Archive for April 19th, 2013

Workshop in Tarragona, Spain

After visiting the project’s collaboration partners in Granada, Ana crossed half of the country to arrive to her hometown, Tarragona, where she did the salamander workshop in her old school. It was an absolutely great experience. Two groups participated in the project , from the fourth grade. They were a total of 50 children (9-10 years old). They welcomed Ana with open arms. The blackboard was completely covered with a welcome message, many salamanders, flowers, …very funny.

To start with, they interviewed her during half an hour. They posed the questions in pairs. Some oft hem were quite difficult: Could someone say which colours do salamanders see :-) ? The content will be “published” on the blog of the school. At the end of the interview they presented Ana with a poem dedicated to a salamander by a famous catalan writer, Josep Carner. They also gave her a book belonging to a collection about threatened species. Its title was of course „La salamandra, especie en perill“.

After the interview, Ana gave a talk, which was highly interactive. She was very nicely surprised, they knew so much. The most outstanding fact for her was their interest and enthusiasm about the Austrian salamander (alpine salamander). She had expected little or no interest at all about a species which doesn’t live in Spain, and was on the brink of only mentioning it very quickly. Fortunately she explained everything about the little black, shiny amphibian.

At that point the children had been nearly 2 hours concentrating. There was the midmorning break, and afterwards they went with the workshops until lunchtime. They enjoyed very much modelling salamnders with plastillin, and learning how to register a salamander viewing on our website The teachers showed Ana many tempera drawings they had been doing in the handicraft lesson and will be exhibited for the parents on the Cultural Week.

The following day they went tot he countryside to look for adult salamanders or larvae. The weather was definitely not the right one: sunny and 25°C.

Some of the children showed Ana proudly the latex gloves bought the afternoon before with their mums, just in case they would see a salamander (I which proves they had been very attentive to the talk, where emphasis was made on not picking amphibians with bare hands!).

Still, they saw other amphibians and reptiles on the valley of the river Brugent, 40 minutes away from Tarragona city. The two biologists who accompanied the group, gave very interesting explanations about the ecosystems, the different species living there and how we all must be respectful to Nature and the Environment. They searched for larvae in the river, with the obvious result that, after 5 minutes, 90% of the children were completely wet, which really didn’t matter by such weather.

There were no salamander larvae to be seen, but many dragonfly and other insect larvae. Very sweet was their eagerness for getting a stick, as big as possible, to help themselves on difficult stretches. A sweet peculiarity of the Spanish children ☺ and folk, which Ana loved.

At 5 pm, tired and happy , they were back at the school. Everybody thanked her and hugged her and said they were proud to participate in this beautiful Austrian project. The girls made a necklace for Ana that is much worth. Children and teachers send the Austrian team and schools their best wishes!

Here is a short movie about Ana´s project trip to our spanish partners and schools! :-)

Meeting of the Spanish team in Granada

Sparkling Science „Alpensalamander Project“ in Spain
Last week Ana met the Salamander project collaboration partners in Granada. Juan Ramón(biologist), Esther( pedagogue ), Javier (president oft he „Asociación herpetológica granadina“) and Sara (lecturer at the faculty of Arts), welcomed her in their beautiful land and showed her some of the basins the Sierra de Loja. This year the countriside is brimming with water and green grass everywhere. They could admire the common spade toad, many sharp ribbed newts, and other species (partridges and little owls).

They also had a couple of meetings to discuss the work to be done at the schools. The spanish members of the project will have a similar task to ours in Austria.They will talk to children in different schools about salamanders and other amphibians which are threatened and about conservation measures. They will also do an excursion with the children when possible in order to see adult salamanders (quite unlikely due to the season) and/or salamander larvae in clean waterways. Many creative ideas were proposed and everybody is looking forward to starting with the practical work.