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****** PLANTING SEASON IS COMING AHEAD - WE ARE LOOKING FOR 2-3 PEOPLE WHO ARE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT TREE PLANTING ********
When contacting us please precise your arrival/departure dates (even if flexible) as it helps us to coordinate everybody.
We are registered as a French non profit (1901) association but we have been doing this for some years. Our purpose is to plant trees and restore deforested land in our area. We are in the Herault, its beautiful here though sometimes quite rugged where we work.
We can work with a person who can help maintain nursery and learn about this side of the operation. Land restoration can include a lot of things evolve and change a lot as well. Some of the things we do include planting germinated seeds and replanting sprouts and watering them. While we do this we monitor and manage the compost chip piles developing cultures for oak and pine trees. We grow cultures in water as well to help spread the good stuff on acorns planted in the natural soil which has suffered damage.
A person needs to be able to think on their own and try to develop an understanding of the processes. A lot of this is new to us too as developing microbial cultures in water and soil is a rapidly expanding literally growing field. I also work on our very old tractors, build up the machinery they carry while I work in my studio to finish the art and commissions that support all this. I'll try to post a few pictures - -
Everything is financed through the artwork produced at our studio where there will be some opportunity for those interested refining or developing their skills in the crafts of art or the arts of craft. Most of the artwork is done before and after the planting season and there is a very wide variety of skills involved in this but this work is suited to people with existing skill, some experience and a lot of commitment.
Later in the 2021 season we will be working on another house that was dormant for some time so somebody with some construction ability who wants to learn more in that field might benefit. It will be an A to Z project but the house is a good example of what you run into as a first time home owner in France.
Long-term volunteers are preferable because even though the tasks sound easy, some of them actually take times to explain and figure out.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Help with Computers/ Internet
We are in the village of GABIAN 34320, in the département of Hérault.
The buses to come here are :
603-604 - Montpellier/Pézénas
The cultural part of living in a little village is the café after work or cafés in other villages on days off and that's less limited for now.
We are in a medieval village so you would enjoy its history and authenticity.
There are bikes you can use to visit the surroundings (a nice swimming place 45min by) and other villages are 20 to 40 minutes apart by bicycle depending on you and the incline.
If you have your own car you can discover beautiful villages, lakes, gorges around (Gorges d'Héric, village of Saint-Guilhem-le-désert, Salagou lake, the Devil's bridge/ Pont du Diable etc).
I would sometimes go to the brocante/flee market so you could come along and discover the antique treasures people would find ! (some people would still wear a mask in public)
1. TREE PLANTING - RIGHT NOW
Tree planting on land happens from mid-late October until April, after April it will be mainly in pots or bags until newt season arrives.
Here are all the upcoming tasks (depending on the weather of course)
- land clearing (brushes/ reeds/ brambles etc)
- acorn scouting during hikes (find the most productive oak trees for harvesting acorns when appropriate time)
By end of September
- acorns harvest/ collecting
- acorn stratification (incubation to favor the germination rates)
- acorn/ oak planting (in pots/ root bagging/ on land)
- other tree planting on land or in bags/ pots in the nursery (depending on the quantity !!)
- dirt/ dead leaves harvests for planting-in-pot/bags sessions (when needed)
Process will always be the same : acorns harvest/ stratification/ planting
Other important tasks :
- Land clearing (brushes/ reeds/ brambles etc) happens BEFORE the planting of the trees and can occurs throughout the whole year, whenever it is needed (mainly before planting trees)
- Cleaning, maintenance, stacking firewood for winter
- Tree observation/ assessment : assess the growth of former oak trees planted (winter 2020) - quantify the success rate - find solutions to improve success rate
- Compost-pile make and maintenance
2. BUILDING - help requested from now on
- Help with the clearing/ cleaning of the new house so that it will be functional for the volunteers' use
- Help with cleaning the basement of the new house (will be used for worm farming unit for all year-round usage)
- Help with electricity
3. COMMUNICATION - all year-round
- Help with the promotion of the association on social media (current instagram account for the association)
- possibility of creating communication flyers about the association's project (detailed/ less detailed presentation - in English AND FRENCH)
- further website development
- video making for the association's youtube channel
4. FOR FRENCH SPEAKERS (NATIVES/FLUENT) VOLUNTEERS - all year-round
- communication project with the local communities (tiers/ like-minded associations locally or in the Hérault departement)
- assist in French translations checks
- administrative tasks
We are financed through sale of artworks which is not quite as flakey as that might sound since the founder is well established.
The experience here is also a good way to get an immersion into the world and reality of an non-profit association : reach your goals by organizing your daily operations, learning from past lessons and improving with new techniques or strategies, learning and sharing with volunteers, using your vision to plan for expanding projects each year, financing your association, creating relationships with the locals (people, associations, public organisms, companies) etc.
If the volunteer wants to create his association/ NGO one day, then he will definitely find here a nice first experience while planting trees and working along with nature.
The accommodations are village houses that were upgraded and basically in very good condition. There are shared, bathrooms and toilets but separate bedrooms. The houses have wood burning heaters and gathering deadwood is generally part of forestry.
There is a small patio with a palm tree (south of France :) )
We ask for 4 days help a week for lodging and food.
I imagine that if we advance to serious interviews of each other then our personal and registered name and media site can be given.
We can pick you up at the train station or airport but we'll keep our wear masks while travelling in public. Considering that I'm 69 and in control of diabetes I ask that everybody be vaccinated. The good news is that we can get vaccinations for anybody who still needs it.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have a good internet connection at the house if you bring your own laptop.
The accommodation is an individual house in the village only for volunteers. In the planting season this becomes a shared living situation with 3 sleeping areas, one kitchen, one bathroom and two toilets but there will be another house added to this soon.
Maximum 4-5 hours 5 days a week
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