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Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - EUROPARC Stipendien

What We Do

Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships

Since 2002, the EUROPARC Federation, with support from the Alfred Toepfer Foundation, awards three Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships each year to promising young conservationists, who are committed to working for the benefit of Protected Areas. The scholarship enables successful applicants to undertake a study visit on a particular theme to Protected Areas in European countries.

Candidates must be under 35, have a European nationality and be employed by a Protected Area, a nature conservation organisation or an organisation that delivers its work Protected Areas. The selection of candidates is carried out by the EUROPARC Federation. An application is therefore only possible at the EUROPARC Federation, not at the Toepfer Foundation.

More information on the Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships and the application

The scholarship holders 2022

Caitlin Cunningham

Caitlin Cunningham

"My name is Caitlin Cunningham and I work as a Marine Sustainability Adviser for NatureScot. This involves coordinating environmental advice for offshore wind and marine renewable proposals in Scotland, considering impacts to our seas and marine life. My work is directly involved in helping to tackle the climate emergency through the development of renewable energy, whilst also balancing the conservation of biodiversity through minimising environmental impacts. During my study visit to the Netherlands, I will learn from marine and coastal renewable energy developments that impact protected sites, as well as the mitigation in place to protect biodiversity. I hope to broaden my understanding of different approaches to sustainable development and record any lessons learnt that can be applied across the marine renewable energy sector. I’m delighted to receive one of the Alfred Toepfer Scholarships and look forward to sharing my findings with the wider environmental community."

Margaux Pierrel

Margaux Pierrel

"My name is Margaux Pierrel, I work as a Conservation Ranger for the National Parks and Wildlife Service in Ireland. My job involves monitoring sites with national or European protection, enforcing the wildlife and habitat legislation and engaging with the community about nature. I have a strong interest in the concept of “shifting baseline syndrome” (SBS), also referred to as “environmental generational amnesia”. SBS is the situation in which over time knowledge or memory is lost about the state of the natural world, because people don’t perceive changes that are actually taking place. My scholarship project is to study the effects SBS has on conservation measures in protected areas, particularly in terms of rewilding, land use changes and species loss. I aim at visiting several protected places in Europe which are aware of these challenges and have developed solutions. I am looking forward to completing my study visits and to share findings/best practices with my European colleagues."

Espen Quinto-Ashman

Espen Quinto-Ashman

"My name is Espen Quinto-Ashman, I work as a volunteer coordinator at Ottenby bird station in Sweden. Based within Ottenby nature reserve, the station’s main purpose is to collect long-term data on migrating birds through standardised bird ringing. Past and ongoing changes in land use (both on a wider scale and within Ottenby) have had serious knock on effects on biodiversity and despite conservation efforts wildlife populations are still in decline. I would like to learn more about how different approaches to nature reserve management can help to maintain resilient biodiversity. I look forward to my study visits and hope that my findings can be useful both to local conservation efforts and in the larger struggle against biodiversity loss."

The scholarship holders 2020

Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - Europarc Stipendien

Anna Jennings

"My name is Anna Jennings and I work as an Engagement Ranger for the Peak District National Park Authority, which involves ensuring that the interactions between visitors, residents and the landscape are as mutually beneficial and sustainable as possible. I believe that nature and National Parks play a fundamental role in our wellbeing and am interested in visiting projects which showcase the best ways to improve people's mental health in long term, environmentally conscious ways. The current situation has highlighted the huge importance of accessing green spaces for everyone's mental and physical wellbeing, and I hope to discover the best practices for future work in this area."

Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - Europarc Stipendien

Réka Szilágyi

"My name is Réka Szilágyi and I work at “Milvus Group” Nature and Bird Protection Association, in Transylvania, Romania. The association is engaged in a wide range of activities within the field of nature conservation, including monitoring and research programs for protected species, education and public awareness raising. The association also operates a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Having a degree in computer science, I am primarily involved in IT related tasks, but I assist in the work of the rehabilitation center as well. During the scholarship I will visit wildlife rehabilitation centers in Spain and Bulgaria, that take part in vulture and eagle rehabilitation projects. Besides their daily work, educational activities, volunteering programs and visitors engagement, I am curious to find out about their role in the protection and restoration of the highly vulnerable European vulture species population. While visiting these centers, I would also like to study the universal aspects of these reintroduction projects, the common challenges these institutions are facing, as well as the differences in their approach to rehabilitation. It is a great honor to be one of the Alfred Toepfer Scholarship holders, and I hope the experience gained during my visits will help our work at the Milvus Group`s rehabilitation center and will also bring valuable knowledge for our professional community."

Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. - Europarc Stipendien

Rosie Corner

"My name is Rosie Corner and I am the Local Plan Officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park. My day job involves securing the future economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Park but my research leans more towards the spiritual. I’m going to be asking what protected area managers can learn from the managers of Sacred Natural Sites. By spending time in a range of spiritual tourism hotspots I hope to discover what these places offer to visitors and what sets them apart from their secular counterpart. I’ll be looking closely at factors such as visitor behaviour, donations, retail offer, community engagement and interfaith dialogue at sites in England, Latvia, Italy and Finland. I’m delighted to be one of the Alfred Toepfer Scholarship holders and look forward to sharing my findings with other environmental professionals."


Dr. Klara Stumpf Program Lead Future-oriented Land Use

+49 40 33 402 12stumpf@toepfer-stiftung.de