The year of 2014 saw adventures in nature, important work and the finishing of a longtime project. Here is an attempt to round up the year.
I opened my eyes in a calm house in Skåne on new year’s day. A chilly visit to Söderåsens national park was up next. The cold made the visit quick and I would recommend springtime for a visit. The next day I checked another country on my list as I visited Copenhagen and Denmark, strolling around the city and visiting the botanical garden Botanisk Have.
Work for the Swedish Carnivore Association continued until March. I had worked for little more than a year as the regional coordinator for the organization specializing in carnivore conservation. It was a year full of exciting events, important work and meetings with great people.
I took on the goal of visiting at least one new national park every year and, besides Söderåsens nationalpark, I also visited Hamra national park later in March. A beautiful winter day to explore nature, Hamra is a testament to the lack of old-growth forests in Sweden. The park is tiny at barely 14 square kilometers. With most of the forests being cleared by logging companies, not many patches of forest are left to live beyond 100 years.
Beginning in May, I worked for two full months doing field work for Svensk Naturförvaltning AB. This intense period of field work took me across large parts of Sweden. I saw immense amounts of the wonderful Lily of the valley in Gävleborg and climbed the beautiful Lillfjället in Jämtland one day. On a field day in Gävleborg I encountered a brown bear dragging a moose calf into a thicket. The story was later published in the magazine Våra Rovdjur.
Taking time off in July I and Linnéa climbed northern Europe’s highest mountain, Galdhøpiggen. Although a quite easy climb, it did leave our legs sour for a couple of days. The landscape in Norway is breathtaking and the fjords and high mountains side by side make it one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
In September I partook in the annual otter census in Värmland, this time searching the northern parts of the county for otter sign. Done ever fall, the census has showed that the otter is continuing to recoup after being almost wiped out due to hunting and environmental toxins in the 20th century.
Visiting Västra Götaland in November I conducted a lesser bird census in the small nature reserve Torpanäset, testing censusing techniques for birds. The two days spent at the reserves were particularly misty, adding an almost eerie feeling to it at times.
I held several talks on large carnivores and snow leopards in 2014, for Fältbiologerna, Karlstad University, Östergötlands Museum, Kristinehamns folkhögskola, Värmländsk Bokmässa, Studiefrämjandet, Biotopia and Klarälvdalens folkhögskola.
Not an overly ambitious year in regards to travel, I did visit Poland in September and Spain in December, alongside the trips to Denmark in January and Norway in July.
A great deal of the year was spent making the snow leopard book, “Snöleopard”. It is the greatest project I have ever done and involved massive amounts of work. My co-author Jan Fleischmann and I released the Swedish edition of the book on 23 October, which is the International Snow Leopard Day. The release and aftermath garnered a lot of media attention. We were interviewed in several newspapers and radio channels, with more attention expected in 2015 since it has been named the International Snow Leopard Year by the Bishkek Declaration. The book was named one of the best nature books of 2014 by Sveriges Radio’s programme Naturmorgon.
There is no way that I can thank all the people who have helped me in the making of this book and the personal struggle that it involved, but I would like to reach out with a warm thank you to Linnéa and Anna, without whom the project would surely have withered away.
The snow leopard book has taken up a lot of my time in 2014 and it has paved the way for exciting things to come in 2015. Several new projects are already underway.
All in all, 2014 has been a great year. I wish to thank all my friends for just being awesome. Without you this past year would neither have had great moments nor great memories.