Waking up to a sunny morning, getting ready and dressed for a day outdoors but first we gathered at the school for a seminar about the initial survey of our project. A great job had been done by the statistical co-ordinator of the project Mr Eduardo Corbacho and his students at Sáenz de Buruaga school. Down to a detailed level of explanation we learnt about our current answers to some of the critical issues of our times. The total report is said to span over almost a hundred pages! What an effort.
After a short break close to a “swedish fika” we got on the bus. This bustrip was to take us to Cornalvo http://visit-western-spain.com/cornalvo-natural-park/ a Natural Park with holm oaks and cork oaks. On the way there we caught several glimpses of livestock.
In the mediterranean forests on both sides of the road the famous Iberian pigs roamed in large flocks. From them comes the famous pata negra. Arriving at the main building we then got a briefing from the rangers about the wild-life of the park, its trees and flowers. We also learnt a bit about how to plant holm oaks. Then we had applied sciences! Well, anyways, we got to practice our treeplanting skills. This was an awesome thing for us. Planting a tree for a better and greener future is something emotionally satisfying. Since the trees will be protected they will also give each and everyone of us a reason to return to the park to check up on their growth, maybe even violate them a bit – leaving a carved in heart in memory of someone special on their bark in the future?!
The problem of deforestation has been known since late 1800s. Being a country where shepherds have roamed the countryside with their herds of sheep since the middleages has led to a loss of soil and other adverse consequenses for the environment. As early as 1867 a reforestation commission was created in Spain. Healthy forests are essential for preserving the soils and also acts as barriers when heavy rains washes the land. Another aspect of a tree is that it capsules carbon dioxide. Today we dug in to do a small part of this reforestation work!
After a delicious lunch outdoors we went back to Mérida. The late afternoon was spent in the National museum of Roman art: http://turismomerida.org/what-to-see/national-roman-art-museum/ a beautiful building drawn by the renowned spanish architect Rafael Moneo . Just outside a roman soldier – Abel, teacher in latin language – was waiting for us and inside we were given an introduction to the museum and its collection by Ph.D. Trinidad Nogales Bassarade: today in charge of the museum but earlier in her career she has also been the minister of education and culture in the Region of Extremadura.