In the high slopes of the Andorran Pyrenees, as in other mountain regions, climate change has already begun to alter the landscape. Some species are moving to higher latitudes, and some have begun to decline. The ways humans use the land also causes shifts in the natural order of things, but little research has been done on how people have impacted this particular place. Questions of how climate change and human encroachment continue to alter this alpine world need answers as local organizations work towards sustainable solutions.
While trekking through this striking landscape, you’ll be among the first to search for these answers. Not much is known about the amazing biodiversity of the forests and alpine meadows, and your team will help identify the key species in the ecosystem and how they are changing. You will weigh and measure small mammals, find boreal owls and other bird species by visiting their nest boxes and spotting them through binoculars. You will also study alpine flora, follow the growth of tree species, and detect bats. These tasks will help researchers find out how animals are faring, and how to best protect key species. Understanding the timing of such processes can help scientists learn if species’ life cycles are becoming out of sync with each other, which could have serious consequences for the health of this ecosystem.
Paul Stout | SEPTEMBER 30, 2019 ★★★★★
"Tremendous Treks and Tasks at the Treeline!"
This is simply an incredible project! Everything about it is amazing. It is the first project of its kind where I feel the field research team has assembled a comprehensive structure to gather data on the integrated web of life of an entire ecosystem, providing a baseline of data which can help us understand the interdependencies in a way that climate impacts can be more fully assessed. Plus, the field staff are such amazing people - vibrant, enthusiastic, committed, knowledgable, and with an unrestrained zeal not only for the work but also for working with volunteers. They were fabulous about making accommodations so that everyone could fully contribute based on their ability and interests. Like icing on the cake, the research sites themselves are distributed above, at, and just below the treeline at a dozen sites in the northern Andorran Pyrenees - which means lots of good exercise reaching them to gather data coupled with incredible views of those mountain peaks and valleys. The daily tasks are also very varied, which is great for a "shiny object" person like me. From capturing, tagging, and measuring small songbirds to collecting soil samples and buried tea bags (for decomposition rates) to measuring tree growth to maintaining nesting boxes to setting and collecting camera traps to setting and measuring small mammal traps, there is an abundance of activity to do every day. I definitely plan to come back and continue to help out with this amazing, valuable project.
Bindi Robertson | MAY 26, 2019 ★★★★★
"An amazing trip"
Such an amazing trip. Lots of stunning hiking around in the Alpine area. The researchers were always happy and helpful, very knowledgeable and hardworking. Nature is lucky to have them! Lots of fun stories were told over the lovely meals and tasty local wine. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am considering the winter trip.
Kelsey Kosten | JUNE 21, 2018 ★★★★★
"You'll never forget the Andorran Pyrenees!"
Andorra is a beautiful country. We hiked to different research sites and each one offered amazing views and landscapes. It was lovely to be able to spend time doing the research in these alpine environments, rather than just hiking to the top and then going down again. Bernat and his team were incredibly helpful and made the research engaging. Through studying nest boxes, mushrooms, camera traps, dendrometers, birds, and insect traps, there was an opportunity to try different types of activities and expand your knowledge. The researchers continually emphasized the importance of the project and made sure we understood how we were helping them! The accommodations were great! It was very comfortable and the pool was a nice way to relax. There was plenty of food and a nice variety of options. I also appreciated that the accommodations were so close to the research sites, after a long day of hiking it was nice to be able to get back in less than 15 minutes. Overall, it was an incredible experience!
Joanne Bleiler | OCTOBER 7, 2017 ★★★★★
"A powerful experience in a very unique place!"
Have you ever wanted to be a "real scientist"? This is your chance to do so in an absolutely stunning, and uniquely important, part of the world! You will understand the fragile ecosystems of the Pyrenees Mountains and what scientists are doing to learn more about how climate change and human encroachment is impacting this beautiful place. You will work with scientists who are amazing in the depth & breadth of their knowledge & skills, motivated & passionate about sharing with others, and effective in educating & training "citizen scientists." You will work with volunteers from different countries, each bringing something valuable to the experience. You will learn research techniques and use a variety of tools and strategies to collect data. You will understand and appreciate the level and intensity of the work scientists are doing on a daily basis. You will be armed with this powerful experience and knowledge and an intense motivation to bring it back to your own community and find ways to involve others in the conversation. You will be a "real scientist!"