After finishing my bachelor in Deventer I came to Wageningen to do my masters in Forest and Nature conservation. Since ecology has always had my interest I decided to choose the ecology specialization. Within ecology I found I was most interested in forest ecology and forest management.
Through the IFSA (International Forestry Students' Association) I found an opportunity to do an internship in Iceland. I decided to apply for the internship in Iceland even though the number of places was very limited, and guess what? I got accepted!! I worked for Skógrækt Ríkisins which is the Icelandic Forest Service. My work was very diverse, looking at management plans, planting trees, thinning trees and conducting research. I was working at different field stations all over the southern part of Iceland; this gave me the great opportunity to travel around a lot. I was working with students from Denmark, Poland, Germany and Iceland. During this period I got to experience how it is to be a real forester. They taught me how to use a chainsaw which is something they don’t teach you at university.
While I was in Iceland I had to think about my thesis. I didn’t know what I really wanted to do but I was always interested in both forest ecosystems and the role of animals in those systems. I talked to Jan den Ouden from the forest ecology and management chair group and he had a great project. During my master thesis I investigated the role of seed dispersal by wood mice and seed predation by wild boar in the “Speulderbos” which is a beautiful forest on the Veluwe. While working in the field it wasn’t always fun because of the frozen hands and feet but looking back I really enjoyed the project. The fieldwork was very extensive which meant I couldn’t do it on my own, my family, friends and an intern from Jordan helped me with everything which was both handy and fun. I got to spend most of my days outside in this beautiful forest which really is a treat after following classes most of the year.
After 2 years in Wageningen I’ll probably have to leave this great “city” behind to find a job. I’m a little bit sad to go because I have had a wonderful time here, hopefully so will you.