Common planet, common responsibilities
Many pairs of hands together supporting natural environment during reforestation activities
At the beginning of the 2019 year, on 5th of January which was very cold and windy day, me and other volunteers had great opportunity to attend in reforestation activities organized by Parque Ecológico.
This place was found in 1994 on initiative of the City of Funchal and its main purpose is protection of nature and ecological education. Firstly, we had short presentation about the purpose and activities organizes by association. Our main task for this day was laurel trees planting. Madeira is famous of its old laurel forests which are on The List of World Heritage UNESCO since 1999. Nowadays the protected area occupies c.a. 15 thousand hectares, however when the island was discovered in 1419, laurel trees grew almost the entire island. Thus, replanting trees now is also a kind of maintain of Madeiran heritage.
For us, volunteers, this was a good opportunity to do something good for Earth, by supporting and protecting natural environment of Madeira, and great way for team-working. Together with team from Coca-Cola company we put effort to plant many laurel trees on the hills of Funchal. I hope that most of them will survive and became big and powerful trees. – Anna Soltys, a volunteer from Poland.
The 5th of January it was for me the second time planting trees in the Ecological Park of Funchal. This time we also went with some other volunteers. Besides some men of the famous company, Coca-Cola were helping with planting trees as well.
Starting from the sunny, warm centre of Funchal we went all the way up in the mountains were it was very cold. We started the morning by watching a presentation about the Ecological Parc. For example what kind of species of animals and plants we can find here. Also the history of the big fire in 2016 which destroyed around 95% of the whole Ecological Parc.
It is very important to have the vegetation back on the hills for many reasons. One of them is that the roots of plants and trees hold the rainwater for a longer period of time. When there is no vegetation on the hill, there is a bigger chance of having mud streams for example. This is dangerous when the water will reach Funchal to fast.
By the time we were planting the trees, all in couples, it was getting warmer fortunately. An interesting day to do something for the environmental space of Madeira. – Merel Marcuse, a volunteer from The Netherlands.
Beginning of January, on Saturday morning volunteers gathered in the Jesuits College. Then we were taken by university buses to Parco Ecologico Funchal. In the beginning, there was a short presentation about the park as well as an introduction to reforestation and local flora.
Later, the whole group walked to the place where we were we had to plant trees. We were divided into groups of two people, were given hoes and seedings. One of the park employees gave us short instruction and demonstration what exactly we should do to correctly plant. Then we started to work in our teams. Especially digging holes in the soil was good warm-up exercise, because the temperature was quite low and it was cold outside on that day.
There was a lot of fun because the place we were planting was quite steep. Some people had a problem to keep balance and they were felled over. After work was finished we took a group picture. Additionally, part of the group were employees of coca-cola company and they had a nice surprise for us. They brought a car full of drinks, so everyone could help oneself. Later buses came to pick us up and we came back to Funchal. It was a nice Saturday spent on doing something good for the local environment. Katarzyna Janek, a volunteer from Poland.
Fotografias captadas por Magdalena Zawadzka, voluntária da Polónia, ao abrigo do programa Erasmus+.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.
Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.
Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.
Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.