Testemunho Mira Nolte

“My name is Mira, I’m 19 years old and I had the great opportunity to volunteer with Plantar uma Árvore in Portugal from June to August 2020. The first days after my arrival in Sintra were pretty exciting. Everything was completely new for me and it took me a while to get used to the fact that I will share a bedroom with strangers. I clicked with my roommates pretty quickly and after a brief settling-in period the house and the people already felt like a second home.
In the first few days we got an introduction to the project and the work. I learned a lot about native and invasive plant species and how to identify them. I even remembered some of their portuguese names! I learned about the maintenance and how to debark acacias and it was always such a good feeling to see what you can reach after a few days of work in one area. We also had a lot of freetime and the region around Sintra is just unbeatable. Sintra itself is incredibly beautiful with its historical center, all the palaces and of course the natural park. You can also go to Lisbon, which we did several times, or go to the most beautiful beaches. For me, Sintra was the perfect place to be and I will definetly come back one day!
What I liked most about the project were the field trips and the opportunity to meet so many great people and to travel a bit through Portugal. My highlight was without doubt the Azores trip, because I had so much fun with all these amazing guys on that beautiful island and I probably never had a sense of belonging like that before. It was pretty cool to do some other work such as natural engineering as well. Even after the project ended, I’m still in contact with many of them.
So all in all I can say that the work can be very physically challenging and I was indeed getting pretty mad when the same blackberry branch hit me for the fifth time. And sometimes there were situations which made me feel uncomfortable and which I didn’t like that much back then. But now I am actually very thankful that this project helped me to get out of my comfort zone because it made me grow personally. Even though the work can be tough, it is worth to see what you can do for the environment and for your own experience as well. If I could, I would apply for a second time for sure!“

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