On 16 June 2017, the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) welcomed 30 students of master’s degree from the Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Latvia. They were curious about IES’s approach in mapping and assessment of different ecosystems and natural resources using advanced remote sensing technologies, as well as research and cultivation of high value medical plants.
The visit started with a short trip to the biggest chamomile fields in Latvia which are managed by the institute’s partner organisation. In cooperation with organic farm “Field and Forest”, IES is developing an innovative methodology for selection and organic cultivation of high value medical and aromatic plants – valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), and siler (Saposhnikovia divaricata) for further use in the fields of medicine, condiments, food and cosmetics. The leading researcher Arta Kronberga highlighted the right conditions, growing and cultivation methods for organic farming of medical plants. Students were also able to experience the opening of the harvesting season 2017, which was performed using a unique harvester which is engineered and built in Latvia.
After the chamomile trip, students visited the home of IES – Priekuļi Airfield, where they were introduced to the institute’s outlook on life and exceptional approach to environmental research. The core of the institute is the multidisciplinary team that is able to combine interdisciplinary knowledge with state-of-the-art technologies and develop innovative solutions for complex environmental problems. IES’s researcher Rūta Abaja showcased some of the examples, e.g. mapping of valuable grasslands, modelling of habitats, detection of invasive species, marine monitoring.
Interacting with students and young practitioners is a central tenet of IES philosophy, thus, aiming to inspire the next generations. IES will continue to be an active voice advocating innovative, sustainable and evidence based solutions.