Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Habitat Fragmentation, they are wide words, we often hear them, but the real question is: “How deep can we understand these?”
Before the answer, I will give you a short story about my life and how I got interested in Ecology.
Since I was a child I felt the need to explore, lead by the passions for the sea from my family, I had the possibility to venture into the Mediterranean Sea, drove by the wind and alongside curious dolphins.
I kept my passion on wildlife reading animals encyclopaedias, watching wildlife documentaries and being a Boy Scout. As a Boy Scout I learnt the importance of the Nature and how to respect it.
At the age of 17 I decided to make a change in my life so I moved from Italy to Romania. There I had the chance to see amazing landscapes during my rugby team retreat occurred in the mountains. The Romanian wildlife hit my passion for Nature and made me choose the Faculty of Biology instead of keeping the sport track. I chose the program of Ecology, following my teammate’s advices.
That teammate beyond telling me the importance of the Ecology, he taught me the importance of life and that we should do what we love during our lifetime. We had the idea of using photos and videos with the aim to send a message of motivation to people. Unfortunately, from 2017 this task was passed only to me.
The University started, I was like a child in a candy shop, I loved every course (of course not Chemistry, despite I had good professors), especially Animal Biology and Ecology. University lessons and books weren’t enough for me, so I started to look for opportunities of volunteering. It was that moment when I started to explore the various branches of Ecology, from caves studying bats, to wetlands studying birds, to zoos studying primate behaviour, to museums studying how to preserve animals collections, till I had the chance to meet a Big Man that taught me new skills in Wildlife Management and also gave me the opportunity to work for management projects in Protected Areas.
After the previous experiences I understood that I would like to focus on Large Carnivores, an opportunity that I had with ACDB (Action for Wildlife). It was there where thank to a Romanian Conservationist and his team I took part to my first project on Large Carnivores. The experience with the project team didn’t just help me to settle into research, but also motivated me to keep following this path. Their passion for research made me choose to do my Bachelor Thesis with them.
On one side I was growing a scientific knowledge on Ecology and Conservation, but on the other side I started to grow a passion for photography, trying to immortalise the wildlife in all its shine. I used to bring my camera with me every time that I went on the field. Thanks to my studies I had the opportunity travel around the world. For example, I had the chance to see and understand Bison and Condors’s management at the Grand Canyon National Park. I’ve also been in a solo photography trip at the Yellowstone National Park that made me felt one with the nature, camping into the wild along Bisons, Black bears and other animals.
However, the experience that totally changed the way I saw the world was in South Africa, where I volunteered for a Rhino Conservation project. There I understood that as scientists it is not just important to research and to discover new facts, but also to explain them to people. Unfortunately my African experience was interrupted earlier due to the global pandemic.
During the lockdown I had time to see all my photographies and to think how important they are, because they describe hours and hours of work on the field trying to save species. I started wondering out ways to expose to people stories of conservationists and local people spending their lives conserving the wildlife. It was just an idea, but thanks to a friend, adventure mate and research colleague that kept me motivated for the whole University period I decided to begin my experience as wildlife storyteller.
If you have read all the way down, now I can answer to the first question:
<<How deep can we understand environmental problems?>>
The answer is beyond years of researches, shown by facts all over the world and hidden by scientific papers that are hard to understand even for researchers.
My task will be the one of bringing stories about environmental issues, most of them regarding conflicts between wildlife and humans, showing that there is a way to coexist.
Understanding is one solution to environmental problems.
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“Explore your Dreams”Biofiery
Hey! I’m Gabriele Retez, I was born in Italy 21 years ago and I study Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. I graduated Ecology and Environmental Protection at the Faculty of Biology of the University of Bucharest, Romania. Since I was a child I dreamed to explore every corner of the world and to work with animals; now that this is becoming true I can say that I’m not experiencing the reality, but I’m exploring my dreams. Many say that living in dreams is only an illusion, but what if I tell you that it is not?