Highlights of the II Week of Land Stewardship

2 September 2013

At the end of this month and in early October we will be holding the second conference of the Week of Land Stewardship in As Mariñas of A Coruña and the River Mandeo Area. We hope that the program encourages the participation of a varied public, since we have significantly increased the number and type of activities with respect to last year. In fact, they extend for a whole fortnight.

Picture of the program of the II Week of Land Stewardship in the Mariñas of Coruña and the River Mandeo Area This conference focuses on volunteering: the aim is to show an assortment of successful initiatives that are being developed in different parts of Galicia. By means of sponsorship and land stewardship activities, citizens are directly involved in the preservation and conservation of beaches, rivers, paths, endangered species, landscape or ethnographic artefacts. Hopefully, the people taking part in the events will react positively and encourage further participation in volunteering in our area.

Like the first conference, the week is organized by both the Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos and by Fragas do Mandeo. Funding shall be provided by Mariñas-Betanzos, since Fragas do Mandeo earmarks 100% of the donations received to purchasing woodland plots of environmental interest, and therefore does not have the means to fund this kind of event. We will have also the collaboration of GADISA, who provides the catering for the volunteering days.

Download the program and the poster and share them among your personal circle, so that you help everyone to have the opportunity to participate.

To register for the volunteering days and for the excursion, please contact the organization by phone 981 669 541 or by e-mail info@marinasbetanzos.org. In addition to your place on the bus, you will be covered by accident insurance and you’ll receive detailed instructions.

Volunteering in Ponte do Porco: We will start the week with the removal of the invasive exotic species that threaten beach biodiversity. We’ll also remove all the litter we can. We pulled up a lot of pampas grass two years ago, but more has grown since then. The easiest and most effective approach is to pull them up when they are still young. Please contact us in advance if you’d like to participate. Additional information can be found on information sheet.
Date: September 22, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: Alameda Beach (Ponte do Porco, Miño).

Conference What are birds for?: The ornithologist and great communicator Antonio Sandoval will describe the striking phenomenon of bird migration through our country. His entertaining and well documented way of speaking guarantees a memorable talk in which we will be amazed by little known aspects of many birds that pass through the Betanzos estuary in their long journeys between Africa and northern Europe. The bookshop Carricanta will put on sale the book that Antonio has just published, from which the conference takes its title.
Date: September 26, at 8.30 p.m.
Place: Blue Hall at the Betanzos Liceo.

Art exhibition: At the same event we will be inaugurating at the Liceo the exhibition A natural look of Calros Silvar. This multifaceted artist is going to show his illustrator side, displaying wildlife pictures in which he combines his artistic talent with his deep knowledge of Galician nature.
Date: Inauguration on September 26 at 8.30 p.m.
Place: Blue Hall at the Betanzos Liceo.
Opening time: Until October 10 on the first floor of the Liceo, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Conference on land stewardship and sponsorship: On the week’s main day we have scheduled a set of talks titled Land Stewardship and sponsorship: Citizens’ involvement in nature preservation. After the presentation by the Mayor of Betanzos, Ramón García, and by the President of the Rural Development Association Mariñas-Betanzos, José Antonio Santiso, there will be six talks given during the morning and the afternoon.

Picture of the poster of the II Week of Land Stewardship in the Mariñas of Coruña and the River Mandeo Area In the first one, titled Looking for a valley full of life, Rafael Beceiro, coordinator of the Esmelle Project, will be talking about the way the Valle de Esmelle Association boosts the neighbourhood community and collectively works for the recovery of the natural and cultural heritage in the Ferrol area. It will be followed by the talk titled Locating a river on the map, by Gonzalo Sancho Blanco, President of the Vaipolorío Association. His work for the protection, recovery and inventory of the heritage of the River Dos Gafos area is an example of how a river environment in Pontevedra has been revived by the action of locals.

After a short break, Diego R. Vieites, Secretary of the Fontaíña Association, will deliver From deteriorated beaches to protected dunes about the twenty years his association has been working on the coast in the Vigo area. The results of these two decades are the restoration and protection of the vegetation and the dunes in a littoral suffering a strong touristic pressure during the summer. When a local group’s action makes the difference will mark the end of the morning talks. In this presentation, Encarna González, coordinator of SEO/Pontevedra, will explain her activities to protect the Kentish plover at Salnés. Her work, together with that of her colleagues, is an example of individual action within a local group which meant an endangered species having a future in that region.

Antonio Álvarez, President of the Castiñeiro e Nogueira Association, will be opening the afternoon session at 5 p.m. with the talk Historic trails within the native forest. This presentation deals with the work done by volunteers, from home and abroad, on the ancient trails in the basin of the River Donsal, in Ancares (Lugo). This way they started promoting awareness of its natural and cultural treasures, as well as revitalizing the Cancelada area by means of various activities that took place at the same time as the four international work camps that had been organized. On completion of this speech, Fragas do Mandeo will close the session, with a summary of its three first years’ work and encouraging others to follow the example of the initiatives presented during the day.

To close the conference, we added the finishing touch with an event that it is not on the printed program. The instrumentalist and composer Eloy Vázquez will offer a brief concert of music from the XIIIth century, playing on his dulcimer several cantigas (medieval poems set to music) by Alfonso X The Wise.

Date: September 28, from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Place: Blue Hall at the Betanzos Liceo.

Simultaneous cleaning of rivers: We will go to the River Mendo to take part in the simultaneous cleaning of Galician rivers coordinated by Proxecto Ríos. We will start our clean-up at the As Moas Bridge, and continue along the riverbank path up to Roibeira, picking up all the litter we can find. The length of this 10 km stretch we will enjoy a natural environment that deserves to be preserved in the best possible state. The trail is not difficult, but it is advisable to wear suitable shoes and clothes, and gloves too. Please contact us beforehand if you’d like to participate. You can find additional information on the information sheet.
Date: September 29, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: We will leave by bus from the Betanzos outpatients clinic.

Removal of eucalyptus by the River Mandeo: Fragas do Mandeo has acquired more than 50 000 m2 of woodland this year. Much of this area is well preserved wood, but in other cases it has eucalyptus plantations. During this volunteering day we are going to eliminate those eucalyptus, prevent the stumps from producing new shoots and prepare the land plots to be replanted with native trees next spring. Thus, we will restore the landscape, improve the environmental conditions of the banks of the Mandeo and reduce the risk of fire spreading. Please contact us beforehand if you would like to participate. Additional information on the information sheet.
Date: October 5, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: We will be leaving by bus from the Betanzos outpatients clinic.

Visit to the lake at Sobrado: To close the week’s activities, we are going to take a walk around Sobrado dos Monxes. Guided by good connoisseurs of the area’s nature and monument heritage, we will first visit the local singular trees, then we will cross the remarkable Casa do Gado oak wood, walk a beautiful mosaic landscape and have a rest by the lake at Sobrado. In spite of the importance of this wetland area, it is not part of the Galician network of protected natural areas yet. There we can watch spectacular birds such as the great crested grebe. Before the picnic, we are going to clean up some litter around the lake to compensate nature for the contamination produced by our trip by bus. Then, we will reach the lagoon at Millares and, finally, we will visit the monastery at Sobrado. The trail is not difficult, but it is advisable to wear appropriate shoes and clothes, plus gloves. Do not forget your binoculars and the food and drink you may need. In case you would like to participate, please contact us beforehand. Additional information can be found on the information sheet.
Date: October 6, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Place: We shall leave by bus from the Betanzos outpatients clinic.

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