Education and volunteer participation are considered to be key activities of TAIB. The educational objective is to increase insight in biodiversity conservation and wetland management.
TAIB training courses have been developing steadily since 1989, usually in Spring (April/May) and Autumn (October/November). Teams, consisting of volunteers, scientists and students, are designed to allow scientific fieldwork to be conducted in parallel with a training program – particularly in the related topics of biodiversity and environmental management.
TAIB organizes an “International capacity building field course: Monitoring for biodiversity and environmental change at s’Albufera de Mallorca”. They are designed to be entirely practical. The aims of the courses are to:
- provide participants with practical experience of monitoring techniques, species identification and data collection;
- undertake capacity building in wetland management and protected area management;
- permit participants to study and experience all aspects of nature reserve management alongside TAIB scientists and the Parc management team;
- assist TAIB scientists in data acquisition;
- provide an international forum for the exchange of information and experience between protected area managers, conservationists and field biologists;
- and standardise monitoring methodology, particularly for Mediterranean countries.
TAIB aims to enhance the skills of the participants in doing ecological fieldwork (design of fieldwork studies, sampling methods, statistics, data analysis). The course is multidisciplinary and participants are encouraged to place the fieldwork in the context of local management strategies and regional/global environmental change.
TAIB fieldwork teams comprise TAIB scientists working alongside with volunteers, protected area managers, personnel from environmental NGOs and others with an interest in ecology, biodiversity, conservation, physical geography or similar subjects. The courses are in English but TAIB scientists also include a good number of Spanish and French speakers so these languages can also be accommodated.
Every year now s’Albufera Natural Park managers with the TAIB team, identify gaps in knowledge wich are consectuently developed as studies to be developed in the course. In addition to those main themes, a series of other activities are planned. They include:
- Long term Monitoring: transects and ringing of birds; transects of butterflies and dragonflies; moth trapping.
- Water quality monitornig: macrophytes, aqutic invertebrates, etc.
- Biodiversity research: a new Biodiversity Catalogue, listing some 4000 biota, is near completion but there are clearly gaps.
- Workshops: Public use and management of the Parc, by Maties Rebassa, Director of the Natural Park; Environmental education in S’Albufera, by the Parc’s Education Team; other initiatives from visiting volunteers and researchers.