The Life Volunteers on the start of their Rota Vicentina's project

Leonor Pires came from Beja, Francisco Sousa, from Almeirim, and Rafael Pacheco arrived from Setúbal. Although they come from different areas, in common they have the love of nature and its preservation.


The three are part of the LIFE VOLUNTEER ESCAPES (Volunteer with the European Solidarity Corps for Activities in Portugal with Ecological Sense) initiative which, between 2019 and 2020, will bring eight volunteers to Rota Vicentina, a team managed by Irene Nunes, responsible for the RV Volunteering area.

This year, Leonor, Francisco and Rafael were the selected ones and, until March, they will have three objectives: promote actions to control invasive species in places with habitats of Community importance (Natura 2000 network), maintenance of Rota Vicentina’s trails and environmental awareness actions. So far, the three youngsters, aged 23-26, are enjoying the new challenge and confess having applied for this project for appreciating the region and wanting to contribute to its preservation. Rafael studied marine biology in the Algarve, but both Leonor and Francisco graduated in Landscape Architecture and admit to seek, during these three months, a greater orientation for their future career path.  In 2020, five volunteers will be selected, thus prefiguring the eight of this project.

The project LIFE VOLUNTEER ESCAPES (Volunteer with the European Solidarity Corps for Activities in Portugal with Ecological Sense), supported by the Program for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE), started on January 1st, 2018 and will last for 3 years. It is expected to support and mobilize about 200 volunteers, ranging from 18 to 30 years of age, for periods of 3 months up to 1 year, to be involved in activities of nature conservation, biodiversity and environmental protection, covering Portugal’s mainland and the autonomous regions of Azores ad Madeira.

Coordinated by MONTIS – Nature Conservation Association, the project partners with Rota Vicentina Association, as well as with BCSD (Business Council for Sustainable Development) Portugal, Playsolutions, the Algarve Services of APA (the Portuguese Environmental agency), the Municipality of Torres Vedras, the organization “Plantar uma Árvore”, the Portuguese Society for Bird Studies (SPEA), and MARCA – Local Development Association. It also receives co-financing by the Municipalities of Montemor-o-Novo and Vila Pouca de Aguiar for activities to be developed in those territories.