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SÃO MIGUEL | Alonso Miguel marks National Day of Nature Watchers and World Wetlands Day

© Governo dos Açores
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The Regional Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change, Alonso Miguel, visited the Furnas Monitoring and Research Centre and met with the Nature Watchers of São Miguel Island, marking the National Day of Nature Watchers.

Alonso Miguel stressed “the importance of the work carried out by these professionals,” recognising the importance of their “daily work at the forefront of environmental defence on each island.”

According to the government official, “Nature Watchers play a fundamental role in the monitoring, conservation and protection of nature and biodiversity as well as in the environmental education and awareness of the community.”

The Regional Secretary also stressed that “the hiring of another 12 members to the Nature Watchers team in the Region, as recently announced, will further boost their capacity to monitor and protect the important natural heritage” of the Azores.

On the occasion, marking the date, the Regional Secretary delivered a recently acquired drone to the São Miguel Island Environment and Climate Change Services, which will be available to the Nature Watchers Team; an inaugural demonstration flight took place at the event. Alonso Miguel said that, “besides this one, eight more drones have been delivered, one for each island, representing an investment of around 62 thousand Euros.”

“This device will improve efficiency in carrying out surveillance and monitoring actions, especially in places of difficult access. It will also make it possible, with precision technology, to collect high-quality images and videos, capable of generating three-dimensional and orthomosaic models, thus monitoring changes that may occur in our natural territory,” said Alonso Miguel.

Also marking the World Wetlands Day, the government official stressed that there are “13 wetlands of international importance in the Azores. They are the richest and most productive ecosystems in the world, in terms of biological diversity, with water as a structuring element.”

“The conservation of wetlands is crucial, not only to ensure the balance and viability of ecosystems, but also to address climate change, as they represent important natural water reservoirs,” added Alonso Miguel.

In this context, the Regional Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change promoted the planting of several endemic species with the Nature Watchers on the shore of Furnas Crater Lake, which is one of the RAMSAR sites on the island of São Miguel.

Each participant planted an endemic or native flora specimen, namely Azorean Heather (Erica azorica), Azorean laurustinus (Viburnum treleasei), Azorean Holly (Ilex perado azorica), Azores laurel cherry (Prunus azorica), Azorean laurel (Laurus azorica), Azores juniper (Juniperus brevifolia), Myrsine retusa, Azorean Buckthorn (Frangula azorica), Lactuca watsoniana and Luzula purpureo-splendens.

GRA/RÁDIOILHÉU

Mauricio De Jesus
Maurício de Jesus é o Diretor de Programação da Rádio Ilhéu, sediada na Ilha de São Jorge. É também autor da rubrica 'Cronicas da Ilha e de Um Ilhéu' que é emitida em rádios locais, regionais e da diáspora desde 2015.