Mathieu Robain testimony
“Hello ! I’m Mathieu, I come from France and I did a volunteering with Plantar uma Arvore in Serra do Alvão for three wonderful months, from the beginning of January to the beginning of April. After graduating a Master degree in Geography, I decided to join the Life Volunteer Escape program to discover how nature conservation works on the field, as I would like to work in forestry development projects.
After a year of lockdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic, my journey in the lovely place of Afonsim represented a true breath of fresh air, surrounded with nature, cows (a lot) and most of all great people : Sarah, Carmen, Felicitas (the greatest housemates ever) and of course Gil, our coordinator, always eager to share his knowledge and good pieces of advice. This experience was even more exciting as I am especially interested in Mediterranean vegetation, the kind of landscape you can encounter in many places in Portugal. Participating in the conservation of this environment was therefore especially fulfilling.
Our task was mainly to plant native species (including chestnut trees, strawberry trees and cork trees) in several areas called baldios, composed of lands that belong neither to the state nor to a private owner, but to the community living there. Some of these planting sessions were done alongside with other associations’ and companies members, for whom we are grateful. We also took care of many trees that had been planted previously, in particular through pruning activities and uprooting bushes. Best of all, we had the amazing chance to join a volunteer group in the Azorian island of Terceira, to help the environment service team to the core of a natural reserve.
I couldn’t thank enough the association Plantar uma Arvore for the unforgettable experience I enjoyed and the skills I acquired, and for the strong friendships I created.”