Wilderness DiaryDiary of European Wilderness Society Volunteers

The International Wilderness Week

Time flies here really fast. It seems that we just had our adventures in Tyrol and now we are already preparing for Christmas holidays. And I am still living in the mood of the International Wilderness Week that we held in October. Maybe because I am still working on the wrap-up of the event – processing recordings, uploading presentations and cleaning up the website. But also because it was such great week!

The International Wilderness Week was a five-day international conference on Wilderness. Every day we planned to have 13 hours of content. And it was tailored to every time zone.  So live presentations would start in Asia at noon, then move to Europe and Africa and then to Americas. This meant that we, the organizers, stayed in the office from 5:30 am to 8:00 pm CET time. As many people said – crazy!

When Max first introduced this idea to us, we said the same thing – don’t be crazy! But, after a while the idea became dear to us and we became eager to tackle this challenge and prove to everyone that it is doable.

Organization

The organization of this conference was tedious. I was responsible for searching potential speakers from all over the world and approaching them with an invitational email. So, I have reached out to ~700 people from Australia to Alaska and from Antarctica to Northern Pole. Unfortunately, not all of them replied. However, we still managed to gather almost 100 presenters from 30 countries from all continents. More than 300 active wilderness advocates participated in person, and we also reached thousands of people on social media and our website with more than 30 000 impressions throughout the week.

Better than expected

Needless to say, I was stunned by how great the event turned out to be. Throughout the week I’ve met really interesting people from all over the world that presented their interesting work. I got to know a lot about the Wilderness areas in other continents. Many discussions were sparked and many connections between participants were started. I was very glad to see how our team worked together, even in stressful situations.

Overall, this was a very impressive event. I am glad that I could renew my contact searching and people approaching skills, as well as event organizing skills. Even if it was organization of an online event!  To look back at the International Wilderness Week, I feel very proud that we managed to pull it off and to attract very interesting speakers. Hopefully participants learned something new and hopefully next year we can make the International Wilderness Week even greater and bigger!

You can watch recordings of the presentations on our YouTube channel.

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