How to steer towards sustainability at the landscape level in the World Heritage Wadden Sea Region? That was the central theme summer school: The Wadden experience.
The Sustainable Landscapes team of the University of Groningen in cooperation with the Wadden Academy organized the summer school in two parts: On Monday and Tuesday 16 participants enjoyed eight online lectures, each highlighting a different aspect or perspective on the Wadden Sea. Prof. Dr. Tialda Haartsen showed the importance of the concept of liveability in the Wadden Sea Region, Anna-Rosja Haveman dug into the art project of Han Jansen who colored the Wadden using the tide, was it about, raising awareness, was it polluting or pure art? Dr. Allert Bijleveld took us along in the understanding of shorebird movement ecology, while Dr. Meindert Schroor showed the Wadden Sea landscape as a mirror of its cultural history. Prof. Dr. Jouke van Dijk addressed the core issue of working towards sustainable regional development in the trilateral Worldheritage Wadden Sea Region. Prof. Dr. Tjisse van der Heide showed participants the value of shifting the perspective from battling nature to building with nature. Artist Sissel Marie Tonn showed the tempting challenge of people becoming sentinels of the Dutch Landscape, while Dr. Frans Sijtsma spoke about the dilemmas for sustainable tourism and the possible governance role of the millions of Wadden fans. These lectures and accompanying reading material provided a wide and rich knowledge base to enhance the Wadden experience of the second part of the summer school.
On Wednesday we embarked on the Willem Jacob, a green certified sailing barge of 130 years old. Sailing this ship served as a living metaphor of interdisciplinary collaboration, because dealing with the dynamics of wind and currents required a collaboration between the different tasks the participants had on board. At the island of Schiermonnikoog dr. Wander Jager gave a lecture on the history of the Dutch coastal landscape, and the role of human activities, organisations and visions that shaped it. On Thursday we sailed to a protected natural area and set the ship dry on the seafloor. This allowed us to experience the ecological richness and stillness of this area. A lecture was devoted to the complex dynamics of socio-ecological systems, including experimentation with computer simulations. Upon arrival at Schiermonnikoog we had a guest lecture by Thom Verheul, who confronted us with the complex problem of planning a cable through a vulnerable area to connect a windfarm with the mainland. On Friday we made a long walk on the island, exploring the history of the sea defense system, the natural landscape and numerous historical artefacts. Following that we sailed back to the mainland and concluded an inspirational trip.
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