Hello fellow SDD community members. My name is Daphne Schalekamp. I was born in 1992 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
I am currently a Master student in Forest and Nature Conservation. I am currently working on my thesis, in which I perform a discourse analysis on the topic of pollinators in the Netherlands. Furthermore, I am fulfilling the role of chair of the communications committee within the SDD community.
Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated by animal life. The coots, ducks and grebes I could see swimming in the canal through the window of my nursery, the cats and dogs in the street and the running cheetah on my favourite videotape, all were an equal source of joy and fascination. This captivation by wildlife and nature remained a constant throughout my life, apparent by me joining the WWF rangerclub, covering the walls of my room in posters depicting wild animals and Animal Planet becoming my go-to channel on television. So after passing my high school exams it was obvious to me I wanted to study something to do with wild animals and the protection of their natural habitat.
I ended up doing a bachelor of applied sciences in Animal Management at VHL university of applied sciences in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, majoring in ‘animal and society’. During my time at VHL I got the opportunity to do an internship at Natuurmonumenten (a Dutch nature NGO) and at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs in the department for Nature and Biodiversity. During my time at the Ministry my interest in the diplomatic aspects of nature conservation was triggered. I also became more aware of the complexity of many environmental issues and that as an environmental policy maker issues regarding development, trade, economy, law and many other fields often require just as much attention.
My interest in international nature conservation, and my ambition to get a job in that sector, made me decide to pursue a Master’s Degree in Forest and Nature Conservation here at Wageningen University and to follow the Sustainable Development Diplomacy track.