Sarah Bérard testimony

“Hello ! I am Sarah, 20yo from France and for the first three months of this year I was a volunteer with Plantar Uma Arvore for the Life volunteer Escape program. I had the opportunity during my bachelor degree to live abroad for an erasmus exchange, when I start looking for a volunteering I directly tried to gain another international experience thanks to the European Union . I also had in mind to use this time for the environment and my further studies, I found all of this in Plantar Uma Arvore. These three months spent working for nature conservation, planting tree and controlling invasive species mainly, helped me to ground myself in my convictions towards the protection of nature, it raised my interest on local challenges and, as I was starting from almost nothing, the field work taught me a lot. I lived in a very calm place (Afonsim, Serra do Alvão) during a very troubled time due to the pandemic, this peaceful atmosphere was pretty appropriate to the « caring » of the land we did and also of the people involved in the volunteering. I had several experiences with house-share in the past, this one was definitely one of the best. Being gathered by our love and concern for the environment was a great start for interesting and insightful conversations but also the opportunity to open up to each other and build friendships. I particularly liked this aspect of my experience which was enhanced during the field trip to Terceira in the Açores. For a week we had the amazing opportunity to work in a unique environment, to learn with specialists about the climate and the nature conservation done on the island and to bond with local volunteers, breaking the language barrier through laughter. Coming to Portugal was an unexpected journey to me but it turned out a wonderful experience. I discovered beautiful landscapes in Afonsim and in the Açores but also during the round trip I did just after the end of the volunteering. I’m glad organizations such as Plantar Uma Arvore are dedicated to preserve this patrimony and I will share my experience through my memories and the idea this experience planted in my heart. A special thanks must be address to the great coordinators I worked with, Gil and Julia in the Açores and to my house-mates and friends Felicitas, Carmen and Mathieu who brought joy and fun (a lot, trust me) in my life.”

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