Franziska Maier, a Wildlife Ecologist, joined the European Wilderness Society in August 2017 as a volunteer. A happy coincidence let her meet two team members – Nick Huisman and Gudrun Pflüger – at an excursion to Austria’s first wolf pack’s territory in Allentsteig. From the very first moment she felt at home sharing the same passions about wilderness and wanted to join the team.
Now, she is part of the team and enjoying the diverse fields of wilderness-related topics. European Wilderness Society does cooperations with ERASMUS+ program, the so-called European Voluntary Service, and offers voluntary positions. This allows nature-loving people to get involved with nature conservation and wilderness. Franziska is looking forward to taking action herself. It’s the perfect chance to put her experience and passion into supporting and advocating for the wild side.
With the love and respect for nature there also came the deep desire to protect it. Following this striving, Franziska graduated in ecology in Graz and wildlife ecology and wildlife management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), in Vienna. Gaining knowledge about wildlife and ecology and the human dimensions in wildlife, she acquired skills and practical approaches to finding solutions in human-wildlife conflicts.
Connecting with nature
Being a very curious, free and adventurous soul, she travelled many Central-, North- and South-American, European and African countries. Exploring nature, wild landscapes and mountains, it was the incredible diversity and beauty of wildlife and nature that inspired and fascinated her. Experiencing the manifold colours of different cultures made her learn and grow.
Work experiences in the wild
Working in Austrian National Parks, like National Park Hohe Tauern and National Park Gesäuse, and volunteering for projects in Canada, she did a lot of environmental education work. She lived on the Canadian West Coast and the Rocky Mountain area for 8 months. Here she improved her wildlife tracking skills, following the tracks of the wolves and doing a wildlife tracking course. She also worked in a Nature Connection program and a Botanical Garden as a volunteer. Furthermore, she got precious insights into permaculture while working on organic farms.
Connecting children with wilderness
Currently she supports the “Let’s get wild” project – a BMLFUW funded project. This project is dedicated to getting pupils in touch with Austria’s National Parks. This way children can expand their knowledge about nature, biodiversity and wilderness.
As she is very passionate about wolves and large carnivores, she puts her biology and communication skills into solution-finding-strategies for human-wolf and human-carnivore-conflicts. An enriching and very precious coexistence of humans and wildlife is something she truly believes in.