For a whole week, people from various backgrounds thrashed out burning issues in ‘green wavelength' masterclasses and workshops in Kootwijk on the Veluwe. Four participants from Alterra answer the question: What have you learned from it?
‘I have five new leads to possible new research assignments that I am going to pursue. One example is a question from the world of natural burial grounds. They have been bothered for years about an old Alterra report about burials in natural areas. They want a new research to be done, from a broader perspective than just ecology. So I have gained a lot from this event. I think that's because of the way the programme was set up. Some of the masterclasses were given by outsiders. That way you throw open your own network.'
‘I gave the masterclass called ‘In natura'. It was so nice. We did a role play in which we tried to negotiate on nature and landscape in an area. Government funding is being withdrawn. So the task is: make a list of how we will do things differently. Those negotiations are not easy, but it is certainly a topical issue and the masterclass was right on target. The province of Drenthe is interested. But I don't know yet if that will lead to an assignment.'
‘An enjoyable and energetic meeting. I gave a masterclass on residents involvement and urban green. Governments too readily see citizen participation as an instrument for solving problems. From above. And that is not the way to go about it, is the conclusion. It needs to come from below. Link up with something that can get people together. Start small and use the energy that exists. Stop nattering about it and get on with it.'
Kees Slingerland, initiator and director of ESG
‘A kind of movement has been launched. That is the big gain from this week. A tremendous amount of positive energy in relation to nature and landscape has been tapped into. Previously unheard voices have been listened to. People you will never hear in the big gatherings at conferences now did open their mouths. That was because of the setup we chose: the threshold is lower in masterclasses and design workshops. What is more, new parties joined the debate: insurers, banks, the leisure sector, business people. We are a market leader in the field of nature and landscape. And that gives us a social responsibility to take the initiative. Don't whinge about cuts to nature, but take the initiative. And that worked out well.'