June 1, 2022

Kaidi Tingas

The birthday of LIFE Programme was spent in water

On 28th of May, the LIFE programme - EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action - celebrated its 30th birthday. To celebrate this day, ten projects funded by the programme opened their doors in Estonia to show how we have contributed to nature and well-being.

The LIFE-IP ForEst&FarmLand project took the interested people to the Mädapea Oak-forest Landscape Conservation Area, where we inventoried and restored amphibian water bodies last year. Even though these areas are surrounded by large agricultural parcels, several amphibian species characteristic of Lääne-Viru County have survived there: the moor frog, the grass frog, the northern crested newt, and the smooth newt. In previous years, the common spadefoot also lived there, but has since disappeared.

Under the guidance of herpetologists Riinu Rannap and Elin Soomets-Alver from the University of Tartu, participants were able to observe that the small water bodies excavated last autumn are now full of water, and if it would only get a little warmer, life would begin to flourish in them. Along with a large number of common toads, they were also acquainted with moor frog tadpoles, northern crested newt females, eggs of the newts folded between aquatic plant leaves, and last year’s moor frogs, which were still attending kindergarten, as the zoologists explained to the human children in attendance. An added bonus was a walk on the gorgeous wooded meadow of the Mädapea oak-forest with Kalmer Visnapuu, who manages the meadow and is highly acclaimed for his dedication, and the singing of the nightingale under the flowering bird cherries of Mädapea Manor!

Although the weather conditions favoured amphibians on 28 May, rather than the people who came to study them, the celebration of the 30th birthday of the LIFE programme was still spirited! Thank you to everyone who took part!