Femke Koopmans spend her internship a the World Wildlife Fund in the Netherlands where she not only looked at the specific topic of human-polar bear relationships but also gained experience with WWF strategies for nature conservation. This is her story.
My internship was at WWF- Netherlands where I had multiple tasks. My main study was focussed on human-polar bear conflicts in East Greenland. Communication between WWF and people in East Greenland showed that these conflicts were perceived to be increasing. This study examined conflicts and provided an overview of mitigation measures used in other Arctic countries. The goal of this was to provide practical advice for East Greenland on how to reduce and mitigate conflict.
Beside this very interesting topic, I also worked on an overview of strategies used by WWF-NL in its nature conservation programme. Moreover, I attended meetings and presentations. This internship gave me the opportunity to learn about how nature conservation is actually practiced, something you hardly learn in a classroom.
I worked mainly at the office in Zeist where I had a flexible workplace at the cluster of Ecological Networks and Species. For my study I had contact with WWF staff from throughout the Arctic, to gain information and to talk about the issue. Also within the WWF-NL office, I had contact with many different clusters which gave me a good overview of the organisational aspects behind nature conservation programmes. This also enabled me to meet many new, interesting people.
I think it is very important to find a nice place for an internship where you can work on a study with a topic of your interest, but more important, where you can be a part of the organisation for a few months. This gives a lot of experience in working with an organisation you could imagine yourself working with in the future. It is also very important for your future career, you meet many people and, maybe even more important, they get to know you.