Chronicle #1: Celebrating Natura 2000 day. Removing capeweed plants from Berria (Santoña)

Volunteering for the NACAR (Nature and Prison) program in the LIFE ARCOS project

We celebrated European Natura 2000 Network day on 17 May 2018, with a new volunteer event with the Nature and Prison program (NACAR) in coordination with the LIFE ARCOS Project from the Directorate-General of Natural Environment of the Regional Ministry of Rural Affairs, Fisheries and Food of the Government of Cantabria.

The activity started at the tertiary dune of Berria beach’s dune system.

Natural park director, Lourdes González, briefly introduced the LIFE ARCOS project, the NATURA 2000 NETWORK, the importance of dune ecosystems and how they protect themselves from winter storms, the distribution of dune species in areas and how they are affected by invasive exotic species.  The LIFE ARCOS sign at Berria beached was used to answer attendees’ questions.

Beginning of the NACAR volunteer activity at Berria beach

The team got to work after listening to an explanation on how to recognize the cape weeds and how to extract it.  The invasive exotic species was everywhere around the boardwalk parallel to the beach. Volunteers focused on this area.

They collected around 130 kg of cape weeds (Arctotheca calendula) and 1 kg of non-biodegradable garbage.  The participants learned to distinguish the characteristics of the cape weeds among other well-preserved and blooming dune plant species such as the sea potato, sea beet, Virginia stock, sea daffodil, bindweed, houseleeks, petty spurge, etc.

During break and in the work area, we explained why the dunes were closed by the LIFE ARCOS project. José Luís Tejerina from Demarcation of Coasts in Cantabria visited the site and assessed the work being done.

Extraction of cape weeds from the Berria dunes

Finally, the Cantabrian Network for Rural Development collected all the plants and garbage.

The participants received a commemorative LIFE ARCOS t-shirt.

The Directorate-General of Natural Environment thanked NACAR for participating to conserve and restore the dunes of Cantabria’s beaches.

NACAR team on Berria beach (Santoña)

Berria, Cantabria, NACAR, Natura 2000 Network Day, Santoña

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