Student project

During the Summer School, the students usually develop a project on the topic of biodiversity and ecosystem services, with the surrounding region as case study. This allows applying in practice the knowledge each student brings, together with the knowledge gained in the lectures and school discussions, while gathering insights directly from the field and from the local stakeholders that the students have the chance to meet.

The student project offers an excellent opportunity for students to put their skills into play, to work as a team, to manage lifelike constraints (e.g. time and data), or to develop their creative communication ability.

group brainstorm.png

Initial brainstorming for project development


Working on stakeholder engagement

working group.png

Working group


Presenting project results


Walk to the shepherds and field trip

One of the key features of the Summer School is its connection to the wonderful region where it takes place, as well as its inhabitants. The participants have the chance to experience the region and interact with the locals. This provides inputs for the students’ project, since the region is also the project’s case study.


Walk to the shepherds (1)


Walk to the shepherds (2)


Field trip (1)


Field trip (2)


Field trip (3)

Student posters

Students of the summer school are asked to present a poster about their research. This is always a good opportunity for everybody to get to know each other’s work a bit better, but also receive helpful tips on poster design and presentation. It’s an excellent opportunity to train for the challenges of time pressure as well…



Student Rich Howells presenting his poster


Students discussing their posters

The lectures

The Summer School’s lectures try to provide a broad view on the different issues related with the concepts of biodiversity and ecosystem services together with its operationalization. The guest lecturers bring interesting insights from a wide range of experiences, which provides a lot of food for thought and discussion during the school.

In 2015, topics covered included: introduction to ecosystem services, ecosystem services valuation, scenarios, IPBES, participatory processes, planetary boundaries, resilience, conservation, pollution, climate change and biodiversity, business perspectives on biodiversity and the science-society-policy interface.

2015-09-09 09.02.39.jpg

Lecture by Wolfgang Cramer on climate change and biodiversity


Lecture by Sarah Cornell on planetary boundaries


Lecture by Erik Gómez-Baggethun presenting a critical perspective on valuation

Allan Watt on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

The first “official” talk of, and introduction to, the Summer School is by Allan Watt, one of the conveners.

The perfect picture to start talking about biodiversity and ecosystem services in the context of Peyresq

The perfect picture to start talking about biodiversity and ecosystem services in the context of Peyresq

And it’s important to keep in mind why is this community doing the research it does (at least one of the reasons).

One of the reasons for having the Summer School

One of the reasons for having the Summer School

Reflections on the 2014 summer school

The 2014 summer school ends with reflections by the conveners Allan Watt, Taru Peltola and Steve Redpath. Always a good time to learn some lessons from the whole school experience and share some challenges for the future that lies ahead. Everyone involved gains a lot of new insights from each summer school. Now that’s a highly valuable non-material benefit!

Allan Watt, Taru Peltola and Steve Redpath

Allan Watt, Taru Peltola and Steve Redpath

Creative communication of the students’ project

This year the creative communication of the students’ project was a land art event. Properly advertised in the village of Peyresq to invite the stakeholders.

Land Art advertisement

Land Art advertisement

Explaining the concept of the activity to stakeholders.

Land Art presentation to stakeholders

Land Art presentation to stakeholders

The “collaborative” turtle: let’s make art together to build a shared vision! Different parts of the turtle can represent different sectors/stakeholders of the Verdon region.

The "collaborative" turtle - before

The “collaborative” turtle – before

Stakeholders and researchers at work!

Embellishing the turtle

Embellishing the turtle

Embellishing the turtle

Embellishing the turtle

The final turtle

Final turtle

Final turtle

And there were other art projects like this turtle farm!

Turtle farm

Turtle farm

Making shadows on the turtle farm

Making shadows on the turtle farm