Given the presence of lesser kestrels in urban areas and their dependency on farming environments, it is important to increase the knowledge about the species and involve the local population in the development of actions in the project to guarantee the long-term conservation of the species.

All projects that affect a territory and its residents should be inherently based on a development of communication and participatory actions. One should not plan activities in an area without the people who live there knowing and accepting the idea, if not actually actively participating in it.

This project will be implementing many measures in diverse settings and with objectives of public benefit, with measures to conserve the biodiversity but at the same time with activities to convert the lesser kestrel into an asset for the SPA and its inhabitants. Therefore, the role that should be performed by the inhabitants of the SPA in the project is of vital importance for the its success.

To this end, a set of initiatives will be carried out as follows:

1.- Organisation of informative talks and round-tables, at two levels:

- Talks in the municipalities of the urban SPAs directed at both the general public as well as specific interest groups, prioritising the following: farmers, agricultural associations and cooperatives, local administration, managers and owners of buildings, residents’ associations, especially in historic centres and local businesses.

In 2017 at least one information event will be held in each of the municipalities involved, choosing in each the groups with the most interest for the project. In 2019 another series of participatory events will be held in each municipality, to ensure that the different groups are kept informed about the development of the project and its results. The contents will be customised according to the urban SPA where they are carried out, to sensitise the public more effectively and focus on the work undertaken and the conservation problems that exist at the local level. The talks will be planned as participatory, gathering proposals, ideas and opinions from the participants.

- Talks with professional groups, with more technical and specific content, combining sensitisation with training in their respective areas of work: professional groups and technicians from the public administration.

In 2018 and 2019, these talks will be undertaken, designed specifically to address the interests of each group and focusing on practical content applicable to their areas of work. The grouping will be done based on types of profession.

This work is considered essential to improve the level of understanding of different groups about lesser kestrels, involving them in their conservation and participation in the development of the project.

2.- Guided visits for the local population

Guided visits will be carried out in the urban SPAs to show local people the lesser kestrel in its habitat, placing special emphasis on its close relationship with man. The behaviour of the species will be explained, as well as the problems that they face and the ways to address them. The association too between the species and the buildings with great heritage value in which they nest will also be shown.

In 2018 and 2019 two guided visits will take place in each of the urban SPAs. One of these will be directed to school children and the other to the general population. Depending on the characteristics of each SPA, the different colonies present will be observed using telescopes and binoculars to avoid disturbing the birds.

3. Environmental education in schools.

It is considered that both primary and secondary school children constitute one of the principal objectives of the sensitisation and environmental education, especially in the smaller localities where there is a greater interrelationship between the population and the species.

During 2018 and 2019 talks will be given in different schools in the urban SPAs, prioritising those with the smallest populations. Two presentations will be developed, one for primary schools and the other for secondary schools. These will be left with the schools for future use. This action will be complemented by two lesser kestrel models (male and female) that can be handled by the students, facilitating their recognition of the species.

4. Ecobus.

This is the bus belonging to the General Directorate of the Environment, equipped with environmental education content and specialised monitors, that will make visits to different urban SPAs and/or schools, as well as different events between 2018 and 2020, offering talks and didactic games about lesser kestrels, without cost to the project.

6. Didactic Unit

In collaboration with the General Secretariat of Education (SGE) of the Council for Education and Employment, didactic units (UD) will be prepared on lesser kestrels in Extremadura, adapted to different levels of primary and secondary education, including posters of different levels of complexity according to the education level, bringing together specific information about the species, concrete aspects of each urban SPA and other transversal resources (history, culture, geography etc). The SGE will facilitate the incorporation of these UDs into the curriculum, and presentations will be given to the Teachers’ Resource Centres (CPR).

Responsible for implementation: General Directorate of the Environment.