• Sustainable Development

The Guardians of Nature on their new mission!

As promised, the Guardians of Nature were back with seed bombs and microplastic observations, on the 28th of September, at the BioRace Challenge in Estarreja.

© Helder Berenguer

The BioRace is an event where the participants are in touch with Nature, challenges, natural obstacles, a lot of mud and fun. The Guardians of Nature, unable to resist these words, took the opportunity to look for small apprentices because you can never have too many helping Nature.

The BioRace isn't your average race, its participants search challenges, and the Guardians came prepared with one extra activity. As an addition to the traditional and wanted seed bombs, there was a microplastic observation activity.

For those who aren't aware, "Semear o Futuro" aims to educate and awake in children a higher environmental awareness through practical approaches that lead us to put our hands on earth. As our new apprentices like to get their hands dirty, they decided to learn how to make seed bombs. "Seed bombs? What's that?" asked the children. With the good Guardians of Nature, there were no missing explanations: they're seed balls made out of a mixture of clay and soil (or substrate, as the scientists like to call it), with alfalfa, lavender, St. John's wort and clover seeds. Do you think this wasn't enough to convince the children? To help, and because the Guardians like to have fun, they decided to colour the seed bombs, and our little apprentices couldn't resist and accepted the challenge.

But why are they made like this? The clay protects the small seeds from adverse conditions and animals that could eat them, while the substrate helps keep the plant alive after germination by providing the necessary nutrients. Once thrown on the soil, on rainy days, the clay falls apart and the seeds germinate to form vegetation covers.

These new apprentices are rather curious and, as such, checked our other activity: Observation of Microplastics. This activity intends to show that pollution may be present even when we can't see it. This workshop awoke a higher interest and environmental awareness in both the little ones and the accompanying adults. Through a microscope, the tiny scientists examined several samples of sand and water and confirmed that, even though we can't see it, plastic is almost everywhere and can be carried over great lengths.

And that was how we ended a great day, with high spirits and apprentices with their hands dirty proudly passing the test. But this doesn't mean the mission is over. Be on the lookout because our Guardians are never far!

"Semear o Futuro" is part of Agora Aveiro's project "Plantar o Futuro". It's sponsored by Sementes de Portugal, who donated the seeds, and Argex, through the supply of clay. It also has the support of the Municipality of Aveiro, IPDJ - Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude, I.P. and Programa Voluntariado Jovem para a Natureza e Florestas.

Maria Bessa

29-09-2019