Join us and plant oaks in A Espenuca

18 August 2015

Last Tuesday we started the second phase of the ecological restoration of one of the land plots in which we do land stewardship in A Espenuca, helped by a group of volunteers from the Volunteering Directorate-General.

Photograph of one of the volunteersThe work done in the first phase consisted of shredding the branches left over by the felling, cutting the shoots and damaging the stumps to make them wither. In this second phase, the volunteers removed branches from the inner paths, opened a trail in the area where a small oak wood survives, set up an information board and hammered in the stakes.

Next Saturday we will get together again to finish off hammering in the stakes and to plant the oaks. If you want to join in, please register before Friday by sending us an e-mail with your data (complete name, ID, date of birth and mobile telephone) and you will be covered by an accident insurance policy payed by the Asociación de Desarrollo Rural Mariñas-Betanzos (Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos). In section Contact you can find the necessary information.

If you help us next Saturday, you will one day proudly say: “these oaks were planted by me”.

Meeting point: Outpatient clinic in Betanzos.
Date: August 22nd, 2015.
Time: We will be leaving at 9.30 a.m., coming back at 2 p.m.

New volunteers at the River Mandeo

23 July 2015

Yesterday the first of four groups of the Directorate-General for Volunteering of the Xunta de Galicia, who will collaborate with Fragas do Mandeo this summer, came to the River Mandeo.

Photograph of the volunteersDuring their visit to Os Vellos, after receiving information about our progress on the ecological recovery of the wood, the volunteers worked piling the eucalyptus foliage left after the last felling, thus making it easier for us the future reforestation with native species.

This afternoon they came to the spot of Chelo with the aim of eliminating invasive exotic species and, at the same time, removing the litter they could find. They started at the Teixeiro Bridge and walked up along the river inspecting the right bank, uprooting ―and leaving no buried bulbs― every one crocosmia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora) they could find.

Between Teixeiro Bridge and the spot of Chelo there are small populations originated from those planted as ornament by the car park. It is urgent to remove these sources of colonization while their number is still limited, otherwise they could expand and it would become more difficult. The last step will be to completely eradicate them from the leisure area and the car park, since it is there where it reaches the greater density. It won’t be achieved through a single intervention, since there are always some remaining bulbs: perseverance is the key. This campaign was launched last year and we will go back again and again until we verify it is completely eradicated.

Through these four weeks each group of volunteers is going to work in Os Vellos and in Chelo, besides doing other interventions of environmental volunteering scheduled by their instructors. We cannot but thank them for coming from all around Galicia to lend us a hand for the preservation of the natural areas of our locality.

Photograph of the volunteers

A new land plot, a new challenge

9 July 2015

Photograph of the property deedToday we signed the property deed of a land plot of 1,400 m2 at the offices of the Notaries Mr. Óscar López and Mr. Gonzalo Freire in Betanzos.

Although it is a small area, the plot has the advantages of adjoining one we already have and of bordering the River Mendo. Some time ago it had been a riverbank meadow which its former owner had planted with eucalyptus. He had them cut down before selling it and now we will be able to recover the riverbank wood along the river border and leave the rest as a meadow, thus recovering its whole ecological value.

Apart from being a step forward in the creation of the micro reserve of Ollo da Roda, this acquisition allowed us to cross the barrier of 200,000 m2 in which we do land stewardship (around half the area in outright ownership, the rest by tenure and some long-term cession agreements), just as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of our foundation.

As in previous occasions, this acquisition was done thanks to the people and groups supporting us with their modest contributions. But when one goal is reached, new objectives soon appear.

Would you like to join us in the new challenge? Any contribution, no matter how small, will be a great help to preserve our natural areas. In section Join us! we explain how to do it or you may also ask us directly (in section Contact you will find the necessary information).

Work begins in A Espenuca

7 July 2015

Signing land stewardship agreements involves taking responsibility for the restauration and conservation of the habitats held on those plots. Two months ago we were happy to sign an agreement with the Coirós Council to do stewardship in several woodland plots belonging to the municipality, with a total area of 92,239 m2, during a period of 50 years. Now it is time to start working.

Photograph of the work in A EspenucaYesterday we started the restoration of one of these land plots: the one to the North of the chapel, which has an area of 16,846 m2. Although the Council had the eucalyptus cut down over one year ago, they produced new shoots which are higher than a person now.

Because of the enormous effort implied by the size of the plot, the steep slopes and great volume of foliage left by the tree feller, we discarded the idea of calling up volunteers. We chose to hire, through external financing, professionals specialized in forestry work. But when they finish the cleaning of the woodland plot, then the reforestation phase with native species will begin, and that’s when we’ll call up on volunteers. Would you like to join us?

Celebrating the fifth anniversary

6 July 2015

Yesterday was the birthday of our mascot Dona, born five years ago in Aranga, nearby the River Mandeo. And there was nothing better than celebrating it with her mate Gala, eating some of those doggy treats they like so much. It was a well-deserved award, because along all this time Dona accompanied us on the search for woodland plots, she stayed with the volunteers during the working days, guided children and adults along the River Mandeo and she was the protagonist of an album on the local nature.

Photograph of Dona and GalaHer anniversary reminds us that in 2010, on a day like this, Fragas do Mandeo was born. After this five-year period, we can look back and take stock of whether we stayed true to the initial objectives: to do land stewardship with the aim of preserving nature in the As Mariñas area.

Although we started off with a foundation endowment of two small land plots, today the protected area almost reaches 200,000 m2, half of them in ownership and the rest on long term tenure. Many of these plots are well preserved native woods. Others had eucalyptus; after eliminating them, we can now see how the deciduous woods are growing back, the landscape is improving and a habitat that provides shelter to many threatened species is recovering.

Our campaigns have not been limited only to those plots for which we acquired the rights that allow us to manage them. Although no land stewardship agreements have been signed in Galicia affecting water and maritime-terrestrial public domains, we do not wait for the Administration to approve such agreements in order to take action in rivers, marshlands and beaches of the area.

All this was made possible thanks to the modest donors and hardworking volunteers of Fragas do Mandeo who, through their economic contributions and personal determination, achieved its success. But also through the associations that give economic support and spread the word about our work; thanks to many people who helped in diverse ways and to the small companies that collaborated at different moments. To all of them, thank you so much!

If you are not among these pioneers, what are you waiting for to efficiently protect our natural areas?

Charity market on July 5th

1 July 2015

Next Sunday we will be setting up our stall at the Do Campo Square of Betanzos, by the stairs of the church of Santo Domingo. We will be selling the items donated by our supporters from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Although it only lasts four hours, the volunteers’ work starts many days in advance, when they have to collect the donated items and then classify, clean, repair, label and pack them. They will get up early on Sunday to set up the stall and they will have lunch late. All this effort is done with the aim of collecting funds for the conservation of the natural areas of this locality.

Should you feel like collaborating, look at home for those items you do not use any more (gifts, toys, costume jewellery, books, etc.) and bring them on Sunday to give them a second lease of life.

Second shift at the wood plot

29 June 2015

Yesterday was a nice day to work. After some drizzle at dawn, the morning stood cloudy and mild. We got together 17 volunteers, many of them had already volunteered for the first shift of environmental volunteering.

Although the steep slope made the work difficult, we managed to remove the foliage from the whole area as expected. At the end of the morning we were tired, but satisfied, because from now on we can enjoy a landscape that had been hidden by the eucalyptus grove, and at the same time a varied deciduous wood composed of oaks, chestnut trees, birches, laurels, alder buckthorn and Iberian pears, among other native trees, is growing.

As in the previous day, the Asociación de Desarrollo Rural Mariñas-Betanzos (Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos) payed for accident insurance policies and the company Gadisa provided the catering which was really appreciated.

We haven’t programmed the next volunteering days yet. If you want to be informed about them, please send us an e-mail (in section Contact you can find our address).

Photograph of the volunteers

High hot, high effort

22 June 2015

Yesterday, the sixteen volunteers working at the Os Vellos wood stood 30 degrees Centigrade under a blazing sun. Nonetheless, we didn’t feel daunted and the work advanced at good pace, accomplishing our expectations: the branches left over by the felling were removed and piled up from a significant part of the plot.

Photograph of volunteersAt mid-morning, we gathered in the oak grove that grows in the south-east end of the plot and we got our strength back enjoying a fresh environment. After bearing the dryness of the eucalyptus wood, inside the oak grove we enjoyed what specialists call a nemoral environment, characterized by being shady, wetter, with smoother temperatures and even having less air draughts. This environment makes possible for many endangered species to survive in our native forest during the harsh months ― be due to cold or heat ―, among them relict ferns such as Woodwardia radicans. It is also a nice place for food provisioning, for which we had the collaboration of Gadisa enterprise, as in previous occasions.

Nowadays the oak grove in Os Vellos is small. But in some years it will get bigger, older and it will give shelter to a wider biodiversity. The volunteers will come back and proudly say: “I helped to raise this wood”.

If you want to take part, the second volunteering day will be on Sunday the 28th at the same wood plot. Please register before Friday sending us an e-mail, so that you will be covered by an accident insurance policy payed by the Asociación de Desarrollo Rural Mariñas-Betanzos (Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos). In section Contact you can find the necessary information.

Meeting point: Outpatient clinic in Betanzos.
Date: June 28th, 2015.
Time: We will be leaving at 9 a.m. to enjoy the morning fresh, coming back at 1 p.m.

Volunteering days on June 21th and 28th

12 June 2015

Fragas do Mandeo has an appointment with environmental volunteering on June 21th and 28th. The aim is to reforest with native trees a woodland plot planted with eucalyptus when we acquired it.

Photograph of the Os Vellos woodLast year we reforested the upper part of this plot located in Os Vellos (Coirós). Full of eucalyptus before, now oaks, chestnut trees, birches, willows and laurels thrive there, which over time will form an authentic native forest.

This year is the turn of the plot lower part. Until several weeks ago, a wall of eucalyptus hindered the view of the River Mandeo canyon. After the felling, now we can enjoy the landscape.

The two-days of volunteering work will be devoted to pile all the branches left over after the felling. Thus, we will get the plot ready for reforestation at the appropriate time and we will reduce the risk of transmitting wild fires, as well as providing a refuge for invertebrates, salamanders, lizards and other small animals.

The meeting point will be the outpatient clinic in Betanzos at 9.30 a.m. and it is scheduled to finish at 2 p.m. No tools are needed, but it is advisable to wear leather gloves, clothes and footwear suitable to work in woods, and of course some snacks and drinks for midday break.

If you contact us in advance, we will let you know in case of late changes and we will provide you with an accident insurance policy financed by the Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos. Please send us an e-mail with your data (name, ID number, date of birth and phone number) before the Friday previous to the volunteering day. In section Contact you can find the necessary information.

Get ready and transform this eucalyptus grove in a native forest!

Charity market at the Terras do Mandeo Trail

29 May 2015

Although the charity markets are usually held in Betanzos on the first Sunday of every month, the next one will be on Saturday, June 6th and it will be set up in the Cantón of the city’s main square. What is the reason for these changes?

The third running of the Terras do Mandeo Trail will take place on that day, having the start and finishing line at the Cantón (in the Do Campo square, behind the bandstand).

As previously reported, thanks to the collaboration of Bioetanol Galicia, the organizer of the race (Campo IV Consulting, Betanzos Council and ACEBE CCA) who will donate 50% of the race fees to Fragas do Mandeo, so that it is used for land stewardship in riparian woods and to acquire land plots of environmental value, thus preserving their biodiversity forever.

Our charity markets are an important funding source which allows us to continue in the defense of the local natural areas. But on this occasion, it will also allow us to spread the word about the work of Fragas do Mandeo among the participants and the large audience we expect to the event. It will be a great opportunity to explain how land stewardship is an effective tool to preserve our natural areas.

Do join us to applaud these athletes committed to the conservation of the River Mandeo.

And if you want to give a second life to those items you don’t need any more and you don’t feel like throwing them away (books, gifts, toys, costume jewelry, etc.), in section Contact you can find the necessary information to let us know.

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