Forest ecology-mobility in Portugal

Finally, the long-awaited moment has come! After almost a year of riots, due to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, we managed to mobilize for the first physical mobility, which took place in Portugal.

The meeting, intended only for teachers, brought together participants from Portugal, North Macedonia, Romania and Turkey. Unfortunately, due to personal security and the recommendation of the authorities in their country, the school from Lithuania could not participate in this mobility.

We must mention that, for the good development of the activities, all the necessary measures were taken, both before and during the mobility. Thus, all participants had all the necessary documents to travel from their home country to Portugal and return (identity documents, vaccination evidence, Covid cube tests negative result), were accommodated at the same hotel in Porto (on the recommendation of colleagues in Portugal), they complied with the preventive measures imposed by the Portuguese authorities.

It should also be noted that, as this mobility took place much later than scheduled, some of the activities initially proposed for this (for example the forest ecology course / workshop) did not take place, being already carried out during the online  meetings.

The first day (July 6) marked the arrival and accommodation of the participants, their accommodation with the city of Porto and its specific environment. Porto, a beautiful, pleasant, welcoming city, with calm, friendly people, offered us all the conditions for a wonderful stay, thus perfectly combining the usefulness of project activities with the pleasure of discovering new people and places.

Towards evening, all participants, including the hosts, had dinner at a restaurant near the school in Rio Tinto, on which occasion the first direct contacts were established, the first impressions were exchanged, the long-awaited socialization took place.

The next day (July 7) began with a foray into the green areas of RioTinto. This way the guests could see the organization of the green spaces in Porto, being able to make a comparison with what they have at home. The walk was sprinkled with many moments of socialization, numerous photos and many information sessions.

In the second part of the day the hosts invited us to visit the school: Agrupamento de Escolas de Rio Tinto Nº 3, a place that offers all the conditions for a quality education.

The last event of the day took place in one of the school halls in Rio Tinto: Sustainable management of the forest environment in Europe – case study of the Green Europe project. Education. Abilities. In this activity, I, Voinea Dumitru, as coordinator of the project, made a brief presentation of it, mentioning the main identification data of the project, the objectives, what has been done so far, what we want to achieve in the future; followed by an exchange of questions and answers between all participants, future mobilities were established by mutual agreement, mainly their schedule.

The third day (July 8) was dedicated to the city of Porto and its inhabitants. It is very important for us to know each other as well as possible, to understand and respect diversity! We can do this by knowing the geography, history and philosophy of each country in the project card. Visiting the city of Porto, walking on the Douro River, listening to local legends and stories, admiring the architecture, we managed a soul connection with our wonderful hosts.

The fourth and last day (July 9) was a trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park, also known as Gerês, a national park located in northern Portugal. Created on 8 May 1971, it is the oldest protected area and the only national park in Portugal due to its national and international scientific interest. This trip tested our skills and the practical spirit of exploring and investigating a forest environment, thus preparing us for the following challenges of our project: mobility with students.

Thanks the hosts for the organizational effort made, for the openness, for the sincere friendship and the obsessive care that everything is fine.  Personally, I had a lot to learn and I will definitely apply a lot of what I have accumulated, when I will be in the position of host.

I am glad that we started physical mobility, I hope with all my heart to keep it that way. The next mobility, at the end of September, in Romania. We are waiting for you!

Thinks green, lives green!

The pictures were taken by the participants in the mobility.

Dumitru Voinea, teacher, Romania

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