From the 20th of January onwards two training courses at Quintanes will take place: forestry technic and ecological agriculture. These courses are part of the ´Servei d'Ocupació de Catalunya` programme and take place in coordination with the ´Fundació Mil•lenari`.
During the last fortnight of the year the first year, medium level pig breeding students visited the milk producing cow farm at Mas El Puig. Mr Pere Font, a former student of Quintanes, welcomed us and explained in detail the process involved in producing a litre of milk; everything from what the cows are fed to how they are milked two times a day in a rotative hall. It is important to note the interest the Font family have taken in helping our students, something clearly shown during the visit, in the explanations given by them and in their collaboration on the artificial insemination course held each year at the school.
The second-year, medium-level forestry students recently made a study visit to Molló Park. There they were able to see a wide range of fauna whose habitats lie in the Pyrenees mountains. There were animals to see such as brown bears, lynxes, wolves, vultures and eagles. The visit was a guided one and the students were able to learn about the characteristics and habitats of the different animals on display. Before finishing the owner, Mr Toni, told the group how the park was founded and how it is run.
In line with the study plan of the mechanisation class the first year, higher-level pig breeding course visited the plant protection machinery factory mentioned in the title above. It is, in fact, located in the city of Lleida, in the west of Catalonia. There the students were able to see a variety of machines and each one's characteristics and functions. Later the class moved on to Calaf, further south, where they visited the sowing machine factory run by the Solà company. On site students saw close-up the different types of machines produced there, including mechanical ones, as well as tyres, the process used to produce the machines, their characteristics and functions.
The first year, medium-level gardening students were lucky enough recently to visit Barcelona's botanical gardens in Montjuic with Ivan and Jordi as accompanying teachers. The garden offers a great variety of Mediterranean climate plants from places like Chile, California, South Africa and Southern Europe. It also offers students the chance to see different types of design and landscaping, how the garden is organised and the materials used to look after it. Students were made aware of the fact that it is a beautiful but still young garden which will be even prettier 50 years from now.
It is also worth noting that the garden is home to two Downy Oaks and a Holm Oak given to it by Quintanes and which were cultivated on the grounds owned by the school.
The Costa and Llobera gardens offer the visitor a great collection of cacti, crasses and palm trees from around the world, donated in the most part by collectors in the 20th century to the maritime facade of Montjuic mountain.
It presented us with a fantastic opportunity to hold an open-air botany class for our students!
On the 28th of November the second-year, medium-level Forestry students visited the company, ADF Montseny Ponent. Their president and also mayor of El Brull, Mr Ferran Teixidó, gave a talk about ADFs; what they consist of, materials used, vehicles etc... Then he explained about the workings of the forestry bio-mass energy project that El Brull is running. To finish students saw first-hand the bio-mass heater that is at the heart of the project and learned how it worked. It was a very didactic visit, focusing on whether or not bio-mass will be the future of forestry.
On Thursday 21st of November the first-year, superior level Forestry students visited AMP Sprayers; a company that makes plant protection treatment machines. On the visit they were able to see the different ways the machines work, their various parts and how they function. The group then moved on to the more commerce-orientated plant protection company; AgroSalvi, where they found out about the requirements demanded of the products they produce and the key parts of tree injection treatment.
On the 29th November the second-year, superior-level farming students attended the ´Biomass Heaters for the farming sector` technical day. The aim of the get-together was to provide information about the possibilities provided by renewable bio fuel. The seminar was given by Mrs Mireia Codina, technician of Forestry Use and Biomass at the Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya (CTFC). Mrs Codina spoke about the benefits of using bio fuel when applied to the environment, transport and biomass administration (e.g. various systems of distribution, food etc...). Examples of its use by businesses, farms, greenhouses and buildings in the sector were given.
At Quintanes the course trips form an integral part of the success of each course. They allow students to really understand the subjects worked on and areas studied over the two years. They also enable students to get to know each other and form friendships.
In the first week of October the first year, medium level gardening students went on their course trip to the Cote d'Azur in France. Over the seven days there we visited 8 gardens and protected zones with the aim of seeing the typical features of Mediterranean gardens, designs, plant recognition, growth techniques and maintanance of green spaces. We visited the following places; “La Banbouseraie” in Domaine de Prafrance, the botanic garden “Hanbury” in Ventimiglia, the medieval garden “Sainte Agnès” in Menton, the protected green area of “Domaine du Rayol”, the gardens at “Villa Ephursi de Rotschield” in St Jean Cap Ferrat, the Japanese garden in Monaco and “La Fontaine” garden at Nimes.