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Exhibition ‘Polinizadores’ (Pollinators) – Drawings and photographs by Grupo do Risco for the Mértola 2022 calendar

“Grupo do Risco is a group of artists and scientists who record in natural spaces, with drawings in field notebooks, with photographs and videos. It has been active for twelve years in expeditions to protected areas and biosphere reserves in mainland Portugal and Portuguese islands, in Brazil, in Northern Africa and in Príncipe island. The Mértola region has been one of the places most visited by the GdR over the last decade where, in addition to being a recurrent meeting point, some of its members have given numerous field drawing courses in the stunning landscapes of the oak forest and water courses of the Guadiana Natural Park” (Pedro Salgado – Grupo do Risco Coordinator).
“Pollinators perform a vital service in the ecosystems and agriculture. By transporting pollen between flowers, i.e. carrying out pollination, they enable the reproduction of plants and the formation of fruit and seeds. They thus have an enormous ecological importance in nature and for human populations. About 75% of cultivated plants depend on pollinators. Pollinators ensure the pollination of about 90% of wild plants.
Although the vast majority of pollinators belong to the insect group, there are also some species of birds, bats and reptiles that play this important role in nature. Bumblebees, solitary bees and syrphids (also known as flower flies) are the most frequently observed pollinators. Other insects such as butterflies, moths, wasps and beetles, as well as some birds such as those mentioned in this calendar, also play an important role in pollination in Portugal.
In recent decades pollinators have been facing many threats, and the populations of many species are endangered or even threatened with extinction. The main threats to pollinators are changes in land use, loss of habitat, intensive agriculture, the use of pesticides, pollution (including light pollution), predation by invasive alien species and climate change.
Pollinators need places (habitats) with food, water and shelter to live, reproduce and thrive. Communities, organisations and even individual citizens can take small actions to help and enhance the necessary presence and proliferation of pollinators. Growing small gardens with a wide diversity of native wild plants, not cutting weeds nor pruning shrubs at flowering time, not using pesticides and creating shelters for pollinators are some examples of actions that are within everyone’s reach.
To warn on the importance of pollinators and raise awareness in the community for a more active role in their defence and proliferation, BIOPOLIS/CIBIO-InBIO researchers associated to the Biological Station of Mértola, the group of illustrators of Grupo do Risco and the team of Casa das Artes Mário Elias got together to create the contents of this new 2022 calendar.
In the 2022 edition of the Mértola Biological Station and Mértola City Council Calendar, we will get to know some of the pollinators present in the Guadiana Valley, their phenology, vulnerabilities and some curiosities” (Paulo Célio Alves and Rosinda Pimenta).

General Coordination: Rosinda Pimenta and Paulo Célio Alves
Concept and graphic design: Pedro Salgado and Cláudio Baeta
Illustrators: Catarina França, Cristina Espírito Santo, Dilar Pereira, Luís Frasco, Marco Nunes Correia, Marcos Oliveira, Nádia Torres, Pedro Salgado, Pedro Salvador Mendes, Sílvia Escarduça, Rita Cortez.
Photographer: Steve Stoer
Texts: Sónia Ferreira and Luís Silva
Production: Luís Baeta

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