Pasturs 2023

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This summer, as part of action C6.2, we tested the Pasturs project model in Trentino, at Malga Tuena. The main objectives of this action are twofold: the first is to offer shepherds and breeders who adopt preventive measures concrete help during the mountain pasture season. Managing the fences and guard dogs in fact implies an additional commitment in terms of time and effort. Volunteers go up to the mountain pastures to help shepherds and farmers with their daily activities reated to flock protection and alpine pasture management. The second objective of the action is to enable the exchange and meeting of different people who are, however, united by the desire to promote prevention measures. In this way, during the time spent together, volunteers and herders can share opinions, experiences and knowledge. Volunteers discover what life is like on the alpine pastures, what difficulties farmers and shepherds have to face, but also the satisfaction they derive from this work, and shepherds can confront themselves with people from other realities, often with a background complementary to their own. The manager of Malga Tuena was interviewed as part of action A3.7 and later said he was willing to take on volunteers. Since we are still in the trial phase, only one volunteer went up to the mountain pasture at the end of August. At Malga Tuena there are about 160 dairy goats, a few sheep, some donkeys and some cattle. Electrified fences and five Maremma shepherds from Abruzzo are used to protect the cattle. Malga Tuena was one of the first in the area to adopt these measures, which have proved effective in an area dense with predators. The farmer has established a relationship of great trust and mutual respect with his dogs, which have so far always proved up to their task. Shortly before the start of the volunteering period, the Eliante staff visited the malga and the breeder, to establish the final details and get to know better the reality that would host the volunteer. From 27 August to 4 September, a volunteer went up to the mountain pasture, and the experience was definitely positive for all parties involved! The farmer was very pleased to receive the volunteer.

“The day at the alpine pasture starts early, around 6 a.m., with the milking of the goats. The work takes about three hours. During the day, there are many activities: tidying and cleaning the barn, setting up the electrified protective nets and, in the case of Malga Tuena, also managing the dairy, the customers, the rooms and the farmhouse, and then finishing again with milking and a good hot dinner. During the day and night, the shepherd entrusts his animals to guard dogs, the Abruzzo Maremma shepherds, who watch over the flock, protecting them from danger. Before returning home, I was lucky enough to witness a wonderful surprise, the birth of a baby goat. Ivan and his staff are people with a big heart, they have become a second family to me. Returning to everyday life was difficult. I tried to put my whole self into every activity and received a lot in return. It was a wonderful experience and I recommend it to everyone.”

Given the positive outcome of the experience, more volunteers and more alpine pastures will be involved in 2024, in order to continue to support farmers taking preventive measures in the Alps.

If you are interested in volunteering please apply here.

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