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Nikolas holds a Master of Science degree in sustainable resource management and a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural sciences from the Technische Universität München. Currently, he is writing his PhD on Environmental Peacemaking, as an instrument for conflict transformation in nature conservation areas and to measure the impact of education on the perception and transformation of conflict.
In 2004, he guided a research team on an expedition to the Arctic, following in the footsteps of the “German Arctic Expedition 1912”. Supported by the biggest German icebreaker, “FS Polarstern”, Nikolas made surveys in the north east of Svalbard. Sailing to the north of Greenland, he experienced climate crisis firsthand – instead of breaking and sailing through ice, he only found open waters on 85° north (highly abnormal for that time of the year) . This experience was life-changing for him.
After a second Arctic expedition to Svalbard in 2005, Nikolas turned his attention further south.
In 2008 and 2009 he joined a research team for a population study on the conservation of the coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) in Kenya, Tanzania and the Comoro Islands. Exploring maritime life at over 200m depth, and experiencing human grievance in one of the poorest countries on earth, was, again, a life-changing experience.
In 2010, he designed the “Into the Wild” course for students and young people from all over the world, with the aim of bringing them into the reality of human nature conflicts and nature conservation. After the success of these courses, he knew that he had to play his part in bringing together the great potential of people in order to make a positive change for our planet – Nikolas founded Conservation Global in 2011.
Conservation Global organized a dually educational and adventurous experience across South Africa. As a student I was able to learn more about apartheid and its effects on the nation from prominent political leaders. Also, I was able to better understand the needs and efforts of conservationists across the area to protect some of the worlds most endangered animals. From finding dolphins in the Indian Ocean, cage diving with great whites, and spotting lions on the game reserve, this experience reestablished the necessity in myself to protect our wild lands across the globe. If we do not protect them, who will?
My week spent on Gondwana Game Reserve with Conservation Global was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I was fortunate enough to travel to South Africa with Franklin University Switzerland on academic travel in the spring of 2015. Bonding with the staff and learning about the animals in their natural environment made for one incredible week. Each day was filled with activities and lectures that were as entertaining as they were educational. As a group we had a lecture in the morning either from a member of the knowledge staff or from a local expert. We learned about native bee populations and were treated to honey samples from the region and were given a demonstration on the practice of tagging and tracking animals on the reserve. Perhaps the most memorable was when we were taught how to properly handle a tranquilizer gun and had a competition to see who could get a bullseye! After the morning lecture, the group would split up for the safari in which the staff took great care to make sure we saw as many animals as possible. Later in the afternoon we would regroup for a drink and to admire the scenery. I have the utmost respect for Conservation Global and the work they are doing—hoping to return to South Africa soon!