The 12th edition of the Observanatura nature tourism fair, which kicked off on October 28th and 29th, at Herdade de Mourisca, in Setúbal, promotes protected natural heritage as a space conducive to the development of specific activities.
Organized by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), in collaboration with the municipalities of Setúbal, Sines and Santiago do Cacém and with TroiaNatura, Observanatura, returning after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, is based on a new model organization of nature events in a wider territory, ranging from Setúbal to Santo André.
At the opening of the 12th edition, on Saturday, the event was highlighted as an example of combining efforts in territorial management and that, in the case of Setúbal, the promotion of natural spaces such as the Arrábida Natural Park and the Douro Natural Reserve Sado Estuary must be shared by several entities.
At Herdade da Mourisca it was possible to have a sample of this diversity, with bird watching activities, hiking, equestrian and boat tours, regional product markets, workshops and lectures.
The head of the Support Office for Sustainable Development and Environmental Emergency (GADSEA) of the City Council, Cristina Coelho, highlighted its importance for promoting Herdade da Mourisca, its natural heritage and experiences, as well as for strengthening partnership ties with the many associations and partners represented in it.
“Territory management can only be done through this combination of efforts”, he said, considering that the partnership with ICNF is “very happy”, as it reflects what can be done “when efforts, people, desires and interesting projects are combined ”, and promising a “very rich experience” for the weekend.
The regional director of the ICNF of Lisbon and Tagus Valley, Rui Pombo, highlighted that the promotion of spaces like Herdade da Mourisca is also done “in a shared way” and that the presence of stands from different associations “demonstrates the vitality that the protected areas have”, as well as, he said, the promotion they bring to the territory.
After highlighting the ICNF's intention to “work together with the municipalities, because they are the main driving force of these regions”, Rui Pombo noted that Observanatura has several actions throughout the week in Troia, aimed at schools within the scope of environmental education, and next weekend it will be present in Lagoa de Santo André, thus bringing together areas that have birdlife as a common added value.
The event included a fair with the participation of more than three dozen exhibitors linked to nature and entertainment tourism, associations and public bodies, as well as a local products market, with regional wines, sweets, oysters, olive oil, bakery and liquors.
On Saturday it was attended by around 500 people, a number that was slightly lower on Sunday, due to worsening weather conditions, but it still achieved its objectives in relation to the target audience, entities linked to nature tourism.
In parallel to the market, on Sunday, the “Dialogue between flavors and traditions” initiative took place, with pairing of wines and liqueurs and commented tastings of local products.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the contemplation of emblematic birds of the Sado Estuary, in an event that also included boat trips aboard the traditional vessel Mirasado and equestrian tours to get to know Herdade da Mourisca better, as well as observation of insects, bats and nocturnal butterflies and a visit to discover the flora and vegetation of the area.
For photography lovers, on Saturday there was an activity on technical aspects of the camera and nature photography, which included a photographic visit to the Biodiversity Station of the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal (IPS).
At the same time, a set of images about IPS biodiversity, by Diogo Oliveira and José Sousa, was on display, in an initiative combined with the lecture “Photography and Conservation”, by Diogo Oliveira, at Moinho de Maré da Mourisca.
On Sunday, there were bird ringing activities, organized by the ICNF, and bird observation at the fixed post next to Moinho de Maré, by SPEA – Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudos das Aves, while the initiative “Salicórnia, the green jewel of the Sado” introduced the Salina Greens project and promoted a guided tour of the estate's salt flats, concluded with a sarcocornia and vegetable salt tasting.
The start of the 12th edition of Observanatura also included a set of lectures with the participation of experts in the environment, biodiversity and nature tourism, also focusing, as in previous years, on educational workshops aimed at younger people, in the Kids Space Nature.
Observanatura continues this week in Troia and ends at the weekend, in Lagoa de Santo André.