GSS 2015 - From a student's point of view
During the Greek Summer School in Conservation Biology we attended an excursion to Papingo. After a short stop for a group picture under the huge plane tree near the church of Mikro Papigo (980 m a.s.l.), we started the hiking towards the Astraka Refuge (1950 m). At the beginning we were surrounded by dense oak forest, house for unexpected wonders: ancient buildings and beautiful orchids. However, very soon we left the shadow of the forest for the light of a wide open pasture. Step by step the track became harder but an amazing view opened up for us. From the top of the mountain pass we could see all the surrounding peaks and valleys, villages and unspoiled nature.
The discovery of new ecosystem types and unseen species along the latitudinal gradient gave us the chance to increase our knowledge as well as to gain a new and more complete perspective about biodiversity patterns and distribution.
During the climb twelve people from different countries and cultures had the opportunity to share their own point of view on biodiversity conservation. Each one could talk about their experiences and issues, discovering other opinions, answers and advices.
But most of all, the direct contact with nature and returning to the basics offered us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, real motivation to face the oncoming challenges.
The 2015 class of the SCB Greek Summer School on the terrace of the Astraka Refuge, Timfi Mountains. From left to right: Edy Fantinato, Alessandro Chiarucci, Giancarlo Torre, Martin Wiemers, John Halley, Gabor Lovei, Konstantinos Anestis, Nihal Kenar, Frank Weiser, Esther Bauman, Zoltan Elek (missing: Athanasios Kallimanis, Natasha Zorzaki)