Maris Van der Baan

Student of Forestry and Nature Management

"After three months at the art academy I decided that this field didn't suit me. I did a study choice test to see what direction would suit me better, and the outcome was 'something with nature'. That did not surprise me, but it did surprise my family and friends who thought that the result would still be art related. But I really wanted to do study something meaningful -something that I could make a career of. After attending an open day at Van Hall Larenstein, I knew that Forest and Nature Management was the thing for me."

I decided to specialise in Tropical Forestry, but this was not my ideal choice. I really liked forestry, but the international aspect did not appeal to me so much. However, forests in a foreign country and how to maintain them, now that's real nature. I even began to like the idea of travelling more . Now I find this study really cool, and I realise I could not have made a better choice.

Last year I did my internship in a tropical area in Australia. There I did research for an ecological research unit where I gathered data on tropical ecology. For my thesis project I would like to focus on a social project, so something that is more people related. The key to preserving the rainforests lies with the people who live in and around the rainforests and how they can generate their income in a way that is more sustainable for the environment and themselves. Us rich westerners can say 'leave the forest alone' but it is their forest, and they have to survive!

After my study I would prefer to work for a large international organisation and investigate the social problems of indigenous populations. But maybe I will first do a Master in Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University and Research Centre. Then I will have even more background and, I do like an academic challenge.


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