Student Forest and Nature Conservation
Prior Education: Forest and Nature Conservation, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences
In the past seven years in Velp I studied Forest and Nature Conservation at both community college and applied science university levels. With a transfer course I could transfer from the Helicon Community College to the second year of the program at Van Hall Larenstein. At the University of Applied Sciences the focus was mainly on the conservation of the ecosystem, which I found very interesting. However, there was less eye for the conducting of research and the publishing of scientific papers. This was the main reason for me to do my Master’s. In first instance I was interested in the Master’s Biology, but the fact that I needed to do an extra pre-Master’s to get accepted made me decide to chose for Forest and Nature Conservation instead.
Meanwhile I have been doing the Master’s program for a year and I haven’t regretted starting it once. This is because a great part of the courses can be chosen in such a way that they are the same as they would have been for a Master’s Biology. I was used to getting lectures in Dutch, so the transition to English took some getting used to in the beginning. However, it is quickly learned which makes lectures easy to follow. Beside this, I had also missed some depth in the mathematics that I had taken in my previous programs. To catch up on this I took an extra Mathematics course at the start of my Master’s program. The freedom given in organising a study program is pleasant as the opportunity is given to choose courses which you like/find interesting. The course choices I made put the emphasis on Animal Ecology. By putting the emphasis on specific subjects, specialising in a specific direction and only taking courses that you find interesting are possible!
Thanks to the different courses one gets to know a lot of professors with each their own specalisation. One of the courses that I had chosen was Restoration Ecology. Whilst enjoying a cup of coffee I discussed the possibilities for a thesis with the professor and before I knew it, I had found a topic. At the moment I have been working on my thesis, in which I am researching the effects of humidity and pH in the soil (and therefore also in the host plant Sheep Sorrel) on caterpillars of the Small Fire Butterfly, for the past two months. This entails that I am breeding 200 Sheep Sorrel plants and that there are 20 Small Fire Butterflies flying around to breed further with. After my Master’s I hope to end up somewhere at an ecological consultancy firm. Here I hope to be able to protect and preserve Dutch species and ecosystems.