

(Photos: T. Karp)

Forestry and soil protection

Nearby the Czech boarder the group met with two experts to learn about the effects of forestry on soils. Soil compaction, root deformations, and skidding damages on trees were explained and discussed. As the icing of the cake, the group had the opportunity to watch how felling with support of a horse is done and how a harvester is working.

(Photos: T. Karp)

Excursion to Freiburg

1740 hours of sunshine per year make Freiburg to Germany’s sunniest city. And that is just one reason to pay a visit: In 2010 the city was awarded with the title ‘Federal capital in climate protection 2010’. This prize acknowledges the city’s comprehensive efforts and leading role in climate protection measures. On a ‘Green City Tour’ the group got an impression of some innovative approaches, such as the city’s integrated mobility strategy, urban gardening initiatives, renewable energies, and sustainable living. On the second day the group left the urban grounds and headed into the wild to discover a riparian wilderness trail within a flood retention area.

(Photos: A. Görner, A. Lindner)

Berlin calling

After the quiet of Vilm, the group plunged into the vivid urban life of Berlin: the first day started with a seminar on sustainable development goals at the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) and a guided tour through the ministry. On day 2, climate negotiations at the Ecologic Institute, a visit to ECF Farm, Europe’s largest urban aquaponic farm, as well as a visit to a greywater recycling project were on the schedule.

(Photos: A. Lindner; A. Görner)