Around twenty people came to the Mata forest, near Tavira, (including one family with two small children) to plant trees on Sunday, 26 November. Young people and some people with years behind them mingled and worked together on a warm morning and into the afternoon. Around seven nationalities were represented, including Portuguese, Italian, German, Belgium, Swiss, French and British. The focus was the land. The aim was to not only plant trees but to care for some of the existing trees and plants, by watering, mulching, pruning, and cleaning. The trees planted were native and have a good chance of survival in this landscape. They include Carob, Strawberry Tree (medronha), Pomegranate, and Oak.
The day was somewhat symbolic as six years earlier an embryonic, but enthusiastic Transition group started some activities in Tavira around that date. So some of the participants were reflective, present and forward-looking.
On arrival, a group of men were getting ready to play a game with guns and biodegradable pellets. After a brief and friendly discussion, they agreed to leave the area so trees could be planted in a peaceful environment. They posed for a photo and said to let them know when the next session will be and they will come and help plant trees.
The next session will be next Sunday 3 December at 10 am. The aim is to plant the remaining trees, approximately fifteen, but more can be brought to the Mata. It will be important to continue to water the planted trees even if it rains this week.
It is not easy to plant trees in a dusty rock filled sandy soil. The land responded well to a pick axe at first, and when the hole was big enough, water was poured into the space before planting, with the addition of some composted soil.
Some large acorns were planted and protected from wild boar. Plastic bottles were used to bring water to the Mata, but surprisingly, although very low and murky, there is still water in the lake. People joked about how rain could be encouraged as they blessed the newly planted trees.
Some large Acacia trees were showing the effect of very little water. Some smaller Acacia trees were removed so that the new trees will not have to compete for the precious life-giving water. A few of the larger Acacia trees are providing protection for the smaller newly introduced trees.
After a shared vegetarian lunch around 1:30-2:30 pm, the opportunity was taken to talk briefly from the heart about visioning. Some people shared their hopes for the Transition Movement in Tavira and this action at the Mata. It was also an opportunity for people to share what they are doing within the principles of the Transition Movement. It was inspiring to learn how people are caring for the land, visioning guerrilla planting, being part of a women’s group for animal welfare, playing music and making art.
For information about the Transition Movement http://www.transitionnetwork.org/about
Next session at the Mata is Sunday 3 December 2017 at 10am.
Co-ordinates for the Mata 37°10’42.5″N 7°36’09.0″W