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1 LEARNING ENGLISH: A WALK IN DOÑANA PARK ESCUELA OFICIAL DE IDIOMAS DE JEREZ (CÁDIZ-SPAIN) GRUNDTVIG PROJECT WORKING LANGUAGES FOR EUROPEAN ENCOUNTERS COURSE 2010/2011

2 Dear readers, This year the Official Language School in Jerez is coordinating a Grundtvig European Project called Working languages for European Encounters. One of the programmed activities has been the visit to Doñana National Park. This nature reserve is one of the working sectors in our area related to the environment that requires specific knowledge of the English language. The students taking part in this language activity have an upper intermediate level of English. Before visiting the park they learned specific vocabulary by reading texts about Doñana National Park. They learned how to write a story and an opinion composition too. During the visit they had the chance to learn more things about Doñana first hand. Afterwards, they wrote different kinds of compositions. Some of them chose to write an account of their school trip. One of them suggested educational activities for his students. Others conveyed an idyllic view of the park while others expressed a more critical point of view and focussed on environmental issues instead. Apart from the learning experience, the students and the teachers benefited from the social occasion as well. This activity was also aimed at encouraging the integration of relatives and friends in our school life. Many students, relatives and friends took part in the visit and I must say that it was very successful and in high demand. We enjoyed ourselves in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere so English became a walk in the park for us. I would like to thank my students, their relatives and friends for their involvement in this activity and congratulate them on their work. I would also like to say that they wrote these compositions thinking of the students from Turkey and Sweden so we want to dedicate this work to them. I hope everybody will enjoy reading these compositions. you: To finish with, I want to share the following slogan with all of When in Doñana National Park using English is like second nature to us. Pilar Franco Naranjo Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Jerez, Cádiz-Spain. 1

3 INDEX A school trip to Doñana National Park...3 A visit to Doñana National Park...5 Doñana, paradise exists..7 Going to Doñana National Park...9 Idyllic Doñana 10 Storks in Doñana 11 Straberry farms in Doñana 12 A call for help 13 Environmental risks.14 Indiana Jones in Doñana.15 2

4 A SCHOOL TRIP TO DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK Last Saturday morning I went to Doñana Natural Park with some friends, and the teacher from the Foreign Language School, as well as with my boyfriend. We got up at 7.30 in the morning to be able to prepare some food and drive from Jerez to Sanlucar de Barrameda, where we had to meet the whole group at While we were driving, we were thinking that the weather wouldn t be good enough, but eventually, it got better, we didn t have too much sun but the weather was really nice. We got into the boat at o clock`, I introduced my boyfriend to all the people I knew and we started talking, I also met Margarita s family and we were chatting and looking how Sanlucar was disappearing little by little and how we were arriving to the forest. The first stop was in a nice forest where there were lots of cottages. No one lives there now except some families that have inherited them from their relatives and go there just for vacation or for 2 days. It is normal, taking into account that they can t buy anything there because it is a protected natural space. This is a photo from the cottage. The cottage is made of wood and junk. After that, we continued walking by the pines forest and we could see a pair of deer. I had never seen a deer before and I was very happy. While the rest of the people were walking back to the boat I took a photo of a flower that was very nice. Look!! Do you like it? 3

5 We could also see some birds of prey; could you distinguish which one is this? I can t. It could be an eagle, but I m not really sure. After a while enjoying the nature, we took the boat again and went to the marshlands to see the flamingos, and we also saw some wild horses and wild cows there. Scientist say that the flamingos will go every day from Malaga to Sanlucar to breed themselves and then return to Malaga to look after their eggs (that are safer from predators there). Finally, we went back in a slow and peaceful way; we chatted and enjoyed ourselves a lot. But the story didn t finish here because my boyfriend and me had lunch in Sanlucar that was full of motor bikers due to the Jerez International Motorbike Championship. So it was a fantastic day for me. Soledad Cuenca. 4ºA EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco 4

6 A VISIT TO DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK ACTIVITIES FOR PUPILS OF THE THIRD CYCLE OF PRIMARY OR FIRST CYCLE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL: BEFORE THE VISIT: 1. To locate in the map of Spain the situation of Doñana National Park. 2. To draw the limits of the Natural Reserve and to write the names of the villages and towns that surround it. 3. To colour the rivers, dunes and seas. 4. To look for information about the climatology of the zone, rains, temperatures, seasonal changes, etc. 5. To investigate how the climatology of the zone influences the ecosystems of the park. 6. To locate the different ecosystems in the Nature Reserve and to describe the characteristics of each one. 7. To make a list of the different species of animals and plants that live the park of a permanent way. 8. To make a list of migratory birds that use the park as place to stop or for reproduction purposes. 9. To do a study on the different food relationships in the zone: producer/primary consumer/secondary consumer/predator. 10. To do a detailed study of one of the species of animals or plants that live in the area. Give a detailed account of all its characteristic and adaptations to living in the Park. DURING THE VISIT: 1. Follow the rules and indications of your teachers and guides of the Park. 2. Ask everything you ignore or you would like to know. 3. Do not separate from the group. 4. Take notes in your notebook of the things that you found more interesting 5. Make drawings in your notebook of some of the species of animals and plants that you have liked the most. 6. Have a good time and enjoy yourself, but respect nature. 5

7 AFTER THE VISIT: Make a detailed report on your experience during the visit. Indicate the most interesting things that you found, the new things that you have learned and what things had surprised you the most. According to your previous study, indicate the differences between what you expected to find before the visit and what it was really like. You can find additional information in the following web pages: Juan Luís Montero Fernández 4ºB EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco. 6

8 DOÑANA, PARADISE EXISTS. Last week I went to Doñana National Park and I was surprised at its amazing landscapes, sand dunes, forest and marshes, without forgetting its marvellous fauna and vegetation. Doñana is one of Europe's most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds. It is an immense area; the park itself and surrounding natural park or Entorno de Doñana (a protected buffer zone) amount to over 1,300 sq km in the provinces of Huelva, Sevilla and Cádiz. It is internationally recognised for its great ecological wealth. Doñana has become a key centre in the world of conservationism. DOÑANA, PARAD The effect of this extraordinary ecosystem of land and water was to create an environment shunned by people but ideal for wildlife. As early as the thirteenth century, the kings of Castile set aside a portion of the Doñana as a royal hunting estate; later the dukes of Medina Sidonia made it their private preserve too. One of the duchesses of Medina Sidonia, Doná Ana de Silva y Mendoza, indulged her antisocial instincts by building a residence there that was more hermitage than palace. As a result, the entire region came to be known as the 'forest of Doná Ana', or Doñana. In the eighteenth century, Goya is known to have visited the Duchess of Alba at the Palacio de Doñana when she was its owner. Subsequently, the land passed through many hands before the official creation of the National Park in The configuration of the Doñana National Park is a result of its past as the delta of the Guadalquivir river, the 'big river', or Wada-I-Kebir, of the Moors. There are three main ecosystems in Doñana: Marshland, sand dunes and forest. There are four main types of vegetation: marshland/aquatic, salt-tolerant, open forest and heath land. The marsh vegetation depends on the degree of soil salinity and the duration of flooding (Moore et al., 1982). The heath land vegetation varies with the availability of water. 7

9 The cycle of the sand dunes starts on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. The sea currents (probably affected by the construction of harbours and piers in the province) are today changing Doñana s coastline. Doñana is well known for its enormous variety of bird species, permanent residents, winter visitors from north and central Europe or summer visitors from Africa, like its numerous types of geese and colourful colonies of flamingo. It has one of the world's largest colonies of Spanish Imperial Eagles. Doñana is a birdwatcher's paradise and attracts ornithologists throughout the year. The best time of the year, however, is during the spring, as this is when you can see many wintering species, together with those arriving for the summer months. The forest grows in the interdune spaces, locally called corrales, and the areas of stabilized old sands. In the forest there are animals such as wild boar, red deer or Spanish lynx, one of the most emblematic species in the park. In the pine forests of Marismillas we have occasion to visit El poblado de la Plancha, by the river Guadalquivir and we can understand how the former charcoal burners lived in huts made of wood and pine branches. Several wooden walkways link these huts. In 2011, an archeological team proposed that the lost city of Atlantis was once located in what are now the swamps of the Doñana National Park having been destroyed by a tsunami. Whether true or not, in my view, Donaña is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places I have ever seen. José Manuel Román Ramírez 4º C. EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco 8

10 GOING TO DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK The second of March 2011 we went to Doñana National Park. It was a visit that we had to do with our Language School, Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz (España), and was prepared by our teacher of English, Pilar Franco. At the beginning we had a file about Doñana made by her, where we found some information about ecosystems, flora and fauna, and so on, which you can see in this direction: That day we arrived in the city of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, door of Doñana, about nine o clock in the morning and we went to the centre called the Ice Factory, which is a visitors centre of interpretation of the nature that we can see in the National Park of Doñana. There we could see an exhibition about the animals, plants, river, and everything related to the life in the Park. There are also some videos about the discovery of America in 1492 by Cristobal Colón, because he departed to America from Sanlúcar in his 3th journey. Focusing on our journey we have to say that it lasted about 3 hours and we initially boarded the Real Fernando, the boat that took us across the river. From this boat we could see a lot interesting thinks like trees, sand dunes, vetas, flamingos, wild horses, and marshes. Firstly, we left the city of Sanlúcar on the right and we went into the river, with the Atlantic Ocean facing our backs, and we could see the National Park opposite us. It was a marvellous view, however it wouldn t be the only one; the whole trip would be fantastic. Secondly, when we were in the middle of the river we saw some birds, protected by the laws, and there were a lot of pines, so we immediately knew that we were in the ecosystem of the forests. Here we visited the cottage of La Plancha, where some people lived until 1970 more or less, but today only two families live there in very bad conditions because the houses don t have electricity or water. After that, we navigated towards the marshland. During the journey we could see some wild horses, flamingos, sand dunes and some birds, strange birds which we hadn t seen before. Finally we arrived at the marshland were we saw some cows, the birds which live in this ecosystem and some areas that used to have salt. In general we had a good time this day, we learnt a lot about our culture, history, flora and fauna. We also want to share this experience with our friends and our Swedish and Turkish partners in the Grundtvig project, so we have made a video that we have placed on internet: We hope you will enjoy it. José García García. 4º A. EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco 9

11 Doñana, an idyllic place Doñana National Park is one of Europe's most important wetland reserves and a major site for migration birds. It's situated in the south of Spain, in the region of Andalusia, in the provinces of Huelva and Cádiz. Doñana is well known for its enormous variety of bird species, geese and colorful colonies of flamingos. It is a very important nature reserve for the Lynx. Some of them are being damaged by people. They are dying because they are knocked down by cars, traps and other causes. Politicians are taking care of this area though many people would like to spend their holiday there. They want to open the wild beaches to tourism. This would affect the ecosystems. Although businessmen have tried to build hotels and apartments, fortunately the Andalusian Government has not allowed it. The Government recognizes that this area has breathtaking views. There, you can do many activities, in addition to resting in an idyllic site. There are many public places where you can walk along the park boundary on the Castilla Beach, near Matalascañas, there are footpaths, often with nest of birds. The park supports incredible array of vegetation in a variety of virgin habitats. Inland there are large expanses of stone pines. Doñana has a variety of wild animals. Besides those mentioned above there are badges, rabbits, deer and wild boars. The dunes are also an important area where the views are fantastic especially at sunset. In conclusion, in spite of being a protected area many people want to make it public. It is a pity that only 135km out of 543 are a protected area. I want to encourage politicians to continue protecting this area. Let's face the fact the most people spoil the environment. We shouldn't allow the park to be available publicly because if this area is made public many species will disappear. We must protect our environment and teach our children to take care of our nature. Rosa Guerra Pinteño 4º C EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco 10

12 STORKS IN DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK Doñana National Park is located in the south west of Spain, in the wonderful region of Andalucia, between the provinces of Huelva and Cádiz. This area covers 543 square kilometres of which approximately a 30 per cent is considered a protected place. This park receives its name from the daughter of the Princess of Eboli, called Ana de Mendoza who also owned the land. The park has a biodiversity that is unique in Europe and also contains a great variety of ecosystems where thousands of European and African migratory birds such as geese, ducks, herons, swallows and storks live. Doñana is a land of contrasts, apart from having a strategic location. Its different landscapes are home to many animals and plants. Besides, it makes an important destination for those migratory birds that are looking for the ideal place for breeding and feeding during the winter. There is a saying in Spain that says: By St Blaise saint day you will see the storks arrive. And it will not be longer until the spring begins. At the beginning of the spring and during the whole summer you can observe large flocks of storks flying across the Sahara Desert and over the Gibraltar strait. These birds use a migration corridor with thermals so that they can save energy due to their huge size. These large animals that come from the south of Africa are one metre tall, and measure an average of 110 centimetres (from beak tip to end of tail). Their plumage is mainly white with black on its wings. They also have long red legs and their beak is long and red as well. White storks find in Doñana Park a paradise for feeding and breeding so they build a huge nest, although in most cases they use the old ones. The nests are built of branches and other materials. Each female can lay between one and four eggs. Once the eggs are laid both parents share incubation and feeding duties. The nests are usually seen on roof tops, churches and towers. As a carnivore the white stork eats a wide range of animal preys including insects, frogs, reptiles etc., and it takes most of its food from the ground among low vegetation and from shallow water. Some of the threats to this species are the economic development of what formally was a natural area, uses of chemical products in agriculture, or even lines of high voltage that storks find along their migratory path. Despite of the fact that there are some hazards to their life this traditional symbol of maternity will continue flying every year up to the wetland area of Doñana park. Ana Mercedes Sánchez. 4º C. EOI Jerez, Cádiz Teacher: Pilar Franco 11

13 STRAWBERRY FARMS IN DOÑANA The strawberry farms in Doñana area started like an experiment but nowadays this area comprises between 4500 and 6000 hectares. Most of the production of strawberries in Spain comes from Doñana area, with an average production of 40 to 50 tons/ha. The production cycle of strawberry is between July an May, so this is the major advantage because these farms create a lot of jobs. Most of the workers are immigrants from Eastern Europe and Northern Africa. Furthermore, this sector receives direct public subsidies as well as indirect financial aid. Not to mention the fact that this sector provides a lot of profits to businessman in this area. Although these farms could be a good thing, there are several disadvantages. In the first place, the illegal occupation of forest areas has resulted in the new constructions of roads or electricity infrastructures. This fact has made some species move to other areas. Secondly, there is an uncontrolled use of pesticides in agriculture. Thirdly, the strawberry crop needs a lot of water and the farmers extract water from the wetlands without permissions. In conclusion, having strawberry farms is good for the Spanish economy and, specifically, for the south of Andalusia because this sector needs people who work for it. However we need to consider whether the economic profits outbalance the environmental damage caused to Doñana National Park. Ángeles García Jiménez del Barco, 4º B. EOI Jerez (Cádiz) Teacher: Pilar Franco 12

14 DOÑANA NATIONAL PARK CALLS FOR HELP Can we really save Doñana, a 543 sq.-km national park located in the south of Andalusia? The increasing number of tourists, illegal fishing, new roads, pollution by agricultural runoff, bad droughts and the use of pesticides are serious threat to Doñana National Park. On the one hand, we try to save Doñana Park spending huge amounts of money that, nowadays because of the crisis, is very difficult to find by the Spanish Government. Wouldn t it be cheaper to avoid these problems before they appear? We cannot do anything with droughts because it is something that comes from nature. However, we could stop the construction of illegal dwells, for example, and therefore the waste of water would decrease. Besides, we can also spend more money to develop a harmless way of fumigating the soil. On the other hand, we have the other side of the problem. This is the economical one. Everybody knows about the damage caused to the park by the oil spill from Aznalcollar mines. However, we cannot forget how many people worked in those mines for years and how much money the region earned with these mines. In conclusion, I blame progress. We should find the balance between the economic growth of the region and the environmental protection of the park. Javier Hurtado Corona, 4º B. EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco 13

15 DONAÑA PARK: environmental risks A significant part of the population would consider this park spectacular. It has plains, dunes and marshes, over the more commonly preferred mountain landscapes. Despite the park popularity, there has been a constant threat to its eco-systems. In the first place, the use of river water to boost agricultural production by irrigating land along the coast. Secondly, the expansion of tourist facilities is damaging the conservation of temporary ponds from Doñana National Park. One example of this damage is the urbanization of Matalascañas (Huelva). Another one is the project to construct a road to link the provinces of Huelva and Cadiz. Thirdly, the park is used by pilgrims participating in El Rocío pilgrimage. A million pilgrims cross part of Doñana Park annually, causing a negative impact on this protected ecosystem. Last but not least, perhaps the highest risk was the massive amounts of acidic waters and mud, containing toxic metals such as zinc, lead, arsenic, copper which were released in the surroundings of Doñana Park as a consequence of the mine tailings spill accident in Aznalcollar in As a result of these threats, both the marine environment and the fluvial one suffer from the human action. On top of that, certain emblematic species such as the golden eagle and the lynx may be in danger of extinction in Doñana National Park. Aerial view of Doñana Urban expansion Pilgrimage Aznalcollar mine Toxic spill By Mª José Perea Campos and Isabel Hernández Tapias EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco 14

16 INDIANA JONES IN DOÑANA Do you think that archeology can benefit the protection of a natural park? Nowadays everybody is talking about Doñana National Park because of a documentary that appeared in the National Geographic television channel. In this documentary, a new Indiana Jones, called Richard Freund, says that the mythical city of Atlantis would be under the marshlands of Doñana. Atlantis would have been destroyed by a Tsunami 11,000 years ago. Besides that, Freund shows the most advanced archeological technology such as underwater technology, radars or digital cartography in his spectacular documentary. In addition to this, all kinds of newspapers have published the news. It is great news because there are plenty of popular words such as Spain, Tsunami or Atlantis. However, hardly any newspaper has checked the information. First of all, Spanish scientists say that the discovery is impossible. Atlantis may have never existed. Although the South West of Spain, including Doñana, has been surveyed to find archeological remains of the Tartessian Culture, it is unlikely that there is any relation between Tartessos and Atlantis. In conclusion, the evidences show that the National Geographic documentary, which is called Finding Atlantis, has been made in order to earn more money. In my opinion, this kind of news doesn t benefit the protection of the Park. Excavations and busybodies could damage Doñana. Esteban Cañadas Bonil 4º-C EOI Jerez, Cádiz. Teacher: Pilar Franco Learning English: English: aa walk walk in in Doñana Doñana Park Park Learning 115

17 LEARNING ENGLISH: A WALK IN DOÑANA PARK GRUNDTVIG PROJECT: WORKING LANGUAGES FOR EUROPEAN ENCOUNTERS ACTIVITY FINANCED BY: 1

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