German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Programme structure

The 18-month course principally consists of four ten-day extra-occupational training modules on the Isle of Vilm, Germany, and assignments between the modules. Due to health concerns relating the spread of COVID-19, the first module, originally planned for March 2020, was carried out as an online module from 20 August - 7 September, 2020. The module dates in 2021 are 13 -27 March, and 21 August - 3 September, 2021. The module conception is being adapted accordingly. 

Each module on Vilm island includes eight days of on-site training and a two-day excursion to leading nature conservation institutions and sites based in Germany. Training language is English. The modules combine joint learning on key conservation topics with management and leadership training:

  • Module "Informing Conservation": Types and distribution of biodiversity, trends, causes and root causes of biodiversity loss, conservation rationales, evaluating and monitoring biodiversity; information management and communication for biodiversity conservation, strategic conservation planning and adaptive management
  • Module "Conservation Economics and Financing": Ecological economics, TEEB, resource mobilization and sustainable financing of conservation measures; fundraising, proposal and technical writing
  • Module "Conservation Management in a Spatial Context": Conservation management in protected areas and beyond, integrated land use planning, ecological networks; engaging stakeholders and building collaborative partnerships, leadership skills
  • Module "Conservation Governance and Policy": Decision making processes and structures relevant to conservation at the local, national and international level, user-based approaches to resource conservation; negotiation skills, lobbying and advocacy

In order to guide the learning process, participants will also formulate their own plans for their professional development during the course.

As part of the programme, participants will develop a transfer project with relevance to the work of their home institution. The transfer project, once implemented, is expected to improve the effectiveness of their organisation or project. It should address a technical or management challenge that the home institution is facing and suggest solutions or innovative ways how to overcome this. Participants will receive assistance and technical input by trainers and mentors throughout the entire elaboration process.

During intervals between the modules, participants will be expected to work on their transfer projects and fulfill additional assignments such as e-learning units and work on case studies. The work on transfer projects and additional assignments will require approximately 350 hours of work by participants in between the modules in total.

Photo: T. Garstecki

Logo of the Klaus-Toepfer-Fellowship-Programme

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