It has been almost two months since the first International Wilderness Week took place. This first-of-its-kind event gathered almost 100 speakers from 30 countries across all six continents. It gave people the long-awaited chance to present their work to a wide audience after the crazy year 2020 led to the cancellation of WILD 11 and the Conference of Parties on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the European Wilderness Society´s annual Wilderness Academy Days.
Wilderness from every corner of the world
The agenda took us all around the world. We visited the far eastern taiga of Russia, the Wilderness World Heritage in Tasmania, explored the Wilderness movement in China. From low to high, we went all the way from the sea with the Galapagos whale shark project to the air to hear about the success story of the white-tailed eagle in Austria. We went from the hot and humid rainforests of Ecuador to the cold forests of Evo Science National Park in Finland and the dry South African savannah to learn about owl conservation.
During the Wilderness Week, we worked our way from the Aquatic warblers that live in the lowland meadows of Lithuania to the vultures of Nepal in the Himalayas. We looked at large Wilderness areas like the endless forests around Algonquin Wildlife Research Station in Canada, but also at small patches of Urban Wilderness in Germany. Similarly, we covered wildlife from the small Antlions in India to large Brown Bears in Central Europe. We saw trees that are hundreds of years old in “Ancient Woods” from Lithuania and learned how young children are educated about Wilderness in the Youth Wilderness Camps by Generation Earth in Austria.
Our presenters covered all facettes of Wilderness from the hands-on management in the transboundary biosphere reserve Mount Elgon in Uganda and Kenya to the philosophical journey “From Wilderness to wildness to kinship“. We brought together biology like the Durankulak Bird Ringing Camp in Bulgaria and psychology to find out “what drives pro-environmental behaviour“.
The response of our followers was overwhelming. In addition to the hundreds of participants that joined our Zoom webinar, we reached thousands of people via social media and our websites. All participants said that they would recommend the International Wilderness Week to others and it met the expectation of 83% of participants. An overwhelming 94% of people expressed interest in another International Wilderness Week in 2021, so save the date: