Mission in Portugal, March 2009
Manteigas, Gouveia and Seia welcomed the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) from schools across the country and a young Cypriot who also participated in the International YRE Mission - Estrela 2009 which took place between the 29th of March and 4th of April.
The activity in which these 16 youths took part in, under the guidance of 4 ABAE tutors, consisted of environmental research in the region of Serra da Estrela (in the Centre-North of Portugal). The communication of this research was in the form of newspaper articles and photojournalism. The goals of this activity were to:
- Apply the methodology inherent to the YRE program: environmental research and communication
- Develop diverse skills such as: research, writing, teamwork, learning the English language, etc.
- Investigating good practices related to sustainable development
- Learning about the opportunities and challenges of the Serra de Estrela region in respect to the themes of water, biodiversity and climate change
- Identify problems and suggest solutions during the research process
- Provide a group of youths with the opportunity to meet with youths from other regions of Portugal and other countries
As part of the program, besides a workshop on journalism during the opening session in Manteigas, on-site interviews and research also took place which were centred around the following themes:
- Forest: managing it in a sustainable manner (interviews with the firemen of S. Pedro and visit to the S. Pedro forest)
- Pastoralism in the Serra da Estrela : a sustainable activity? (interviews with 2 shepherds; visit to a cheesemaker; visit to Ecolã)
- Other sustainable activities in the Serra (visit to a rural tourism estate; visit to a Serra da Estrela dog breeder)
- Biodiversity- knowing and conserving (visit to the Ecological Park of Gouveia; visit to the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre- CERVAS; visit to the Visitor Learning Centre in Seia)
- Water, the most precious resource of the Serra (following the Mondego: visit to a trout farm, visit to the source of the rivers Mondego and Zêzere; visit to lakes: Lagoa Comprida, Lagoa de Rossim, Poço do Inferno).
This Mission, which received support from the mentioned towns, as well as from local and national entities (see poster), has as its goal to train young people not only in research and journalistic communication of an environmental nature, but most importantly to develop their critical and creative senses; essential to the exertion of their citizenship.
On the last day a press conference took place during which the work undertaken during that week was presented to the local community. The purpose was to discuss with all those involved in the mission and those present at the conference the outcomes of the Mission. During this session the Cine-Eco award-winning documentary film "Are there still shepherds?" was shown.
The YRE stayed at the Jones House belonging to the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela. Last but not least, the YRE group adopted two birds who were in recovery at CERVAS!
The articles written by the young reporters are published on the website in English and Portuguese.