Click onto the highlighted words above to read more about these potentially harmful issues that have been covered in Menorca-Live during 2013.
Save Menorca campaign
Many people are now aware of the enormous campaigns to stop the controversial building of eight double-decker roundabouts between Mahón and Ciutadella. Whilst it is recognised that improvements to the main road are essential, forums have identified that this extensive work will not achieve significant time or safety benefits but cause huge environmental damage, destroying so much of what makes Menorca so precious. Alternative plans that are better environmentally and economically have been proposed, but GOB requires the help of everyone who cares about conserving Menorca’s future to maintain pressure on the politicians so that this needless destruction in the name of economic progress is stopped.
GOB has just launched the SaveMenorca campaign, aimed specifically at those who have a connection with the island and want to help safeguard its future, but may not live here permanently. Through SaveMenorca, donations are being received that will go directly towards opposing this potentially disastrous transport scheme (distribution of thousands of leaflets to tourists and visitors, billboards, newspaper ads, legal advice etc), involving disruptions along 40km of road and countryside, and hundreds of complaints are being gathered and sent to the Consell Insular’s Tourism Office.
You can register your disapproval or make a donation via the GOB website or by clicking here for direct link. Scroll down to the English version and select either ‘Making a donation’ or ‘Sending a request’ which gives more information and will explain what do. From the GOB website you will find the English translation hard to understand unless you disable the automatic translation and access SaveMenorca from the original Catalan text.
Ongoing conservation projects
However, GOB’s work is not just about campaigning against environmental threats from outside forces, two other on-going projects dedicated to the conservation of the island and its nature are the Es Viver Garden Centre and the Wildlife Recuperation Centre Es Viver Garden Centre: As part of its efforts to warn against water wastage, both in theshort term and long term, GOB supports ecological farming and gives guidance on sustainable and economically viable farming. It also advises on gardening using indigenous plants which need little watering rather than exotic plants that require substantial water. You can visit Es Viver, the GOB garden centre where Ignasi Bau gives advice on successful gardening using plants which require little watering. He will also tell you how to make a reed bed which not only looks lovely but also purifies household water for garden usage. The nursery garden supplies autochthonous plants, (plants which originate from Menorca and which require little watering) and also compost. Es Viver sources seeds locally which are certified ecological, advises on products for natural treatment of garden pests, will even visit your garden to discuss any problems, and aims to consider gardens as a means of supporting biodiversity. In addition, the centre offers training to professionals, amateurs and school children and gardening courses are run several times a year.
Es Viver is near Mestral and can be found on the road towards the airport from the Mahón / Ciutadella road. It is open on Friday and Saturday mornings from 10.00 to 13.00 hours.
Wildlife Recuperation Centre: In 1996, the Lithica Quarries Foundation allocated an area in what is known as the Holm Oak Quarry for a Wildlife Recuperation Centre at the quarries, near Ciutadella. Since opening in 1998, the wildlife Centre has cared for over 13,500 animals and only survives because of its dedicated volunteers. Surgical work is given free but medication has to be paid for. Despite the lack of government support, funding problems cannot allow the service to end since without it animals will die. GOB has therefore devised a scheme whereby people can donate €50 a year to sponsor a square metre of the Centre for a year, but more sponsors are desperately needed to help GOB in their vital work caring for injured animals, studying wildlife and conserving species which might otherwise become extinct.
This year, the Wildlife Centre was opened to the public for the first time in July and August 2013. This enabled GOB to explain the problems caused by accidents to wild animals and for visitors to see first hand how they are cared for until their release into the wild, as well as understand the importance of the sanctuary and need for resources to maintain it and allow it to achieve its objectives. This initiative has been so successful that opportunity to visit the Wildlife Centre has been extended throughout September 2013.
Access is from the main Lithica Quarries, near Ciutadella, and is free to children under ten years old, €6 for adults, €3 for over 65s and for patrons with identification, entry is free. Opening Times: Until 14 September: 17.30 to 20.30 hrs and from 16 to 30 September: 17.00 to 20.00 hrs, Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday).
How you can help…
GOB, which stands for ‘Grup Balear d’Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa’, is always desperate for funds to support and maintain its various projects and relies on its membership of about 1,200 people and on the generous help of dedicated volunteers. Volunteers are always needed and expertise in specialist areas such as publicity, translating, caring for wild animals, gardening, or helping on farms is very much appreciated. By becoming a member or helping by volunteering or with a donation, you are contributing to preserve Menorca for future generations and sustain its special place as a Reserve of the Biosphere. To find out more, you can visit GOB’s offices in the restored windmill at Molí del Rey, 53 Camí de Es Castell in Mahón, or by telephone on: + 34 971 350 762. You can also send a donation by bank transfer (details on the website).
For more information about GOB and all the projects it undertakes, visit the website at: www.gobmenorca.com.
With thanks to GOB volunteer Chita Laurie for her assistance with this article. Photographs courtesy of GOB.