The young photographer João Ferreira had the opportunity to be with Susana Silvestre and Ricardo Ferreira during their photo mission. Know more about his experience in a first-person narrative!
by João Ferreira
For two days I had the opportunity to get to know the land, the people and the projects of the Greater Côa Valley.
Being from the countryside, in Portugal, means many times falling into oblivion, abandonment and ostracization, but the rewilding initiative wants to change this narrative. Nature conservation and the concept of creating economic value are usually on opposite and even antagonistic sides of the barricade. Economic development, job creation, investment opportunities…. Is this compatible with natural values, species conservation, traditions? Rewilding Portugal says yes and, after two days of seeing the project and how it works and the objectives it intends to achieve, in the photographic mission with Susana Silvestre and Ricardo Ferreira (@bluenomads), I also say yes.
Young people who knew how to see the greater value that these lands have, turned weakness into a shield, and are fighting their battles with it. The natural, rural, agricultural and cultural heritage of this region is enormous, it can generate several business opportunities, a niche business perhaps, but also because of this added value. Tourists will not come in large numbers or on a gigantic scale… But the tourists that will come will have purchasing power and want to reconnect with nature, in the quiet of a valley of oak trees, with an interest in the culture and biodiversity that surrounds them. Thousands of tons of food will not be sold in hypermarket chains in the region, but local commerce and specialty local stores will offer a quality and differentiated product and will also benefit from this posture and bet, with practices that respect and value the natura heritage. And nature, that one, can win with all this…. The path is difficult, but not impossible and the methodical way in which the effect of the Sorraias Horses on the landscape in Vale Carapito is being tested, for example, and its effect as large herbivores is expected to reduce the risk and intensity of forest fires, enhance the mosaic landscape, favour different species of flora and invertebrates…. Truly rewilding the area!
About the experience with Ricardo and Susana, I really enjoyed meeting them. They are memorable people and good photographers. We went to many places and what most impressed me was with any doubt Vale Carapito, Rewilding Portugal’s first property. There were not many opportunities to photograph wildlife, but I got excellent observations of several species during this experience.
It was a rewarding and enriching experience and for which I am very grateful to Rewilding Portugal and the Blue Nomads.