On the home stretch for the Master's degree in Management of Conservation Areas

Fotocredit: FH Kärnten
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Management of Conservation Areas MSc

The first year of our international Master's programme Management of Conservation Areas is now in its third semester. The recent in-presence block was a tough challenge for our 11 MCA students. Over a period of 3 weeks and at 3 different venues, they acquired in-depth knowledge about the planning and management of conservation areas.

They received 180 learning units of instruction by 12 international lecturers and got to know the perspectives of 14 additional guests or hosts. The students participated in 3 expert panels with 6 Austrian experts, talked with 5 representatives of international organisations, 6 internationally leading scientists, and attended 3 brownbag sessions (virtual lecture during lunchbreak, check out under videos). Monika Auinger, course lecturer reports ‘The current in-presence block has brought our students one step closer to graduation. They were able to expand their knowledge and understanding of the necessary comprehensive expertise for the management of protected areas from the fields of law, management and conservation technologies’.

In addition to coursework in Villach, the course excursions took our  students, who come from different nations such as Austria, Ukraine, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and the USA, to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Venice, Italy and to the Pöllauer Tal Nature Park, Austria.

The first excursion of the winter semester 2022 took our students to beautiful Venice for three days. During the stay, our students, together with FH Prof. Dr. Michael Jungmeier, studied the challenges of managing Venice's cultural heritage and explored practical examples in the city. The programme also included an insight into the UNESCO Regional Office for Science and Culture in Europe, where participants discussed the future prospects of the Venetian Lagoon and tourism.

After an eventful time in Venice, a one-week stay at the Villach campus followed, with teaching units on the topics of transdisciplinarity and transcultural learning, as well as numerous lectures dealing with the life cycle of protected area development and management. Top-class lecturers from the field were recruited for this, including Peter Rupitsch (former director of the Hohe Tauern National Park), Engelbert Ruoss (former director of the Danube Floodplain National Park), and other international experts from nature conservation organisations such as the WWF and IUCN WCPA.

Finally, the third week was spent in the Pöllauer Tal valley, Styria, to learn about the protected area category of nature parks. Numerous local stakeholders presented the concept and the activities in the protected area. Last but not least, we received a culinary impression of the region's flagship product, the autumn pear (Hirschbirne). With only one more attendance block in the Master's programme, the students are now getting closer to the goal of the master's degree and are now working at full speed on the implementation of their master's thesis topics. More information on the Master's programme