On 9 April, more than 40 pupils from the Leeuwarder Lyceum and the RSG De Lindenborg from the municipality of Leek visited a farmer to explore ‘sustainable landscapes’. In a masterclass, they got a first impression of the research project that they will be working on over the next eight weeks.
The masterclass started in Leeuwarden with an introduction by Maaike de Heij, Science LinX’s project coordinator of SUSTAIN, a European project that aims to involve pupils in researching the use of landscapes. The pupils subsequently attended a talk by landscape management specialist Jetze Genee from the province of Friesland. He spoke about the efforts that managers have to make and the challenges that they encounter as part of their job to protect the Frisian pastures and all their inhabitants. Finally, ecologist Raymond Klaassen, coordinator of the UG’s Sustainable Landscapes Competence Centre, talked about the economic, ecological and societal balance through which a sustainable landscape can be created. He challenged the pupils to think about their own roles in this complex issue.
A practical session followed the talks. The remainder of the day was taken up by a visit to a farm in Ryptsjerk, which is managed by Pieter de Vries and his family. He spoke about the daily tasks on his farm and explained how these include making an effort to help the field birds on his plots.
To conclude the masterclass, the pupils went out into the fields themselves, to explore the landscape on their own. Armed with telescopes and field guides, they studied the plant and bird diversity at various sites. This introductory day has made them enthusiastic about their SUSTAIN study project. A good start to the module!
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