Volunteering day in Berria with the aim of NACAR project. Event date: 12/06/2015

Dune restoration by removing waste, invasive plants and by planting sea daffodils on the Berria beach (SCI Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Marshes)


Image of the group of participants on the volunteering day

After being forced to rain off the activity set for 15th May, this time inmates and technicians from the El Dueso Penitentiary Centre participated in the start of the volunteering activities within the Life+ARCOS programme, also giving continuity to the NACAR Programme (Nature and Prison) that has involved environmental volunteering work since 2009 on the Berria beach dune system.


Area of action

The Nature Conservation Expert from the Directorate General of Forestry and Conservation from the Government of Cantabria and two trainees (Technical Forestry Engineers) explained the Life+ARCOS programme, whose main aim is to restore dune systems on different points along the Cantabrian coast. They gave them notions about the Protected Natural Space, the problematic issue of invasive species, planting bulbs, giving their full support at all times for hands-on implementation.

The first action that was carried out was collecting waste and removing specimens from the entire ragweed population (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) along the tertiary dune area on the Berria beach, using careful manual removal techniques to avoid new shoots from forming in the future from the stoloniferous rhizomes. Some 30 young specimens of another invasive species were found in the same area: Adam’s needle (Yucca gloriosa), which were also removed, excavating the sand so as to remove its roots.


Yucca gloriosa

Next, almost 100 sea daffodils were replanted (Pancratium maritimum) in the areas cleared of the ragweed. The sea daffodil bulbs used had been kept since March in the nursery of the El Dueso Penitentiary Centre Gardening Workshop, as part of another activity carried out by inmates involving collecting the bulbs from the same dune system where they had been displaced by winter storms.


Ambrosia artemisiifolia

The second activity was carried out on the middle zone of the dune system, in front of the Juan de la Cosa Hotel, also on the Berria beach tertiary dune. First the small stones and rubble piled on the sand were sieved out, so as to remove the largest materials. Next, the sea daffodil bulbs were replanted.

Plantación de bulbos de azucena marina

Plantación de bulbos de azucena marina


The objectives of this day to improve the dune system habitats and to raise environmental awareness have been successfully achieved. The area worked on directly, in total comprised some 1,500 m2 of tertiary dune.

At the end of the day, the inmates received a Life+ARCOS project t-shirt and they were enthusiastic about having the opportunity to have collaborated in this environmental activity.

As well as various workshops, the El Dueso Penitentiary Centre also has a Radio channel that broadcasts the most important events in which the inmates participate. After the day of volunteering, one of the participants broadcast on the El Dueso Radio Programme in the local area of Santoña, about the activities carried out, including details about the plant species that they had been working on.

Voluntarios durante los trabajos de restauración de la duna terciaria de Berria

Volunteers during the Berria tertiary dune restoration works

We hope to carry out a new activity from the LIFE+ARCOS soon, in collaboration with the NACAR Programme (Nature and Prison)!


Berria, NACAR, Volunteering

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