Goodbye to a busy year

31 December 2015

The last day of the year is a good time to take stock, see what we can improve and set goals for the year which is about to start.

Although during this year 2015 we have bought few woodland plots, still we managed to double the area in which we do land stewardship by means of an cession agreement with the Coirós Council, by which some woodland plots are transferred for 50 years, we transformed 2 hectares of eucalyptus plots into groves where native trees now grow, we removed 14 exotic species in natural spaces and we removed 20 m3 of litter from the marsh, rivers and beaches. We cannot say goodbye to this year without thanking all the donors, volunteers and supporters for making this possible.

Our wish for the coming year is to continue increasing the support that would allow us to go on with the same level of activity and double the surface in which we do land stewardship, either acquiring plots or reaching agreements. We are convinced that we will achieve it.

Join our optimism by betting on biodiversity conservation and become a donor or volunteer!

Happy new year’s Eve and happy new year.

Volunteering day by the River Mendo

7 December 2015

Taking advantage of the good weather forecast, next Saturday December 12th, we are going to visit the land plots in which we do land stewardship by the River Mendo; it will be an environmental volunteering day with the aim of eradicating the invasive exotic flora and removing litter, as part of the measures to prepare an area that could qualify as a biodiversity micro-reserve.

The work will consist of eradicating five exotic species: montbretia (Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora), orange-eye butterfly bush (Buldeja davidii), small-leaf spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis), plane tree (Platanus × hispanica) and garden privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium). As for the litter, we will remove what is left by the river on the banks and what is thrown by vandals on the path border.

We are meeting in front of the Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos at 9.30 a.m. to share cars. We will finish in time to get back home for lunch. No tools are needed, but please remember to take wellies, leather gloves and clothes suitable to work in the wood.

To register, please send us your name and mobile phone number (in section Contact you will find the necessary information).

Talking on invasive species at the Domus

17 November 2015

Image of the poster of the conference “Exotic invasive species and social participation”Fragas do Mandeo was invited to participate in the conference Exotic invasive species and social participation, scheduled for the 28th at the Domus museum of A Coruña. Throughout the day, researchers, technicians and campaigners coming from the Administration, universities and Galician conservationist entities, as well as from Portugal and Cantabria, will be discussing this serious environmental problem and the role that citizens can play.

Our intervention will be framed within the round table on Invasive species, environmental volunteering and land stewardship, where we will describe our experiences in these topics.

This event was organized by ADEGA. The conference forms part of their project Environmental volunteering network for the eradication of invasive species in aquatic ecosystems, funded by Fundación Biodiversidad (Biodiversity Foundation) with the support this time of the A Coruña Council.

Additional information can be found on the website of the organization.

Disclosing land stewardship in Agra do Orzán

16 November 2015

This afternoon we were in A Coruña giving a talk at the Agra do Orzán High School for fifteen students of the higher cycle of professional training, who are training both for Physical Activity and Sports Technicians and for Leisure Time Instructors.

These students had the opportunity to find out the main environmental problems of our area, they discovered the possibilities of dealing with them through land stewardship and they could get to know in detail our work in favour of the local biodiversity conservation.

During the talk we expressed the importance of dedicating part of our leisure time to nature conservation. Through their future careers, these students may encourage this commitment through activities organized in town halls, clubs and associations, helping to preserve these natural spots used as leisure areas, for walking or playing sports, which are also habitats where many threatened species find shelter, while providing essential ecosystem benefits.

We are grateful to the Escuela de Tiempo Libre Querqus (Querqus Leisure Time School) for allowing us to spread the word about our work and to IES Agra do Orzán.

Photograph of the students

2015 montbretia collection

26 October 2015

Five volunteers spent yesterday morning uprooting crocosmia in the spot of Chelo, collecting 21 kg of tubers. With this action we finish this year’s campaign to eradicate it from the River Mandeo banks, between the Chelo Footbridge and Teixeiro Bridge.

Photograph of montbretia tubersThis year’s balance was 164 kg of tubers, uprooted by 43 volunteers who joined their efforts during 88 working hours. Last year we eliminated 173 kg, so both campaigns make a total of 337 kg.

Can we talk of definitive eradication? No, because there may be some tuber hidden among the roots of the alders or a small bed that went unnoticed, hidden between the riparian vegetation. So next year we will return to meticulously review this section of the river: consistency is an essential virtue in the fight against invasive exotic species.

And if there are enough volunteers, we will extend the intervention area even up to the Campo dos Caneiros. Will you come and become an environmental volunteer?

Last day of the year fighting the montbretia

22 October 2015

Photograph of the volunteersLast Sunday six volunteers spent the morning uprooting montbretia in Chelo. Although they removed 37 kg of tubers, there is still a small area that has not been cleared yet. So we are calling the volunteers again for next Sunday, October 25th.

Since we expect to finish soon, we are going to spend the rest of the time picking up acorns and chestnuts. They will be seeded to reinforce the oak plantation done in the A Espenuca plot that we are rehabilitating.

We will meet in front of the Outpatient Clinic in Betanzos at 9.30 a.m. to share cars and to start work in the leisure area of Chelo at 10 a.m. We will finish in time to get home at lunchtime. No tools needed, but please remember to take a bucket.

To register, please send us your name and mobile phone number (in section Contact you can find the necessary information), telling us if you are coming with us or you are getting there directly.

The montbretia campaign goes on

15 October 2015

Last year we started the campaign for the elimination of the montbretia was by the River Mandeo and we have already uprooted 279 kg of tubers. But the work is not completed yet. So we are going to get to the spot of Chelo (Coirós) next Sunday October 18th to continue work on the elimination of this invasive exotic species.

We will meet in front of the Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos at 9.30 a.m. to share cars, and we will start working at the leisure area of Chelo at 10 a.m. We expect to finish in time to get home for lunch.

Do join us: the work is easy and the more we are, the sooner we will get rid of it. We have some tools, but they may not be enough for all, so try to get a bucket and a small hand trowel for uprooting the tubers.

To register, please send us your name and mobile phone number (in section Contact you will find the necessary information), telling us if you are coming with us or if you are going there directly. In the section regarding montbretia campaign on our website you can find additional information about this plant and the form of eradicating it.

Last charity market next Sunday

4 September 2015

Next Sunday the 6th we will be setting up the fifth ―and last― charity market of the year. As in previous occasions, we will be selling the items donated by our supporters between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. by the stairs of the church of Santo Domingo, at the Do Campo square of Betanzos.

Charity markets involve a great effort taken on by a small group of volunteers, who always remain watchful for the rain that would force them to cancel it, or for the heat that makes sales decrease because potential customers would prefer going to the beach. But they are important because the funds raised guarantee that 100% of donations are earmarked to pay the selling price of the acquired woodland plots, since some expenses such as the Notary’s are covered by the charity markets.

New plot by the River Mendo

3 September 2015

Photograph of the property deedToday we signed the purchase deed of a 460 m2 plot at the offices of the Notary Mr. Óscar López and Mr. Gonzalo Freire in Betanzos.

The small surface area of the plot of land is offset by having a riparian wood listed as priority habitat (91E0* Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior). It is located in the proximity of other plots in which we already do land stewardship with the aim of creating the micro-reserve of Ollo da Roda, which has now grown to a surface of 24,545 m2 with this new addition.

Our donors’ contributions make it possible to take further steps forward ―big or small― towards the conservation of our natural areas. Do join them! You can find additional information in section Join us! or else you can consult us directly (in section Contact you can find the necessary information).

Second phase in A Espenuca completed

28 August 2015

Last Saturday a group of ten volunteers completed the planting of oaks and hammering of stakes in the A Espenuca plot that is being restored. This afternoon, five of these volunteers started to put protectors around them so that roe deer do not graze at them. The gnawed tips of the stalks that are sprouting from some stumps of oaks and chestnut trees show that they frequent this plot.

Photograph of the volunteersOur mascot Dona, helped by her mate Gala, makes sure they are turfed out of the area. In fact, last Saturday the volunteers could see how a roe deer, while fleeing, passed close by them. It was hiding in the bordering oak wood, but the two dogs smelled it and sent it out in the direction of the eucalyptus woods on the eastern side. During the chase Dona injured one hind leg, but the following day she was already fit again.

A new volunteering day has been set for next Sunday the 30th in order to install protectors and complete the second phase of restoration. Visitors can now consult the informative board, follow the signposted itinerary that runs through the plot, and cross the small oak wood that survives there, while identifying the diverse trees that form it. Or else enjoy the landscape taking a rest besides a rock, now free from the eucalyptus foliage. But above all, imagine the size of the planted oaks in fifty years and the quantity of life that will be sheltered by the native forest when it covers the whole plot; then the complete ecological restoration will be achieved.

The third phase will start next month: the plot maintenance. Among the scheduled work are to reinforce the plantation sowing acorns, chestnuts and hazelnuts picked up in the area, and to go over the eucalyptus stumps to get them definitively dry.

If you want to be one of the protagonists of this beautiful project, register for this Sunday volunteering day by sending your data (complete name, ID, birth date and mobile phone number). In section Contact you will find the necessary information.

Meeting point: Betanzos outpatient centre.
Date: August 30th, 2015.
Time: We will leaving at 9.30 a.m. and coming back at 2 p.m.

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