Verena Gruber, Geographer based in Tamsweg
A graduate mountain geographer from the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, I already cooperated with the European Wilderness Society for my award-winning master thesis about the categorisation of wilderness in Europe. I am working from the main office in Tamsweg in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Lungau, Austria.
In the summer of 2017 I finished my Geography studies in Graz. I chose the path of environmental protection early in my studies and tried to get an insight in various different fields of Geography to be able to get a holistic view on the environment. In my masters program I focused, among other things, on the interconnecting processes shaping the Austrian Alps, for example in permafrost environments, and on monitoring measures with remote sensing and GIS. During my numerous internships, I studied trace gas emissions in fen and agricultural environments in North-East Germany, a topic I picked up again for my bachelor thesis, and raised the awareness for the UNESCO Biosphere reserve Salzburger Lungau during my first internship. These and many more projects deepened my interest in the complex linkages of nature and its flora and fauna. During an internship at the European Wilderness Society in the Summer 2015 I realised that wilderness offers the possibility to study these linkages in the last untouched places of Europe. I accompanied our Deputy Chairman Vlado Vancura on the final assessment trip of Hohe Tauern Wilderness during this internship and was able to get a first glimpse of how wilderness can look like in Europe.
Geography is an interdisciplinary field of science and demands to think outside the box. It is the perfect basis for working with and in wilderness. Letting nature be nature without interfering in it but learning from it, is what fascinates me in wilderness.
I grew up in the Lungau and am deeply rooted in the region’s mountains. I love to be outdoors hiking and snowboarding and traveling around the world to get lost in unknown places.
I will be working on the implementation of the European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System together with Vlado Vancura and manage the international student and fellowship exchange projects. The latter just took me on a 2 month trip to the US earlier in 2018, where I met and cooperated with several our peer wilderness advocates and some of the finest US wilderness organisations.