Our mission is to work towards the study and conservation of wild birds and their habitats by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.

The Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) is a nonprofit scientific association that promotes the study and conservation of birds in Portugal. It was founded on November 25 of 1993 and corresponds to a desire expressed by a large number of professionals and amateurs that developed activities in the field of ornithology and conservation of Nature. Since 1999 SPEA is a BirdLife International partner.
Currently SPEA has about 3500 members and develops projects of nature conservation in national territory with some partnership abroad (Cape Verde, Sao Tome, Greece, Spain and Malta).

Environmental education and awareness are principal components of all SPEA projects, inseparable from the conservation actions, targeted at key audiences depending on the goals and subjects at hand. Besides integrating environmental education into the projects, SPEA also creates events, mostly aimed at young and family audiences, sometimes in a school setting. Although focused on birds, many of these initiatives touch other interconnected subjects, namely biodiversity, climate change, environmental impacts, citizenship, etc. In terms of environmental education and awareness, SPEA goals are to:

•Promote environmental awareness on subjects related to birds and ecosystems conservation;

•Promote Birdwatching in Portugal;

•Work with schools and teachers promoting their knowledge and connection to birds and nature in their country or region;

•Promote volunteering for the conservation of habitats, eradication of exotic plant species, bird population census, etc.

OWL is a great opportunity to promote the exchange of experiences with other European countries in the area of Environmental Education, which brings more knowledge and expertise to our work.
It is also a wonderful way of promoting and spreading our work throughout other European countries, usually projects are implemented at a national level.
It is an opportunity for growing and expanding throughout our borders, by sharing experiences, exchanging knowledge and acquiring new capacities and abilities that we can implement in our daily work.
By gathering in a platform with other European institutions, we think SPEA will become stronger, because the access to quality information and good examples in environmental education, as in other areas, increases exponentially.

In the future SPEA wants to keep working for the conservation of birds and their habitats in Portugal, through environmental education actions integrated in LIFE projects and others. SPEA also wants to keep its work with populations, promoting environmental awareness, increasing their knowledge about birds and promoting their connection with nature.
Besides working with public, SPEA also wants to work with specific groups who, because of their activities, are very important in species and habitats conservation like fisherman, hunters, farmers, etc. There are some projects going on, which include environmental education actions with these specific groups, and there is a will to implement more actions and reach more people in the future.
Organising volunteer action for the conservation and restoration of habitats, eradication of exotic plant species, bird population census, and others is also an important part of SPEA work, which we want to keep promoting in the future. This is important, not only for the benefits it brings to the environment and the places intervened, but also because of the benefits for people participating in these actions. These benefits include a bigger connection to nature, a sense of belonging and a sense of doing something for the planet. It is really a rewarding activity for everyone!
In terms of SPEA work with schools, there is a will of doing some teacher training in the future, to increase teachers and educators knowledge about birds, especially local and national species that many people do not know about. This way they will be more independent and capable of working these themes with their students.

As SPEA is growing, and many projects have an important environmental education component, currently a group of people are working in this subject with SPEA. Therefore, recently we created an environmental education group, who meet regularly to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences in this area. Because of this, there is the motivation to create a large scale environmental education project, transversal to all SPEA departments. This is a project for the future.

To contact Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds
Av. Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, 87, 3º Andar 1070-062 Lisboa
(+351) 21 322 04 30, spea@spea.pt

The Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds is a founding partner of the One World Learning network.