Teaching applied landscape ecology in interdisciplinary and intercultural student groups. Experiences from a 10-years study abroad program
Against the background of the global environmental crises, landscape ecology and related disciplines become increasingly important. Higher education should therefore contribute to the development of experts and potential stakeholders who have not only scientific skills but also interdisciplinary, intercultural, and communication skills to be applied in diverse contexts throughout the world. A 10-years program, funded by the Stemmler Foundation within the German Stifterverband supported studies
... broad with excursions, summer schools, and workshops with students from the Bachelor, Master and doctoral level of various study programs. Students from 39 countries from all over the world benefitted from this program. In summer schools, particularly ecosystem restoration and nature conservation were addressed in lectures and during field trips as well as with students' input of case studies from their country of origin. During international excursions to various countries, land use and culture, land-use history, and sustainable development were topics, with close interaction with local land users and stakeholders. Bridging the natural with the social sciences was achieved by involving respective experts as well as stimulate students to cross-disciplinary thinking and judgements. Master students were offered exploratory learning environments abroad within ongoing landscape ecological research projects for their thesis. Students' feedback reflect an overall successful approach, which prepared students for the global environmental challenges with hard and soft skills.