The short-term volunteers help with the reforestation activities at the Ecological Park of Funchal on the 4th of February 2017.
Emanuel’s eyes sparkle when he tells me about plants. He has been planting endemic and indigenous species at the ecological park since 1996 and especially since the 2010/2016 wildfires this task is crucial for the recovery of Madeira’s natural habitat. Emanuel is excited to show me the plants that were the first to be planted in this part of the ecological park, which he calls the “pioneer” plants. These pioneers will not grow as well as the plants we are planting today, because, as Emanuel explains to me, “they had to do it all on their own and did not have other plants to show them the way.” Indeed, plants also need the previous generations to protect the youngsters from the hard winds in life. And in that respect plants may not be fundamentally different from humans – after all, every new generation of both plants and humans grows a bit taller and has access to more vitamins than their parents and grandparents. Emanuel hopes that this resemblance to humans will motivate us to care about plants a bit more. His concern for plants is certainly contagious: all the volunteers are shoveling away to give the new generation of plants a better life. One their parents had hoped for.