Topics like biology, law, communication and politics have always interested me, especially in relation to nature and environment. I was thrilled to find out that there actually was a Bachelor’s programme that combined all these topics into one study programme: Forest and Nature Conservation. After finishing my Bachelor I continued with the master. Now I am working as a consultant at Arcadis, an international design & consultancy company for natural and build assets.
Master Forest & Nature Conservation
During my Master study I chose the specialization Policy & Society. The freedom of choice allowed me to follow courses on environmental policies, negotiation skills, communities in relation to nature conservation and environmental psychology. For me, this was a welcome addition to the courses on soil, spatial planning and ecology that I followed during my Bachelor. I wrote my Master thesis at the State Water Department (Rijkswaterstaat), where I researched how inland ship captains perceive the Dutch riverscape in relation to a new type of groyne that was being built in the river Waal. The combination of engineering projects and nature appealed to me greatly and I finished my study with an internship at Arcadis. During my internship I worked on a project that focused on removing vegetation from floodplains to improve the flow of the river. My activities consisted mainly of ecological quick scans, holding stakeholder meetings, designing the future flood plains and arranging the permits for the project. Here I found my perfect combination of combining knowledge on soil, ecology, management, policy & communication and I was very happy to continue working at Arcadis after my graduation.
In the field
My work is still quite varied and I am learning new things every day. My work activities consist mainly of arranging the permits for a broad range of projects (dike reinforcements, nature development projects, industrial sites), stakeholder management, ecological quick scans and environmental due diligences (audits). This diversity means that during one week I go outside to look for beaver dams, I have meetings with provinces and municipalities and I perform an environmental audit at a chemical industrial site (besides working in the office).
Link between work and Forest and Nature Conservation
It was only when I started to work that I realised how much I learned during both my Bachelor and my Master Forest and Nature Conservation. The true strength of the programme for me is that I learned about all the aspects of nature conservation. The interaction between wildlife, vegetation and abiotic factors, but also how to include stakeholders in the process and how environmental and nature policy influences it all. These skills and knowledge can be applied not only in the field of nature conservation, but also in other (environmental) areas. The ability to think outside your discipline and to connect different topics is useful to me every day.
If you want more information about my experience of the Forest & Nature Conservation programme or my work activities, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.