Northern European Program Costs, Spring 2018
Spring 2018: Program fees due by February 1, 2018
|Our instructor Jeff Gailus has created a wonderful Facebook page that provides extensive information related to this program. We encourage you to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RewildingNorthernEurope/|
Join us this spring as we explore some of the wildest places in Europe: the Scottish Highlands and the mountainous borderlands of Norway and Sweden, land of the Midnight Sun. Here, on our first field study in northern Europe, we will investigate one of the most ambitious conservation projects in the world: Europe’s attempt to “rewild” its natural landscapes through vast efforts to re-establish native carnivores and their native habitats.
Our focus will be on northern Europe, where we will study efforts to restore habitats and recover native carnivores (Eurasian lynx, wolves, and European brown bears) that were extirpated or reduced to small, isolated populations. In Scotland, we will study the imminent reintroduction of Eurasian lynx after a 1000-year absence. As contentious as the reintroduction of wolves to the contiguous United States, the impending return of the Eurasian lynx to the Scottish Highlands provides a fascinating opportunity to study the ecological and socio-political complexities of returning top predators to their native hunting grounds.
Scandinavia, on the other hand, never lost its top carnivores. Norway maintains a small population (400) of lynx, but Sweden boasts more than a thousand. And while Sweden has restored the brown bear population from 130 individuals in the 1930s to 3500 today, there are only about 70 in neighboring Norway. Similarly, by the 1960s wolves had been wiped out, but they were able to recolonize Norway and Sweden from Finland. Sweden now boasts almost 500 wolves, while Norway continues to manage them at low numbers.
Key questions include: How has the absence of predators affected European ecosystems, and how have those same ecosystems changed upon the return of predators? What kinds of restoration activities are being pursued and why? What are the various opportunities and challenges? Why the differences between Norway and Sweden, which are linguistically and culturally almost identical, and yet they have such different conservation visions? And why the relatively sudden interest across Europe in restoring species and the habitats they depend on?
Through hands-on restoration work, wildlife monitoring, backcountry travel, and presentations from and interactions with land and wildlife managers, scientists, conservationists, and indigenous people, we will look to answer these questions. As we explore a variety of ecosystems we will research and study ecology and conservation biology, as well as habitat and wildlife restoration, recovery and management. By the close of the program each of us will have gained an intimate understanding of northern Europe's fascinating ecology, its historical and current environmental challenges, and the conservation and restoration efforts being taken to address them.
M.S., Environmental Science, University of Montana, 2007;
M.F.A., University of Montana, 2016
Jeff has been a university field instructor since 2007, focusing on conservation policy and wilderness education in the United States and Canada. He is an award winning author who has published two books and numerous essays and articles on wildlife conservation and natural resource policy. Jeff has taught at University of Oregon and the University of Montana and has been teaching with Wildlands Studies since 2012. He currently leads our Yellowstone and Northern Europe Projects.