Carolien Wegstapel has been fascinated by trees, forests and wildlife for as long as she can remember. It seemed a logical choice for her to come to Wageningen University, where she studied Forest and Nature Conservation.
“I liked it because the programme consists of a combination of courses on nature and ecological systems and courses from the social sciences. The programme highlights the relationship between man and nature and investigates how nature can be managed best, taking into account factors such as ecology, policy and legislation.” During her bachelor, Carolien also took courses at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, which she enjoyed very much. Her master thesis was an ecological research project on vegetation, water and soil in Drenthe. The aim was to chart the upper peat grasslands and to explore the relationship between vegetation, soil, hydrology and (cultural) history. Additionally, she proposed management measures for the preservation of the upper peat grasslands.
Carolien did her internship at Tauw in Utrecht. Currently, she still works for this engineering and consultancy agency. During her daily work, she focuses on various ecological issues in the fields of management and law. For example, she worked on an ecological structure plan for a municipality. In this plan she gave advice on how nature within the municipality could be managed best. These are complex issues, for which the consultant has to be the link between the product and process – aspirations and management implementations are combined. To be able to do this successfully, you do not only need ecological knowledge, but you also have to come up with new ideas and listen carefully to the client.