”What a leaf says” – by Matteo

The project was scheduled to take place during a 10-hour excursion, but it was canceled due to weather conditions and replaced with the creation of other activities in the Ardusat area. The day was divided into two moments. A first part was held outdoors, near an area where an old palace stood and a second part that took place indoors, in a house owned by one of the scout leaders.

The activity

It took part in 30 of November, together with about 40 people from the Cercetașii Munților association. In the first part I held a guided naturalistic visit to the area with the support of one of the leaders of the scouts who instead took care of the historical part. While the leader expounded his part, I searched in the area for material of interest.

At this stage I was able to find a lot of material and with a good variety to convey different concepts:

  • I found the refuge of a rodent that allowed me to talk about food remains and comparison in the consumption of food between animals, also thanks to the material that I had previously obtained.
  • I talked about the biology of lichens and their role as bioindicators.
  • Having found the tracks of a probable wild cat (Felis silvestris) I transmitted several concepts about the tracks (the importance of the track in the recognition, the difference between felids and canids, the differences in terrain).
  • I found a gall on a leaf and explained their origin and how they were once used in industry.
  • I talked about bark beetle insects, woodpeckers and lignicolous fungi, plant health and some information on how to evaluate the stability of a tree.
  • I found and discussed a bat shelter found in a family grave.

In general, I made each scout touch many of the different materials during the explanations. After this, we made a cast of a cow’s footprint using plaster.

At this point I started talking about the behavior with wild animals but it started raining and snowing, so I had to quit the conversation halfway and suspend activities. I also delivered a manual I produced, for more info.

In the second part I continued with the explanation of the contents of the manual, in small groups, indoors. After the activity I collected some feedback and I participated in other activities with the group not managed by me.


Although I received positive feedback especially for the first part of the day, from the leaders and the guys, with a good number of questions, I had trouble catching attention in the final part of the first part mainly due to the cold.  ad weather and the change of plans the day before forced me to give up doing some more interactive activities. I needed to be accompanied by a translation because of the technical vocabulary and the low language skills of some of the guys.

The strong point was the use of good material, the variety of topics and the relaxed context. In the first part the large number of participants (40 people) did not facilitate good interaction, so I had to adapt. The topics were of interest both to the leaders (who did not know most of the information) and to the young people.

Matteo is part of the ”Escpert” project #escx. The project is funded by the European Commission through the European Solidarity Corps program and lasts 23 month in Baia Mare and surrounding areas. The purpose of the project is helping the local community get activated in creating and implementing local based projects in support of various thematic.