Soon after the WILDArt exhibition we rolled straight into the Academy Days; 3 days of talking and listening to experts in the respective fields. From honoured guests John Hausdoerffer the founding Dean of the School of Environmental & Sustainability and Gary Oye, the former chief of the US National Park Service and US Forestry Service. We also heard from rangers of National Parks, managers of Wilderness Areas and tour guides about how they help contribute to conservation through their work.
It was fascinating to hear about some of the challenges faced. Typically, you hear about things on a global scale, plastic in the sea, climate change, 6th extinction event etc. not that I am diminishing their importance. Instead some of the discussions focused on intimate local issues of that between neighbouring countries and cultural challanges. Something I had never thought of let alone grasped. Particularly to me, the discussions of Pavel Bečka and the joint discussion by David Freudl and Zdenek Mačát were fascinating.
Pavel has to navigate a National Park bisected in the middle with the boarder of Germany and Czechia and the differences in management styles each country uses and funding that is available.
Meanwhile David and Zdenek had differences in priorities that each country wanted to focus on and sometimes entirely different methods. While David works in Thayatal National Park, located in Austria. Zdenek works in Podyjí National Park, located across the river in Czechia.