International Workcamp – Supporting Nature

MONTIS International Work Camp (IWC), “Supporting Nature”, took place between the 18th and 27th of August
This IWC, which was supported by the project LIFE ENPLC, IPDJ and the Pampilhosa da Serra Municipal Council, had 12 participants of various nationalities, who helped us with the land management of MONTIS properties in Pampilhosa da Serra.
The first four days of work were dedicated to the management of Soalheira and Penedo Alto.
We started the IWC with a morning opening an alternative path in Soalheira, which would allow us to access the interior of the property avoiding the usual passage through the beehives installed there. Along the way, we opened access to several existing pine trees, so that we could prune them at height. This action, together with the cutting of the surrounding vegetation, creates fuel discontinuity that will increase the property’s resilience to fire.
The second day of the IWC was quite similar, but on the Penedo Alto property. We reopened a path that had been opened by volunteers from the LIFE Volunteer Escapes project, and along that path we pruned the pine trees. However, compared to Soalheira, Penedo Alto has a high density of strawberry trees, which we tried to protect by opening clearings around them to create fuel discontinuity.
On the third and fourth day, we returned to Soalheira, to work on invasive plant control, plantation maintenance and natural engineering.
Participants had the opportunity to learn mimosas (Acacia dealbata) control methods.
On the last day at Soalheira, we maintained the various oak and cork oak trees planted in the 2020/2021 and 2022/2023 seasons, using the mulching technique with stones and foliage. This technique consists of covering the soil around the plant with stones and/or vegetation that will allow better moisture retention and deposition of organic matter in the soil.
The participants stayed at the Xisto Camping campsite, in Janeiro de Baixo, interacting daily with the friendly staff. Taking advantage of their stay at this campsite, one of the activities consisted of a visit to the schist village of Janeiro de Baixo, where participants had the opportunity to interact with the population at the Liga de Melhoramentos de Janeiro de Baixo.
In a similar way, participants had the opportunity to visit the village of Cabril. After getting their hands dirty making traditional children’s pies in a Workshop at Atelier da Filhó, they had the kindness of Inês (one of the Workshop’s supervisors) who gave them a guided tour of the village, showing the various sculptures of the Rota do Worker, the Museum and the Liga de Melhoramentos.
Also noteworthy is the astronomy activity, which in addition to being part of the IWC program was also open to the public and attended by almost 50 people. This activity, promoted in partnership with the Municipal Council of Pampilhosa da Serra, was guided by Professor José Matos from FISUA, and gave everyone present the opportunity to learn more about the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and the constellations. The public also had the opportunity to taste the sausages made by IWC volunteers.
The IWC was also marked by several moments of leisure, with bathing on the various beaches in the region, such as the river beach of Janeiro de Baixo, the river beach of Pampilhosa da Serra and the Santa Luzia reservoir, where participants also had the opportunity to do canoeing.
All of these IWC activities made it possible to promote local culture and contact with people and entities in the region, which will certainly be an added value in maintaining and establishing new partnerships.


The news items collected on this blog have been written by project partners of the LIFE ENPLC project.