During the internship I gained a lot of practical and theoretical experience in biogeographical research. Beginning with the knowledge of the Latvian grassland ecology, I learned to define around 100 grass and forbs species as part of the vegetation habitat monitoring in addition to preparing the gained vegetation data and soil samples for further analyses.

I enjoyed my work at the Latvian Fund for Nature so much, that I decided to prolong my internship, which was luckily a quite uncomplicated process. Doing so, I got the chance to get acquainted with the database program Turboveg and the theory behind multilateral analysis. Preceding the internship, I merely gained the basic knowledge about ecology and agriculture during my bachelor’s degree.

We were a group of five young women from different, but somehow related field of studies. In comparison to my colleagues I had the least practical experience in vegetation monitoring which gave me the chance to be open minded for new knowledge and methods. Even though we arrived at different times in Latvia and I stayed outside of Riga for the first month, I immediately felt connected with the other women. This is also thanks to Lita, our internship coordinator, who organized trips together at least once a month. In addition, we had free weekends to explore Latvia with our rental car. Looking back on the internship, the best moments were spent with my colleagues either while having a break in the meadows or going for a swim in one of the lakes after a long day of monitoring.

The meadows are in my opinion a beautiful part of Latvian culture and home to countless birds and insects that should receive more awareness in the environmental protection. Therefore, I highly approve the Latvian fund for nature’s efforts to increase awareness among farmers about the importance of meadows while also coaching them in grassland enhancing management.

I am grateful that I had the chance to do the internship at the Latvian fund for nature as I not only gained valuable knowledge in an interesting research field but also overcame my fear of driving a car in a foreign country, which can be intimidating at first, to be frank.”
                                             – Katharina Hahn, Germany




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