Volunteering at the amphibian reserve

11 August 2016

On Saturday, August 20th, we have planned an environmental volunteering day at the Do Catorce amphibian reserve.

Last month we signed a land stewardship agreement for the creation of this reserve, by which the Coirós Council ceded us the use and management of an area of 5 hectares for 50 years. On this day we will start the first phase of the planned improvements.

Photograph of the amphibian reserveWe are going to take advantage of absolute dryness of the wet area to work on it without affecting amphibians. On that day we will remove all the litter we can find, we will eliminate several invasive plants, pile up the foliage left after the last felling and we will dry some eucalyptus.

The meeting point will be at the Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos, where we will join at 9.30 a.m. to share cars, and we expect to come back at 2 p.m. Maybe there aren’t enough tools for all, so please try to take an axe or a sickle. It is also advisable to wear gloves, clothes and shoes suitable for working in the wood, and to take some snack and drink for the mid-morning break.

Should you like to register and participate in the tasks for the reserve creation from the very start, please contact us in advance (in section Contact you will find the necessary information). Don’t forget to send us your data (complete name, ID, birth date and mobile phone number), specifying if we must wait for you at the meeting point or if you are going directly. Thus, you will be covered by an accident insurance policy, you will be informed on last minute changes, and you will facilitate organization too.

Creating an amphibian reserve really can be considered active holidays!


Post data: The amphibian reserve was interesting enough for 24 people to leave aside the beach and the patron day celebrations on August 20th in order to participate in the first volunteering day organized there. They removed all the litter they could find, adding up to a volume of 5 m3, including two drums, one of them full of tarmac which was contaminating the soil through a leak. Some invasive species were eliminated (the buddleia, several Pampas grass and some Canadian horseweed), and also some eucalyptus on the area exploited by the old stone quarry. We also piled up a large amount of foliage that was lying around on the floodable area.

Photograph of the volunteers

Third charity market on Sunday the 7th

3 August 2016

Next Sunday, August 7th, we will be back at the Do Campo Square of Betanzos with our charity market for the third time this year. As usual, it will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when we will be selling the various items donated by our supporters: books, toys, costume jewelry, gifts, accessories, etc.

A warm and sunny day is forecast. This has a positive part: our charity market is not threatened by rain. But there is a negative side too, since it increases the possibility of most people going to the beach, thus reducing our sales. Gathering funds for nature conservation is hard work!

Do Catorce Nature Reserve in the media

28 July 2016

Several media covered the news on the creation of the Del Catorce amphibian reserve. In fact, just the same day of the signature of the land stewardship agreement, Radio Galega broadcasted the news.

Logos of communication mediaThat same week La Opinión – Coruña newspaper published the news on Friday and the on Sunday one article on our work in A Espenuca hill.

Also, we were interviewed by COPE Coruña radio station. The following Monday a V Television team got to the reserve to interview us, being able to record images of the amphibia, even though they were hidden in the most dense marsh vegetation to escape the heat of these days. The news report was telecasted the following day on the evening news.

On Tuesday afternoon we had to go again to the reserve with a TVG team to record another interview and record images of the site, which was telecasted today on the evening local news. On Wednesday we were also contacted by RNE, who broadcasted the interview on Thursday, both on Radio 1 and on Radio 5.

Electronic media picked up the story too: Xornal de Betanzos, Galicia Confidencial, Diario Marítimo and El Noticiero de Arteixo.

We hope that thanks to this presence in the media we were able to transmit the importance of protecting small areas which are key to preserving diversity, even when they do not have a remarkable landscape or touristic values, so that this initiative is followed in other localities.

Less montbretia and more instructors

25 July 2016

Photograph of the volunteersAs programmed, yesterday we got to the spot of Chelo (Coirós) to carry on with the elimination of montbretia, helped by the Grupo Naturalista Hábitat (Hábitat Naturalist Group). The eleven adults and two children who took part in this day collected a total of 18 kg of tubers, so, on the basis of the calculation of one kilo, that meant 8,748 less tubers of this exotic invasive plant. But most importantly, with this action the leisure area, the left bank of the River Mandeo from the footbridge to the mill and the right bank up to the Teixeiro Bridge are now free from it. Obviously, we have to watch out for any possible reappearance, since there may always be some tubers left.

This morning we went back to the River Mandeo. In the early morning we gave a talk on land stewardship and the work done by Fragas do Mandeo to the students of the Leisure Time Instructors Course, given by the Escuela Querqus (Querqus School) at the Youth Centre of Betanzos. Afterwards, we went on to the spot of Chelo, so they could get acquainted with that natural area and its biodiversity, focusing on the importance of highlighting the natural values of the areas they visit when acting as instructors. We didn´t have time to get on with the removal of invasive exotic species, but we explained how we organize our activities and we encouraged them to program environmental volunteering days in favour of nature throughout their future careers.

First charity market next Sunday

31 May 2016

Weathermen forecasted sunny weather this weekend, so we will take the chance to set up the first stall of the year. This, this Sunday, June 5th, a group of volunteers will be at the Do Campo Square of Betanzos, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., selling the items donated by our supporters: books, toys, costume jewellery, gift items, accessories, etc.

Given that Fragas do Mandeo earmarks the all the donations received for purchasing woodland plots of environmental interest, this source of funds is needed to cover the expenses arising from land stewardship. Even so, we expect that there will be some surplus to be destined to the acquisition of new land plots too. Therefore, supporters must be thanked for their generosity and volunteers for their effort.

And in the afternoon in Teixeiro

28 May 2016

If in the morning we were at the radio, in the afternoon we got to the Ethnographic Centre of Teixeiro to give a talk, invited by the Querqus Leisure Time School.

During this weekend they are teaching the course contents of outdoor activities and camping to sixteen first-year students of the higher cycle of professional training, who are training both for Physical Activity and Sports Technicians and for Leisure Time Instructors at the Agra do Orzán High School.

During the talk we informed them about the main environmental problems of our locality and the activities developed by Fragas do Mandeo to address them through sponsorship and land stewardship. We insisted on the importance of dedicating part of our leisure time to nature conservation and we encouraged them to boost this commitment through their future professional careers within activities organized at town halls, clubs and associations, thus helping to preserve our natural spaces.

We thank the Querqus Leisure Time School and the Agra do Orzán High School for this opportunity of spreading the word about our work.

Photograph of the students

On the radio with Octavio Villazala

28 May 2016

Today our voice travelled over the hertzian waves. The renowned dog trainer Octavio Villazala invited us to his program Bicherías, broadcasted by Radio Galega from 1 a.m., to talk about Fragas do Mandeo and the wild animals that thrive on the woods of our area.

The participation in his programme has been a great occasion to spread the word about our work. The more people know us the more social support we will have, which will mean an increase in our ability to act, never enough to the conservation needs of our natural sites.

Photograph of Octavio Villazala

A Espenuca one year later

7 May 2016

This morning twenty four volunteers were in A Espenuca drying out eucalyptus. At the plot on the North slope, right below the chapel, they went over the stumps that were not yet dry and they uprooted the eucalyptus born from seeds this spring.

Photograph of the volunteersOne year ago we signed a land stewardship agreement with the Coirós Council which included, among others, this plot of 16,846 m2. At that time, eucalyptus trees were sprouting again after the last felling and they were already higher than a person. Now the wood plot is clean and only native trees are growing there. A sign-posted trail crosses the plot, so it can be walked by visitors, going through a stretch of well-preserved oak grove. An informative panel enables the identification of nine tree species which are present on the spot and a couple of rustic benches make possible to have a rest while enjoying a view not visible before now.

The radical change the plot has undergone during this time shows the efficiency of land stewardship as an instrument for nature preservation and the work capacity of Fragas do Mandeo. The tasks were accomplished both by professionals (initial clearing of scrub, eucalyptus felling and a couple of stump reviews) and by volunteers who managed the rest of the work, from the panel design to the track creation. Thus, we want to thank the volunteers for dedicating a total of 386 hours of their time to the ecological restoration of this spot in A Espenuca.

However, the work is not completed yet, since we face the challenge of recovering two other plots included in the agreement. They are located in the same spot and they sum up an area of 47,082 m2, having the added difficulty of being a steep terrain full of eucalyptus.

Call to finish off eucalyptus

28 April 2016

On May 7th we are going to get to A Espenuca hill to complete the drying out of eucalyptus and uprooting those that were born from seeds.

Last year we started the recovery of this plot of 16,846 m2 located on the North slope of the hill, just below the chapel. We will be able to see how the first leaves sprout from the oaks planted last year and if the specimens planted one month ago, from six different species, took root.

But eucalyptus trees don’t give up, since some shoots grew from stumps and others were born from seeds. The task is simple: cutting the shoots with an axe, now that they are small, and uproot those born from seed.

Logo of Tejiendo Redes (Network Weaving)With this action we join more than 30 entities which are celebrating the land stewardship conservation day, organized by Obra Social “la Caixa” (“la Caixa” Foundation) and the Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori, within the program Volunteering and Land Stewardship, as part of their project Network weaving for land stewardship in Spain 2015-1016. The objective of this program is to involve civil society in the conservation of our natural heritage, spreading the word about the importance of its preservation, its social values and how land stewardship can help to reach these goals.

The meeting point will be the Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos, where we can share cars. May be there aren’t enough tools for all, so try to take an axe. It is also advisable to wear leather gloves, clothes and shoes suitable for working in the wood, and don’t forget to take a snack and drink for the mid-morning break.

If you are interested in actively transform a eucalyptus grove into a native wood, please register for this environmental volunteering day by sending your data in advance (complete name, ID, birth date and mobile phone number). Thus, you will be informed on last minute changes, you will be covered by an accident insurance policy and you will facilitate organization. In section Contact you will find the necessary information.

Meeting point: Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos.
Date: May 7th, 2016.
Time: We will be leaving at 9.30 a.m., coming back at 2 p.m.

International work camp at Espenuca

22 April 2016

Today the enrolment period started for the international work camp that will take place this summer at A Espenuca hill.

Photograph of a volunteerBetween August 20th and 31st the volunteers are going to help us in the maintenance of the plots subject of an agreement with the Coirós Municipality. The work will consist mainly of tasks related to the recovery of the native woods, among them the elimination of blackwood acacia and eucalyptus trees. But it’s not all about working, since the program includes cultural and touristic activities which allow the volunteers to get to know our area. It is addressed to people from 18 to 30 years old, with some places for people coming from abroad and from other Spanish autonomous regions.

Work camps are informal educational tools that cover both participation and volunteering experiences. They promote the involvement of young people in society, allow exchanges between territories and seek to promote the values of coexistence, tolerance and teamwork.

This work camp is promoted by Fragas do Mandeo, applied for by the Coirós Council and organized by the Directorate General for Youth, Participation and Volunteering of the Xunta de Galicia. The management will be assumed by Ribeirán Proxectos Naturais, counting on Jesús Díaz as Director.

For additional information and registration, please consult the card of the A Espenuca Work Camp.

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