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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Interview with Zeiss Global Marketing Manager Segment Nature Petra Kregelius-Schmidt (1 Viewer)


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Hello everyone, without wanting to take away Troubador's excellent job as an interviewer :) I had the pleasure of interviewing Petra Kregelius-Schmidt. You can find the English translation in the final part of my review, although I publish it directly below. Greetings from Italy. Piergiovanni


Hi Petra, what do you like most about nature and how did you come to your role at ZEISS?

My grandfather took me out when I was a little kid and this shaped my fascination and the understanding of nature. When he passed away, I inherited his old pair of ZEISS bins, which honestly stood in the cupboard for some years during school, graduation and studies where I unfortunately lost the connection to nature a little bit. The love for nature came back in my mid twenties and since then I inhale the joy of nature every day. In 2016 ZEISS was looking for a Marketing Manager for the nature business and this was my starting point. Together with my colleagues from product management and with a close collaboration with our ambassadors, we develop and market premium optical products. My key role is to prepare the product launches for the nature observation segment and to work closely with our partners around the globe. This includes our regional sales departments as well as our sponsoring partners, ambassadors and ZEISS friends.

What have you studied?

I have a degree in Arts Management with a focus on economics and Marketing.

What was your last lifer for your list?

After a long traveling pause during Covid, me and my family spent our summer holidays at the baltic coast, and there were several species which I was able to add to my list. The most impressive were definitely the fascinating Sea Eagles. And it is always wonderful to spot the first Cranes preparing for their migration routes to the south – a sign that autumn is not far.

What inspires you?

Nature inspires me every day as it is all about the unexpected details. You just have to keep your eyes open, be patient and a good observer. There is always something out there! During migration periods it is just wonderful to spot new species in your local patch and event if it is just a curious newly hatched juvenile Wren between the tree trunks or a curious Robin singing out loudly. And it is not all about birds: there is such a variety of species to see if you are open to it. But we also have to consider that the amount of species is declining. This is why conservation plays such an important role.

So would you say the love for nature is a passion?

Yes, I think it is. But there is different levels to that. For me it has nothing to do with competition, although I really admire and respect the people who are able to share enormous lists of encounters of different bird species. Ornithology is a science, and everyone can contribute to that. This is why platforms like eBird or ornitho are so important: you do not necessarily need to be an expert. It is so easy to start! If you take the annual garden bird counts, organized by many BirdLife Partners such as NABU or LIPU – everyone can participate, no matter which level. It is also a wonderful engagement for kids: just grab a book and try to recognize the birds.

What role does nature conservation play for a company like ZEISS?

We do have a responsibility towards nature and of course we see the impacts of climate change and species decline and the loss of biodiversity. ZEISS is supporting several nature conservation initiatives worldwide. We are a proud Species Champion for the Spotted Greenshank, which is just one example. Only 1.500 (TBC) of this species are left and the BirdLife Partners in Asia are working hard to improve habitats and educate the local people.

Apart from that we equipped one of the migration hotspots in Israel with products to ensure that the local conservationists are able to safeguard the flyway of hundreds of millions of birds.

In my opinion, education also plays an extremely important role here to shape the conservationists of tomorrow. Our colleagues in the US have been supporting the Cornell Lab or Ornithology’s Young Birders Weekend for many years and we have just launched a similar initiative in the UK for Young Birders.

Also, we are partnering with organizations such as Birdability to support inclusion and make birdwatching accessible for everbody.

But also internally ZEISS is doing a lot to save resources. Investing in new cooling systems, reusing wastewater from production for toilet flushing and a sustainable packaging are only a few examples resulting in major improvements.

What is your favorite bird?

That is a hard question. The bird that sparked me when I was a kid was the Bullfinch. I have always loved Owls, especially the Long-eared Owl and Eagle Owl. One bird that sparked my interest later was the Bearded Reedling. And in the months of April and May, I love to listen to the beautiful songs of the Nightingale, which I am lucky to hear every year in the little nature reserve close-by from where I live.

Which optics would you recommend?

It depends on where you go and how often. A binocular is essential and it is hard to follow up without one. And I love my SF32s. If you really want to expand your horizon, you will also need a spotting scope, especially for wider distances.

Which is the next birding event for ZEISS?

Our international network of ambassadors and friends is going to take part in th Global Bird Weekend / October Big Day on Saturday October 8. As migration will be on, this is going to be very exciting!
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