Monday, 19 September 2011

SPEA partnered with the 7th Education Week of Azores for Young Type 1 Diabetics

Last week in San Miguel was held a meeting framed in the Program of Prevention and Control of Diabetes and Obesity. This year's theme was "Intensive Glucose Control in Priolo Route" and for that matter the participants of this meeting had a great chellenge on August 29: a walking trail to Pico da Vara. On this tour we took 30 young people between patients, doctors and monitors to one of the most emblematic places of São Miguel.

The coordinator of this gathering was Dr. Rui Cesar who highlighted the role of physical activity and the importance of learning to live with this disease.

The tour began in the Peats of Graminhais where it was possible to show the work done by the Project LIFE Sustainable Laurel in the restoration of peat bogs, and from where the walk to the highest point of the island began. Along the way we presented the natural habitats of this area, and it was even possible to hear a Priolo. All participants, each at their own pace, successfully met this challenge.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Seeds and seeds...

With the begining of summer the natural forest begins to give fruits, berries and seeds. Over the months, different species of the Laurel Forest will gradually mature its fruits and berries, like the beech or simply release their seeds as with heather and various herbs. It is a time of plenty of food for birds such as Priolo which begins at this point to look for berries of the Azorean blueberry, its main food in late summer.

Beech berries

The various species give seeds at different times of the year: the first one was Heather, and right now the beech is already in the end also, while the azorean blueberry, the hawkbit and the laurel are now in full time. The azorean holly is one of the last as only now its famous berries are starting to get red.

The common heather will flower only in a few weeks

This is also a time of hard work for the entire project team, in addition to the usual tasks of controlling exotic blades of grass, it is also time to monitor the vegetation and to collect seeds for the plant nursery. The team is collecting different seeds to produce different plants that will in the future be planted in our areas of work to recover the Laurel Forest, and in some cases directly to the soil in areas where the density of exotic species was greater.

Collecting seeds of Laurel

Laurel fruits

The "seed time" is always a busy time and an essential one for the recovery of natural laurel forests, so that it continues to produce good results, and it is also a crucial time for Priolo that prepares to withstand the intense winter of the mountains.

Collecting fruits of Laurel

Friday, 9 September 2011

Priolo and the Laurel Forest in Wales

Yesterday, the project received a different visit. The whole day, a film crew of Aden passed through Tronqueira Mountains to film for a new TV series produced for the channels of Wales. Specialized in documentaries, nature and wildlife, this team has extensive experience in this kind of productions, having already made various programs for BBC.
This opportunity came about through a meeting held in the BIRDFAIR of 2010 where SPEA was present to represent the Azores and the Algarve.

Being the main attraction the Priolo (Azores bullfinch), much of the day was spent shooting this endemic bird. Given the favorable present time of the year it was possible to observe and record many juveniles while the adults flew more discreet.

But not only Priolo got the attention. The Laurel Forest, natural vegetation of Azores and habitat of Priolo, was captured by the cameras as it is also an ancient and almost extinct treasure in these Mountains. The film crew got to know the threats to its conservation and the work of recent years done to recover this rich natural heritage. The main threat to the laurel Forest are the invasive plant species that occupy the space and resources. It was with sadness that the film crew observed the dimension of this problem, but also with admiration that they saw the positive results achieved by the project in recovering large areas of Laurel.

One of the presents was the naturalist Iolo Williams, ornithologist and former technician of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK, where he was also a colleague of Colin Bibby, one of the specialists who in the 90's made many studies about Priolo.

The team visited several areas of the SPA Pico da Vara / Ribeira do Guilherme as well as some other interesting points of the municipalities in the Nordeste and Povoação, having been surrendered to the charms of the Lands of Priolo.

If everything goes according to plan the series will be issued in January 2012, in a program dedicated to the Azores about the Priolo and about the cetaceans, with images collected in the island Pico.

Thanks for all your interest, all the sympathy and effort in order to put Priolo and all its magic on British television.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Training by the lake...

At the end of August some elements of the project attended a training course sponsored by the Center for Monitoring and Research of Furnas (CMIF) in collaboration with A. S. Maia, a representative of STIHL and VIKING to São Miguel.

To CMIF the purpose of this training was to provide to participants the most advanced knowledge and work techniques, particularly in terms of safety and maintenance of various equipment motor manual (eg. chain saws, lawn mowers and motor scythes, picks, blowers, etc.) in order to raise the standards of safety and capacity of intervention in environmental field.

Throughout the week of training was still possible to watch the work of Emmanuel Courtot, STIHL professional and French champion of woodcarving. The various studies carried out by this real artist will be exposed in CMIF, another reason to visit this center.

As for the elements of LIFE Sustainable Laurel this was an excellent opportunity to improve their knowledge of the procedures in the use of machines like chainsaws, essential to the development of several project actions.
The project team thanks all those involved to excellent reception and the possibility of having participated in this action.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Weekend of Forests and Biodiversity

SPEA / Environmental Center of Priolo (CAP), the project Life Sustainable Laurel and the Regional Direction of Forests celebrated for the second consecutive year the Weekend of Forests and Biodiversity. About 80 people were present at the Recreational Forest Reserve of Cancela do Cinzeiro, whom could enjoy the activities planned, including a trip to Pico da Vara, mountain biking, "Discovering the Laurel", slide, mini-golf , geocaching and volleyball, and other activities.

On Sunday, the participants were also invited to sing happy birthday to the CAP, which celebrated its fourth anniversary with cake and champagne. The organization also had the support of the Regional Direction for Youth, Be Different Youth Association of Nordeste and Association of Social Intervention and Cultural Economic Development and the Azores.