I was kindly invited to give a talk and lead a walk focusing on the local wildlife for the Aljezur based “Into the Wild” outdoor education leadership course.
This was the second module of the course and was focused on the practical skills need to survive in the wilderness. When I got there they were starting fires and building structures to facilitate outdoor cooking. I was about to fit right in.
I ended up improvising in the talks and focused on how scientifically speaking (and not just spiritually) we are in fact one with Nature. I talk from the origin of the Universe to the meaning of the calls of the Long-tailed Tits around us.
The next morning, we woke up way before the first light and carefully listened to the dawn chorus. Robins started, and a timid Nightingale was still practicing his song. We asked deeper into the countryside and found Wrens, Sardinian Warblers, Blue, Great and Lon-tailed Tits, and managed to take a good look at a pair of busy Rock Buntings.
In the meanwhile, we were paying attention at wildflowers like the little orchid Serapias parviflora, and sharing experiences about the medicinal uses of lichens and herbs.
Meeting so many people focused on the practical knowledge of Nature was a wonderful experience for a more theoretical science guy like me who grew up in the big city. I have to say I know very little about edible and medicinal plants or uses for different types of wood.
Also it as an amazing opportunity to meet very interesting people who made Aljezur their home, whose faces I know for a very long time, but never had the chance to get to know.