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Aiguamolls l’Emporda

Aiguamolls l’Emporda

About 5000 hectares in North Eastern Catalonia, Spain; there are freshwater marshes, saltwater marshes, rivers, riparian forests, agricultural fields, rice fields, beaches, etc. We manage for Mediterranean waterfowl, white stork, purple gallinule, herons, bittern, shorebirds, wintering ducks, roller, otter, etc.

Funding support: Catalan Government, Department of Land and Sustainability

Number of staff: 10

Number of visitors per year: 248,000

Overall aims of the centre

Management of Aiguamolls Wetland, running out the Educational and Information Center

Description of the centre

About 5000 hectares in North Eastern Catalonia, Spain; there are freshwater marshes, saltwater marshes, rivers, riparian forests, agricultural fields, rice fields, beaches, etc. We manage for Mediterranean waterfowl, white stork, purple gallinule, herons, bittern, shorebirds, wintering ducks, roller, otter, etc.

We do educational programs (summer and schools the rest of the year), visits, etc. We have about 200,000 visitors a year.  The Information Center has diferent aims, all of them for communication to visitors, educational programs, etc. (webcam, panels, digital information on monitors, etc.)

Main CEPA work areas

In Aiguamolls Park we deliver an annual programme of  educational activities, similar to what is laid out below.

Winter:

  • ‘Festival of music and nature’ with students from music schools based in towns within a radius of 30km.
  • World Wetlands Day. A weekend full of talks and activities around the values of wetlands.

Spring:

  • Environmental education with the schools in the catchment area of the park.
  • Guided visits every weekend, on foot, on bicycle and in a small train, in country trails (the train is actually a tractor with two trailers behind it for visitors, including a sound system for the guide to communicate to them as they pass through the park).
  • Camping (we have a zone for camping for groups of young people in the park) and ‘casals’ (activities in nature during free time over three or more days, but without sleeping at the park).
  • Voluntary activities for young people, adults or families.
  • Spring festival with multiple activities during the weekend: yoga, drawing, music, nature workshops, release of animals and birds into the wild that have been rescued and rehabilitated in the park. Also popular food with ‘KM cero’ products.
  • Environment week with themes activities of exhibitions, talks and nature exploration. Also ‘Anem a pagès’, visits to ecological  farms that exist in the park. 
  • International days including: water, noise, European natural parks, environment, migratory fish and the World Migratory Birds Day on the 11th of May.

Summer:

  • Guided visits at dawn for the general public.
  • Sunset guided visits.
  • Astronomical observation sessions during dark nights (low moonlight).
  • Scout camps every 10 to 15 days, work camps for young people lasting for two weeks.

Autumn:

  • Environmental education with schools from around the park
  • Guided visits every weekend on foot, by bicycle or by small ‘train’ on the country routes.
  • International bird day
  • Festival of birds in the first week of November. From four to six days with a wide variety of activities around the biodiversity of the park, mainly related to birds. Exhibitions, workshops, guided visits, talks…

Top three successes

The environmental education project offers a free specific educational proposal for the local population, we would say with magnificent results, given that the young age of the park (5 years).  Up until the moment of entering to the university (18 yerars), the students learn about habitats and species.  This has resulted in young people around the park that know their natural environment.

Every spring and autumn, with the other natural parks from the region, we offer a variety of free guided visits, these are carried out on Sundays morning and attract a great number of the public.

The “Bird Festival” is a much anticipated activity in the region.  Over two or three days the park offers many free activities to introduce the world of the birds to general public.  This year will be the 18th festival to be held.

Top three challenges

We have a lot to learn from the other natural spaces that are working much better than we are, and particular areas for improvement are:

Activities addressed to a public with some disability, meaning that it’s necessary to have all services that we offer totally adapted to the visitor.

To offer more extensive information about protected spaces and their importance at world-wide level

To convey the importance of the marsh, it is necessary to provide more informative and documentation resources so that the visitor can be expert of the significance of their protection.

Interpretation techniques

Creating signage; producing written materials; creating nature trails

Visitor centres

Setting up a new visitor centre; running a visitor centre; managing / creating habitat; building / maintaining structures

Participation

Working with disabled people; engaging young people; working with volunteers

Education and communication

Early years education; working with primary schools; working with secondary schools; delivering adult education; developing resources and materials.

Josep Espigulé
jespigule@gencat.cat
+34 607 49 77 80

Rosa Llinàs Viola 
rllinas@gencat.cat
+34 972 45 42 22

Web: parcsnaturals.gencat.cat/ca/aiguamolls-emporda
Web: aiguamollsdelemporda.cat
Facebook:  PNAiguamollsEmporda

The WLI network is endorsed by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and coordinated by WWT.

Contact

Wetland Link International
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT, UK
T: +44 (0) 1453 891214
E: info@wli.org.uk Twitter: @wetlandlink