275-4 Land Degradation at the Cànyoles River Watershed. Teaching, Dissemination and Exchange of Ideas with Farmers Older Than 55.
Developed countries have experienced a continuous increase in life expectancy of its citizens. After retirement, or in the last years of professional work, many of our citizens seek additional training they have received in their professional lives. An example is the teaching task developed at the University of Valencia, through the program NauGran offers those students older than 55 years, different training opportunities, from Health Sciences to Art History. And also the collaboration and exchange of knowledge between farmers and the scientists. Farmers are in average 56 years old at the Canyoles river watershed and they offer a great opportunity to exchange traditional knowledge, science and teaching
Since 2003, the University of Valencia, under the coordination of the University Extension Service has developed a special program with the aim of raising awareness of the functioning of the Earth system, the Mediterranean landscape, the impact of the humankind on the vegetation, fauna, soils, hydrological cycle, and the role of soils in the Planet Earth functioning and its interaction with human societies.
The teaching program GEOGRANS use field trips to teach Earth Sciences and to raise awareness of the landscape protection and the people who inhabit the territory, taking the soil as the main actor of these changes in the territory. Field trips are completed in the classroom lectures and occasional experiments that allow students to understand soil processes, soil types and human activities on them.
Field trips are organized to teach the students how the soils are developed on different rock types, under different climatic conditions, and how human activities are changes the soil in the Earth due to erosion, compaction, sealing, pollution, salinization.
Special attention is being paid to agricultural soils and its relation to food production, management and vulnerability. Forest soils are also studied by means of excursions to protected areas and degraded (grazing, fire ...) regions due to the millennia old use of the Mediterranean soils.
The results of a decade of experience with students older than 55 years have revealed that students attending the GEOGRANS activities improved their health, they are highly involved in environmental protection, and they now know the importance of soil in the Earth System.
The Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Team, within the LEDDRA research project, is researching how successful the policies to flight against land degradation are. Farmers, which are usually older than 55 at the study area of the River Canyoles Watershed, are involved in the research and also in the dissemination. This research involve teaching and researching in order to improve the knowledge in Soil Science and to improve the transfer of knowledge of land degradation to farmers.
This research has been funded partially by the European Commission through the Research Project Land and Ecosystem Degradation and Desertification: Assessing the Fit of Responses, LEDDRA (FP7-ENVIRONMENT/ENV.2009 243857).