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Towards landscape sustainability: ReNature and Circular City organise a summer school in Malta

Students can apply for a summer school on nature-based solutions in landscape management until 10 July 2019.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT

SOCIETY

30 September 2019 - 4 October 2019

Malta, Malta

© MCAST

Horizon2020 project ReNature (http://www.renature-project.eu/) organises a summer school between 30 September and 4 October at The Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST, https://www.mcast.edu.mt/). The summer school is co-organised with the COST Action Circular City (https://circular-city.eu).

Combining the knowledge and experience of local and international experts, the ReNaturing Cities interdisciplinary summer school will provide participants with an understanding of the features and potential of nature-based solutions as a holistic approach towards landscape sustainability. The summer school will include problem-based learning sessions, aimed at stimulating professional development and further cooperation among students, young researchers and practitioners.

Students are kindly encouraged to apply until 10 July 2019 (http://renature-project.eu/show/1783_apply). The summer school is free of charge with a number of travel grants available, provided by the COST Action CA17133 Circular City. All participants will acquire 2 European Train Control System (ETCS) points and a Certificate of Attendance.

During the summer school, students will investigate two case studies: Birkirkara urban area and the island of Comino. Visiting Birkirkara, which in the past has been characterised by heavy flooding, students will identify nature-based solutions that may reduce surface run-off whilst providing other ecosystem services. On a full day visit to the island of Comino, a protected area of Malta, participants will have the chance to assess ecosystems and analyse the drivers that may lead to environmental change and degradation. With the help of practitioners, participants will then assess the potential of application of nature-based solutions in a rural and (semi-)natural environment.

“This summer school will give both scientific and technical background to nature-based solutions and their implementation in different environments as continue working with our stakeholders to mainstream the multiple values of nature for more informed decision-making,” explains ReNature coordinator Dr Mario Balzan from MCAST. “We are looking forward to exchange knowledge between experienced international experts and enthusiastic students and young researchers.”

By the end of the summer school, students will be able to identify societal challenges that would benefit from the adoption of nature-based solutions and evaluate the benefits of mainstreaming nature-based solutions through the use of decision support tools and knowledge synthesis. Participants will learn how to describe the links between green infrastructure and human health in urbanised environments and assess the impact of ecosystem structure and function on the delivery of regulating ecosystem services. There will be a dedicated communication session, which will teach students to distribute their scientific knowledge and ideas in an engaging and impactful way.

ReNature aims to promote research excellence in nature-based solutions for innovation, economic growth and human well-being in Malta through sharing experience and capacity-building.

In May and June 2019, ReNature has successfully held two training courses in Malta and Dublin, where over 40 participants acquired knowledge on ecosystem services and green infrastructure. The trainings focused on gaining practical experience through workshops on nature-based solutions in real-world scenarios, including field trips and knowledge exchange with experts. Participants used the brand new ReNature mobile application, called “ReNature Malta”, a specifically designed tool for mapping biodiversity, available for download from the Google Play Store.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 809988.

Keywords

nature-based solutions, ecosystem services, landscape ecology, urban ecology, sustainable development