Working4Wildlife: Natural history of a river delta, Spain

The location

You have to use the word ‘spectacular’ to describe the Ebro delta. It is the second largest and most important wetland area on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It is 200 km southwest of Barcelona and is an extensive, flat marsh area at the mouth of the river Ebro which is formed by sediments transported seawards by the river, a process which began hundreds of years ago and still continues to change the shape and appearance of the land today. 

The delta contains lagoon, dune and shallow beach habitats, as well as the river and its riparian woodlands. It is dominated by human activities and the vast majority of the land is used for agricultural purposes.  You will find rice fields alongside small fruit plantations and salt pans, all adding to the delta’s diversity.

The Ebro Delta attracts millions of birds throughout the year. Thousands of shorebirds, gulls and terns raise their chicks in the relatively open areas.  Greater Flamingo, Common, Sandwich and Gull-billed, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Avocet and Scops Owl add to the amazing list of birds you can see here.

You’ll be living amongst all this amazing wildlife, helping the local NGO care for, record and monitor its activity as well as communicating your growing knowledge of the area to the visitors who come to the Centre.  All this is yours to explore during your field trip to this amazing location.

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Your Host Organisation

SEO/Birdlifeis a national Spanish organisation involved in conservation of bird species and habitat. Riet Vell is a sustainable development project of SEO/Birdlife. It consists of two nature reserves, a company producing organic rice and a centre of research for the development and conservation of wetland areas. The project aims to combine organic rice agriculture with the restoration of natural wetland habitats. This is achieved by carrying out applied research, enhancing the status of protected species, maintaining the environmental and landscape value of the area and assisting rural development and eco-tourism. In addition there are specific projects involving research, public use, environmental education, conservation of habitats and species in the reserves.   More information at https://www.facebook.com/ReservaRietVell/ and www.rietvell.org and https://www.seo.org/reservas-ornitologicas/. 

You can also visit their Instagram page @seobirdlife_delta.

The mobility part of Working4Wildlife is totally funded by ERASMUS+

Participant Feedback

Previous participants to other hosts 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.”

[I learnt about]: “The role that different types of science communication have in engaging differing audiences. The way you tell things will impact how well you can get a particular message across.”

Tasks During Mobility

Two Working4Wildlife places are available at SEO/Birdlife Spain. While you will live as a team your daily tasks are more likely to be undertaken in a pair or independently.  SEO will give full training to enable trainees to undertake a range of tasks.

Previous trainees have; helped maintenance of nesting areas for wetland birds, monitored birds,  water quality and been involved in delivering environmental education and welcoming visitors. Bird observations and bird census´ in different parts of the Delta will also be undertaken, including bird ringing sessions. Key elements include collecting seeds, harvesting the rice, cleaning the observatory and information centre and inputting data into a computer.

The placement will begin with an introduction to the projects, work and working practices of SEO/Birdlife and familiarisation with local culture, geography, fauna and flora. This will include an introduction to Spanish language with some classes.

Trainees will be expected to settle into a partly autonomous (but overseen) role. All Trainees will be expected to work the same core working hours as SEO/Birdlife staff (8.30 am to 1pm each day), plus out of hours work as fieldwork requires. Your weekends will be on Monday and Tuesday because Saturday and Sunday are busy times with survey work and visitors to the site.

Time off for leisure and cultural activities will be the sole responsibility of the trainee. Some weekends will require a commitment to working hours and trainees are expected to join in fieldwork as and when required.  The overall programme of fieldwork for the training period will remain flexible due to the dynamics of different events at the reserve and projects being undertaken and may mean that the precise timetable needs to be adjusted.

Dates for your diary

The journey begins at the UK residential 23-27 March at our 80 acre organic farm which we manage for nature, wildlife and learning. Here,  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 to Spain for 2020 are:

Saturday 13th June – Tuesday 22nd September

Travel and Insurance

For logistic and funding reasons we will probably have to fly you to Spain (not our wish). You can help us investigate overland travel but our budgets are limited :-(.  You can, however, 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.

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Food and accommodation in Spain

Accommodation for trainees is in a small cottage at the spectacular SEO/Birdlife base at Riet Vell on the Ebro Delta nature reserve.  It is ‘cottage’ style accommodation, with a communal living space, kitchen and pantry. There are shared same-sex bedrooms with bunkbeds, and shared toilets.

This is a remote location where, during good weather, most of the living is outside.  The large outdoor living space overlooks the reserve, with seating areas and a pizza oven – perfect for a summer’s evening.

A weekly food and ‘pocket money’ allowance will be provided. The supermarket is approx. 8 km away where you will go and do your weekly food shop once a week with the other trainees, using the mini-bus provided.

There are also bikes which you can use to explore the delta during your free time.

Kit list: We recommend you bring the following items

  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • Good waterproof coat and trousers
  • Sturdy walking boots
  • Slippers for around the accommodation
  • Wash kit / personal towel
  • Personal medication
  • Water bottle
  • Plastic box for lunchtime food
  • Laptop or tablet (optional)
  • Mobile telephoneand 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
  • Suncream, Sun hat, sun glasses
  • Mosquito repellent

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.