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Meet Laura Quintero

I chatted with Laura on a standard Tuesday in our office at iDiv, Leipzig, fully
aware of my pressing blog deadline, and making sure to maintain social
distancing at all times.


Let’s start by talking about your background, what were your interests before joining the TerraNova project; have you always been interested in rewilding?

As an undergraduate I studied Biology at home in Colombia. There, my thesis looked at insects as indicators for natural succession (Laura really likes insects). However, it was my interest in the social side of ecology that led me to Europe; split between Austria and Germany I studied for a masters in environmental protection. I would say I really became aware of rewilding as a concept when I moved to Europe. With rewilding I am personally most interested in the social side, for instance how rewilding can build both social and ecological resistance to climate change.

What was your main motivation for applying to the TerraNova project?  

It was always my intention to continue studying. During my masters I’d say my focus really turned to the interface between natural and social sciences, which is exactly what my TerraNova project addresses.

Laura and her dog

Can you briefly describe your project?  

My project is concerned with building participatory scenarios for implementing rewilding at larger scales in Europe, aiming to improve knowledge of rewilding and fill existing knowledge gaps. One of the major gaps is the need to include people within rewilding scenarios – this is something that has been missing and represents an exciting opportunity. (Will your project involve interviews?) Yes! My project will aim to include interviews with stakeholders for all different levels; including policymakers, NGOs and farmers. However, this will be further on in the project, and the exact specifics are still something I am working on. It will be really interesting to engage with people and to see what they actually think about rewilding.

Judging from your Facebook stories you’ve been spending plenty of time exploring Leipzig over the weekends, what do you think of it as a city?

Leipzig is super beautiful, really green. I’d say it’s the greenest city I’ve lived in in Europe (is it your favorite city in Europe?) I’d say it’s my favorite to live in! (and better than Bogotá?) No, Bogotá has bears nearby. 

Photo by Laura Quintero

What’s been your favorite part of being involved with the TerraNova project so far?

I’d say my favorite part of TerraNova is the networking, all the communities we are building around TerraNova. I have the opportunity to get to know so many new people, from all different backgrounds. Because TerraNova is so broad, I am learning about and engaging with things not to do with my project, which is a great opportunity. 

Photo of Leipzig, taken by Laura Quintero

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