Voluns offers a valuable conservation experience, responsible for the environment and for the future. It´s another kind of tourism, getting to know a beautiful place in a proactive way.
In this post, we want we want to share with you the achievements of the volunteers who have participated in the Coast and Marine Conservation volunteer program in Dénia and its surroundings. One of the tasks of the volunteers is the collection of waste, among which most are plastics. From June to September we collected in 12 days more than 200kg of waste by kayak, on foot and diving on the sea coast.
This volunteer program covers a part of the coast between Valencia and Alicante in which there are three protected natural parks: The Marjal of Pego- Oliva, The Montgó Natural Park and The Marine Reserve in the Cape of San Antonio. These are natural areas with a great diversity and of high ecological importance.
The Marjal Pego-Oliva Nature Reserve
The Marjal is a protected wetland with an area of 1.253 hectares. There are two rivers that run through the Bullent or Vedat, in the northern part, and the Racons or Molinell, in the southern part. Many plants are unique, this place stands out for being a zone of storage and birth of groundwater that regulates, in a natural way, the quality of the water. Many of its plants are unique.
The Montgó Natural Park
The Natural Park of Montgó is very visited by hikers, has an area of 2.117 hectares and 753 meters of altitude and is between Dénia and Xabia. More than 650 species of flora and vegetation live in there. The vegetation of Montgó was one of the main reasons for the declaration of this protected area. It has an extensive floristic catalogue and abundance of endemism. This natural park keeps a great botanical treasure.
The Marine Reserve in the Cape of San Antonio
The Nature Reserve San Antonio Cape is a protected area of high ecological value that occupies 900 hectares. On its seabed you can find coral colonies, Scyaphila algae, Sandstone rhophytes, Posydonia meadows. There, you can go diving in caves and crevices such as the famous Cova Tallada, and observe a great diversity of marine species.
Why volunteering in this area of the Valencian Community?
The increase of the human presence (mass tourism) in the natural environment leaves an ecological footprint that threatens the ecosystem. Even though we point out the data of the collected waste, there are other causes for which the flora and fauna are being modified and endangered. For example:
- The abandonment of invasive species in the lagoons and in the sea, ending with other native species.
- The deterioration of hiking trails with dog excrement and trash.
- Pollution of wetlands through the discharge of contaminated water.
- The increase in fires caused by reasons related to climate change such as rising temperatures or lack of rain or human presence such as leaving garbage in the forests.
- And, as a consequence of the increase in fires, the modification of the landscape by the proliferation of pines after the fires that modify the forests. Pine is a tree that catches fire quickly and facilitates fires.
How we act to protect these places?
In Voluns, we act to minimize environmental impact caused by the increase in tourism in the area through our international volunteering program of coast and marine conservation. The program includes all kinds of activities related to the conservation of the coasts and marine areas of these locations of the Valencian Community.
Furthermore, Voluns is committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and effecting real change through its volunteer programs. Some of the SDG that contemplate this program are:
13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
15. Life on Land
Similarly, we have some influence in other objectives of the 2030 Agenda, such as number 6 Clean Water and Sanitation or number 12 Responsible Production and Consumption. Also, through the collaboration of volunteers from different cultures and languages we are committed to promoting values such as equality and multiculturalism.
The achievements of summer conservation volunteering
Below, we list the achievements of this summer because we are sincerely very proud of all the work that has been done thanks to the volunteers:
- Date: June to September of 2019
- Locations: Montgo Natural Park, Cova Migdia ( Xàbia), coast of Dénia and Xàbia, the Seabed Reserve of Cap de Sant Antoni and Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park.
In the Montgó Natural Park:
Surveillance and fire prevention:
- June to September, 15 hours of surveillance in weekend guards in the most exposed areas and without access control in the Natural Park.
Enhancement of the regeneration of native flora in burned areas:
- June to September, 20 hours of work of removal of white pine, Pinus Halepensis in Planes del Montgó, in more than 80,000 m2 within the Natural Park in areas devastated by fire in 2014, reinforcing the presence of native flora.
Active participation in the information campaign on the collection of pet waste in Montgó, “regalets, no gràcies”:
- June to September, 5 working days, 20 hours making ephemeral thematic murals and informing about the problem of animal waste in Camí de la Colònia.
- June, 5 hours of work and participation with 150 schoolchildren of 3rd grade of CEIP Pou de la Muntanya, in the realization of ephemeral murals with the theme of environmental awareness in access to the school.
Conservation of the historical, cultural and landscape heritage of Xàbia:
- July and August, 12 hours of work in clearing and cleaning of vegetation on the access road to Cova del Migdia.
- June, 4 hours of work in clearing and cleaning of vegetation on the access road to the Castell de Granadella.
On the coast of Dénia and Xàbia and in the Seabed Reserve of Cap de Sant Antoni:
Cleaning of surfaces, seabed and coves of difficult access for machinery and municipal cleaning brigades:
- June to September, 12 days, 50 hours of work, 200kg of waste removed in Cova Tallà, Cala Sardinera, Cala Pallers, Beaches of Les Roques, Sol del Barranc and Granadella by kayak, on foot and diving.
Detection and mapping of invasive algae Caulerpa cylindracea (ant. Racemosa):
- June to September, 12 days, 25 hours of work on the beaches of Les Roques, 1km square of revised Marine Reserve funds and 30 points with infestation of found algae.
Collection and weighing of microplastics on the coast of Les Rotes:
- June to September, 15 days, 45 hours of work in different sections of the Reserve’s coast, detecting sections with contamination of microplastics transported and deposited by waves.
In the Marjal de Pego-Oliva Natural Park:
Detection and control of invasive alien species:
- June to September, 54 copies of red-eared turtles (Trachemys scripta) captured (with net and submerged traps), and delivered to the Valencian Ministry of Environment.
- June to September, capture and removal of specimens of exotic and invasive species (Procambarus clarkii, Lepomis gibbosus, Cyprinus carpio, Micropterus salmoides, Carassius auratus), in the Giratells canal.
- July. Participation in the day of detection of Cargol poma (Pomacea maculata) with technicians from the Valencian Ministry of Environment.