Romain Lengagne – Activity Coordinator, specialising in Mammalogy, GEPMA – age 19
What is your educational background?
I chose to do secondary school in a job-study programme, so that I could have the chance to work with mammals through each of my internships. I was lucky enough to find spots in many different environmental protection agencies and develop some very fruitful contacts. After earning my Baccalaureate in STAV (Sciences and Technologies of Agronomics and Living Organisms), I decided to enter a vocational certification programme on Nature Management and Protection.
What are your responsibilities in the LIFE+ALISTER Project?
I am in charge of planning stands that are both fun and educational, to raise awareness about the issues around the European Hamster. Activities will start in April 2015 and take place in a variety of public places, like train stations, shopping centres or large public events.
I will be able to talk with people informally, but still answering all of their questions. I will also have a number of games and other surprises in store for them, sure to appeal to people of all ages.
Games? Can you tell us a little bit more?
In order to attract as broad an audience as possible, and especially children, I use a number of educational tools. For instance, I have put together a “Spot the 7 Differences” game – the goal is to identify the 7 major changes that have taken place in the Alsatian agricultural plain, home to the European Hamster, from 1972 to the present. I use it to address the many threats which the species currently faces. I am also in the process of developing a board game. Slipping into the body of a European Hamster, players will try to gather enough food to last the whole winter (on average, 12 kg), moving through the rodent’s everyday habitat and facing the same dangers it does. Participants will come away with prizes and be able to take a picture with our mascot, ALISTER.
What drives you in your work?
Working on a fascinating species like the Great Hamster is something very exciting for me. My motivation comes from wanting to make sure people leave our stand with lots of stories to tell and a positive perspective on the hamster, plus the feeling that they’ve had a good time.
*Mammalogy: the study of mammals