Internship experience of Gudrun Ruff in Latvian Fund for Nature: Grassland habitat inventory and management
Gudrun Ruff trained as an intern with Latvian Fund for Nature for three months in 2022, in a position of a habitat monitoring and management intern for grasslands in GrassLIFE project. She started her assignment with a basic knowledge about the grassland habitats, and quickly advanced to an assistant expert level. Gundrun feels happy and grateful: "The internship was perfect for me!"
Gundrun Ruff tells about her experience: "At my German university we work a lot with grassland and I already had some basic knowledge about species and management. But coming to Latvia really broadened my knowledge not just about species, but about the whole ecosystem of grasslands. Further, I got to know the different methods for evaluating the condition of grassland and got an insight into different management methods. Also, the fieldwork showed me how challenging this work can be, but that you can enjoy it as well. Solvita took a lot of time to explain the different attempts how to restore grasslands, the species occurring on them and the ecology of the ecosystem, which made it possible to understand better what you were working on.
The internship really prepared me on what it means to work in this field and made me realize that I could see myself working as a grassland expert. It also made me more self-confident about species determination and overall grassland-knowledge."
The internship further gave the opportunity to get to know hidden gems of Latvia, as the farms are sometimes really nice in terms of nature and landscape. In one farm I also bought some local wine, in another I tried some sausages from grass-fed cows and some tea from grassland plants. In the evening I could explore the small towns, where we were staying overnight and sometimes, we had time to stop on some interesting sights on the road. The rest of Latvia I explored on the amazing intern trips organised by our coordinator and in my free time.
All in all, I am more than satisfied with my internship experience and will hold it in a very good memory. I felt in very good hands in Latvian Fund for Nature and want to thank especially Solvita and Nora for the good work, but also all the other members of Latvian Fund for Nature, who made my internship possible.