As happens every year, we recently had the pleasure of taking the Accés de Grau Superior group on a trip to London. This year's stay in the capital was a great success: four enjoyable days meticulously planned by the school's English department. Among the highlights of the trip were visits to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Natural History Museum and Camden Market, as well as a boat trip on the river Thames. The students were able to practise their English and learnt how to get around a large city independently. Over the four days we were lucky enough to try specialities such as an English Breakfast, an Indian curry and a pint in a traditional English pub. All in all, a fascinating visit!
On Friday the 24th of January the medium level Forestry students were able to visit the Oak, Chestnut and Holm Oak trees of the Montseny forest area. An ex student, Albert Bosch, who works for the ´Consorci de la Propietat Forestal` organisation, was kind enough to be our guide on the visit. At present he is responsible for the management and assessment of the Montseny area. He told us about the advantages and disadvantages of being a protected zone and how to control and manage infections in Holm Oaks. We were also able to see the effects of other tree infections and the problems caused by wasps in Chestnut trees, the last of which was only detected two years ago. It also proved a good opportunity to see at first-hand the management process involved in looking after Douglas Pines, Cork Oaks and Pine trees in general.
During the first fortnight of 2014 we visited Ca l'Alzina farm with the medium-level, second year students from the pig breeding course. Ca l'Alzina is a sheep farm located in Santa Agnès de Malenyana. It is a family business that was founded 32 years ago with cows. Over the years the family converted the business to one of sheep farming. They started with only 40 such animals but now have 850 ewes, 25 rams and 75 lambs, all of them belonging to the Ripolles breed.
Joan, the father, and Josep, his son and an ex student of Quintanes, explained to us about the process they use to produce the highest quality of animals. We would like to thank the whole family for welcoming us and giving our students such a positive experience. This also applies to their explanations of the techniques they use, their collaboration in end of year tribunals and for overseeing some of our students` work experience.
Recently we visited Mas El Garet in Tona with the medium level, second year pig breeding students. Ex Quintanes student, Lluïs Mauri welcomed us and told us all about running a goat milk producing farm. We were also able to see the farm's cheese-producing facilities that Lluïs and his partner Isidre Mas had built a few years ago so they could provide another product to the already popular milk obtained from their Murcian-Granadine breed of goats. The Mas El Garet cheeses have received various prizes; the most important of which was the silver medal for their ´pebre negre d'arcoc` cheese in the conventional, soft cheese catagory. See the following website for more information; http://www.maselgaret.com/
On Thursday, 23rd January the first year, medium-level gardening and florist students visited the above-mentioned business in Rubí. The visit was connected to the study plan of the personal management process that our students undertake. Mr Jordi Peiró, from the company's administration department, told us how they dealt with their 35 workers in terms of economic and labour administration management. He also gave us tips on how to find a job, the best way to create an effective CV and how to go about presenting yourself. All in all, it was a very useful and positive visit for our students.
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!