Working4Wildlife: Birds, Plants, Insects & your project, Portugal

The location

The idilic small town of Coruche is about 80km (50 miles) north east of Lisbon.  Close to the amazingly rich montado habitat (Mediterranean woodland dominated by cork oak) and alongside a freshwater river, this location offers easy access to investigate and document both.

Visiting Coruche is an experience you will not forget. The town has a lovely relaxed atmosphere.  The local landscape is marked by the seasons of the year with intense colour and by the forest and the Lezíria (low lands), fertilised by the nearby river Sorraia. This is a rice, corn and tomato growing country.

The nearby cork oak forests provides renewable and sustainable crop while supporting incredible rich biodiversity which is still being documented (by Ambios Portugal). The concentration of cork oak forests in this area means it supplies about 8% of Portugal’s cork with the factories of Coruche making 5 million cork stoppers per day…

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Birds, Plants, Insects & your project, Portugal

Your host organisation

Ambios Portugal is a non-governmental non-for-profit organization founded in 2018 and based at the Cork and Cork Oak Observatory in Coruche, Portugal.  It shares a similar name to Ambios Ltd, UK but is entirely independent.  As a scientific association, Ambios Portugal aims to disseminate the scientific culture and to promote the involvement of the society in science, based on the principles and practice of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, towards the quality of life and the environment in general.

Ambios Portugal was founded by a team from universities, non-governmental organizations, companies and the public administration, with links to the environment sector.  For information at https://www.facebook.com/ambiosportugal/and www.ambios.pt

The mobility part of Working4Wildlife is totally funded by ERASMUS+

 

Participant Feedback

Previous participants have said

“I loved having a mixture of group projects as well as an individual one. This gave me the opportunity to really feel part of something through group work, as well as having a sense of independence while working on my own.”

“So worth it! I really cannot fault the experience I had. It was varied, stimulating and incredibly rewarding. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn so much about nature, the way the world works, and yourself!”

“I loved having lots of things going on at the same time – dipping in and out of different projects, all of which I was really passionate about. I could definitely see myself working for an NGO in the future! I like the autonomy and the idea that you can take on anything that is relevant and of interest.”

 

Tasks During Mobility

Two Working4Wildlife places are available at Ambios Portugal

Catching, handling, and identifying invertebrates; collecting plant specimens for identification and pressing in an herbarium; safely handling and releasing birds during a ringing session; aiding in setting up camera traps. These activities will take place between two different habitats: the montado (Mediterranean woodland dominated by cork oak) and a riparian habitat (in a human intervened and natural setting) near the village of Coruche, during the summer months. 

Subject to discussions, carry out a project with the goal of science communication – maybe about the montado or a nature walk beside the river to help the population gain knowledge and understanding of species and habitats.

Helping with night transects for barn owl surveying and owl pellets analysis – part of an on-going project and part of the University of Évora (ICAAM – Laboratory of Ornithology) – Ambios Portugal protocol for collaboration. 

Your time will be split between fieldwork in the Montado forest and alongside the river Sorraia and in the laboratory at the Cork Oak Observatory.

Dates for your diary

The journey begins at the UK residential 23-27 March at Lower Sharpham Farm where you will learn practical nature conservation survey and communication skills and hear more about your chosen mobility.

You’ll learn

  • Introduction to bird, mammal and invertebrate identification
  • Small mammal and camera trapping
  • Meet your fellow participants
  • Hear more about your host organisation and logistics
  • Discuss the kit list
  • Be introduced to your on-line learning environment
  • See how the paperwork bit works
  • Hear about the post-mobility Employers’ knowledge cafe
  • Understand how our system of support works

Field trip dates are:

Saturday 13th June – Tuesday 22nd September

Travel and Insurance

For logistic and funding reasons we will probably have to fly you to Portugal (not our wish).  You can help begin to address the carbon impact during your time at Lower Sharpham Farm in March when you can be involved in our tree planting plans for 2020 and beyond..

Successful applicants will be awarded an Erasmus+ financial contribution towards personal insurance. This must be purchased before the field trip and a copy of the insurance certificate supplied to Ambios Ltd prior to your departure.

Food and accommodation in Portugal

Accommodation is in a converted town house right next to the River Sorraia in the town of Coruche.  It is used by visiting researchers, volunteers with whom we may share some of our time.  It offers basic yet comfortable shared sleeping accommodation in bunk bed style (4 persons per room) with communal bathrooms and cooking facilities. There is a washing machine for washing clothes and places to sit and relax during downtimes.  The location provides an ideal place from which to explore the surrounding countryside and river system.

Transport will be in local cars/local government minibus and most journey are relatively short (c. 30-45mins).

There is a small kitchen has a hob, oven, microwave, toaster and kettle and  a water filter in one of the rooms for refilling water bottles.  We encourage a vegetarian diet for a more sustainable way of eating, but if you would like to have meat or fish, this can be arranged. If specific ingredients are needed, please ask

As little food waste as possible is encouraged.  If any trainee has a food allergy and would feel more comfortable preparing their food separately, please let us know.

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Kit list: We recommend you bring the following items

We recommend you bring the following items:

  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • Good waterproof coat and trousers– please be aware that shorts are not a great idea for fieldwork and that you should consider bringing more than one pair of long trousers!
  • Sturdy walking boots
  • Slippers for around the accommodation
  • Wash kit
  • Personal medication
  • Water bottle
  • Plastic box for lunchtime food
  • Laptop or tablet (optional)
  • Mobile telephone and charger
  • Adaptor from EU to UK electrics
  • Binoculars!
  • Pen, pencil and note book
  • Bird field guide – we recommend the Collins bird guide
  • Spending money
  • Camera (optional), with charger leads
  • Passport
  • EHIC card
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Sun cream, Sun hat, sun glasses
  • Mosquito repellent, bite and sting cream (just in case) and consider a head net or similar.

No need to bring towels – they are provided!

Post Mobility

Following your mobilities you’ll receive recognition from your hosts and a Europass. Once you’ve completed the on-line learning you’ll receive further recognition via an e-badge.

You’ll also be invited to a final course get together in October at our farm in South Devon.

Note: You can take up to 1 year from your date of registration to complete the on-line course.

How to apply

To access the Erasmus+ funding you must have a UK residential address (evidence may be required). As we experience high demand for this course you will need to make an application.

ROUND 1 = Closing date 12noon Monday 2nd March.

ROUND 2 = Closing date 12noon Monday 16th March.

Limited places: ROUND 1 strongly advised.  Successful candidates will be invited to a Skype or WhatsApp interview within 5 days.

APPLICATION FORM

 

Ambios Ltd are committed to protecting your personal data and working in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation. We will never sell your data to anyone. Your data will be used for contacting you about this course and may be used to make you aware of other similar offers. You can opt out at any time via an email to info@ambios.net with ‘Opt Out’ in the subject line.