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.
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.
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…
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.
Lecture by Sarah Cornell on planetary boundaries
Lecture by Erik Gómez-Baggethun presenting a critical perspective on valuation
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
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
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
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
Explaining the concept of the activity 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
Stakeholders and researchers at work!
Embellishing the turtle
Embellishing the turtle
The final turtle
And there were other art projects like this turtle farm!
Making shadows on the turtle farm
The talk by Mary Colwell-Hector on science communication was much appreciated by the audience and it sparked interesting discussions!
Students discussing with Mary Colwell-Hector