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Documentary: “Urpa, a cool sip to help save the Montagu’s Harrier”

An original story on farming and action to save the Montagu’s Harrier, and endangered species. With a cool beer as a final reward: Urpa.

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We want to share with the World an original, true, inspiring story. A sum of complicities to help save a threatened species.

The documentary "URPA (TALON in Catalan), a cool sip to save the Montagu's Harrier" will show the work of the people who have been working for decades in the Lleida plain in Catalonia to protect this globally threatened raptor. We will follow its nesting process during one breeding season, from April to August.

In parallel, we will discover the genuine and innovative proposal to turn the cereal from the fields that are left unmown to protect the nests of the Montagu’s Harrier into a craft beer, Urpa (Claw), to reward and highlight the work of the farmers involved.

We are asking birders, nature lovers and why not, beer fans too, to help us fund this documentary with the Verkami crowdfunding campaign.

We will give voice to all the characters of this little story of complicity and success -from farmers to scientists-, with the aim of spreading an inspiring reality, with the potential to be replicated in other places.

The documentary, like the Urpa beer initiative itself, wants to help build a bridge between the agricultural universe and that of nature conservation,and highlight that complicity and synergies can be woven between both worlds, part of one.

The documentary will focus on the experience in the western regions of Lleida plains and others in Catalonia, but will include management experiences of the Montagu's Harrier elsewhere in Spain, in Castilla and Andalusia, as well as in southern France. Thus, the bulk of the interventions, in the original version, will be in Catalan -the rest, in Spanish and French-, but a subtitled version in Spanish, and another in English, will be produced, to reach a wider audience.

EARN EXCLUSIVE REWARDS

We have carefully chosen the rewards that we offer here at our crowdfunding platform, Verkami, to give the possibility of living high quality experiences, with a lot of added value, of knowledge and enjoyment of the Montagu's Harrier, its habitat -the dry land steppes- and the other biodiversity that inhabits them. Of course, most of the rewards have Urpa beer as a central element.

Urpa beer

The star of our rewards is the Urpa beer, made with barley ripened in the sun, coming exclusively from the fields where the Montagu'sHarrier has nested and which have had to be mowed later, to preserve the nests of the raptor from the harvesting machinery.

So Urpa is a truly unique, exclusive beer and, like the Montagu's Harrier itself, scarce and threatened!

As we want to be faithful to the philosophy that drives us, we can only produce a number of bottles proportional to the number of Harrier pairs that nest among us. Also, a good part of the beers are given to the farmers who manage these fields, as a reward for their complicity with the conservation of biodiversity.

So finally, only a handful of Urpa beer remain!

As a craft beer, produced by the small brewery of La Vella Caravana, in Menàrguens (region of La Noguera, in Lleida), Urpa it has a unique taste and is never identical depending on the crop from which it is extracted. It is made of water, barley malt, natural barley, hops and yeast, and it takes three months to mature: that's why we won't have this year's harvest until September. It is a Session IPA style beer, with a degree of bitterness of 4/6, consistent, and 4.5% alcohol. Like all beers, drink in moderation!

The raptor miniguide

With concept and illustrations by Toni Llobet (part of the documentary team), for the Spanish-speaking public we offer the Spanish version, with texts by Eduardo de Juana and design by Lluc Julià, and edited by Ediciones Lectio and Oryx. This drop-down mini-guide is a super practical and agile tool, and at the same time complete, to start and deepen the knowledge, in the field itself, of the birds of prey in Spain, the Montagu's harrier and all the other species, diurnal and nocturnal, that They fly over our skies.

Family outing

It will allow you to enjoy a morning getting to know the Montagu's Harrier up close, the people of Limonium Natura who work on its conservation, and the reintroduction project of this species, through chicks rescued from unviable nests -by means of "hacking"-, seeing them without being seen accompanied by expert staff.

Bird watching outing with the ICO

Thanks to the collaboration of the Catalan Institute of Ornithology, which offers the guide for this exclusive outing, this outing will allow you to enjoy dryland birds - the Montagu's harrier, but also other unique and iconic species such as the little bustard, the sandgrouse, the roller , the lesser kestrel...- with an expert ornithologist who knows the place, sharing a small group of people interested in the subject, and at a price, after all, very competitive.

Naturalist drawing workshop with Toni Llobet

We propose an exclusive drawing workshop day, in the middle of the Lleida drylands, with sessions in the field and in the classroom, to savor and absorb the landscapes and fauna of these unique environments with an attentive, artistic and personal look. With the guidance of Toni Llobet, a naturalist artist with extensive experience and one of the promoters of this project. Prepare pencils and brushes!

Montagu's Harrier photo session from hide

La Sabina - Bird Photo-Tours offers this reward, at a very competitive price, with which you can enjoy a Montagu's Harrier -or other scarce, steppe bird species- photography session from a special hide. You will be taken in the morning and be picked up in the afternoon, and you’ll be able to watch and photograph the Montagu's Harrier in optimal conditions. All this, with all the necessary permits to photograph this protected species, and the expert advice of Jordi Bas and Aleix Casadó, part of the documentary's videographic team.

Steppe Birding Premium Experience

We have thought that those who can make this generous contribution deserve a VIB treatment: for Very Important Birders. We have prepared an exclusive tour through the drylands, with an 8-seater van (+ driver), visiting the best bird-watching spots in the drylands of Lleida, in the company of the documentary team, together with expert ornithologists, and sharing knowledge and experiences on birds of pseudo-steppe environments, their habitats and actions for their conservation.

WHAT WILL WE USE THE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR?

The Verkami crowdfunding will be essential to be able to carry out the project with guarantees, although it will not be the only source of financing for the documentary.

We also have the support of regional entities and we are working to obtain financing from the government bodies involved in the Montagu’s Harrier conservation.

Apart from this we have the financial and promotional support of the Delta Birding Festival, the top birding event in the Mediterranean, and Oryx, the naturalist's top shop and retailer in Barcelona and Spain, and the complicity of the ICO, the Catalan Institute of Ornithology.

The total budget for the project exceeds what we want to raise with the Verkami crowdfunding, which corresponds to the bulk of recording expenses in the field, which will involve countless hours of field work. We want to record:

  • the breeding process of the Montagu's Harrier

  • interviews with farmers, government officials and field team, naturalists, researchers and activists involved

  • cereal growth and harvest

  • the process of elaboration of Urpa beer: from the harvest to the distribution among the farmers involved

Part of these recordings will be made with a drone, always with the required permits and the responsibility that a project of this type requires, and in those cases linked to the nesting of the Montagu's Harrier, with the support of the Rural Agents of the Generalitat (Government) of Catalonia.

ABOUT US

The promoting team has a lot of experience in creative projects related to biodiversity, although it is the first time that we carry out a crowdfunding process.

Behind the three promoting entities (Limonium Natura, OxigeNATs and La Sabina) are the people who will make the documentary a reality:

Miquel Miki Rodríguez, from Limonium Natura and a forest-rural agent, has many years of experience in local naturalist activism, linked to the conservation of species such as the Montagu's Harrier. He is the one who had the idea of Urpa beer as a tool to value, disseminate and reward the work of farmers committed to the species, and who has made it a reality.

Toni Llobet, illustrator and naturalist filmmaker (as a freelance creator and for three years, through the OxigeNATs platform), has participated as an author, director, producer and scriptwriter in multiple editorial and audiovisual materials on biodiversity. And he was the one who gave the beer its name and image.

Jordi Bas has decades of experience as a professional nature photographer, he has worked with lots of specialized publications and with La Sabina, generating environmental education materials and projects. Through Bird Photo Tours, a professional nature photography guide agency in the western regions of Catalonia, he has become the leading naturalist photographer in these places.

Beyond the three promoters, we have a large, diverse and expert team:

Lluís Culleré, a conservation ranger at the Mas de Melons Reserve and an expert naturalist who knows the drylands and their birds -especially birds of prey- and also a promoter of the Urpa beer, is a fundamental support in locations, logistics and emergency recordings.

Aleix Casadó, a young nature photographer who works for La Sabina – Bird Photo Tours, will be the field man who will carry out locating, recording and production work.

Noemi Roset, videographer of OxigeNATs and a versatile and energetic field woman, will be in charge of the image and sound recording of interviews and locations and will help in production work.

Oriol Cervera, a wildlife videographer also linked to OxigeNATs, will advise us on production tasks.

We will record the drone images with David Giribet, videographer and expert pilot, from Calidos, and Gerard Carbonell, biologist and drone pilot, OxigeNATs collaborator. For delicate recordings in the field we have the invaluable support of the drones of the Rural Agents of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE...

ABOUT THE MONTAGU’S HARRIER AND THE DOCUMENTARY: CONTEXT, SYNERGIES AND SCOPE

The Montagu's Harrier is an endangered migratory bird of prey, typical of open landscapes and which mostly breeds in cereal fields, the Anthropocenic equivalents of the natural grasslands and scrublands where it originally nested. The advancement of the harvest period due to the use of new cereal varieties means that many nests can be destroyed by the harvesters -and with them, eggs and chicks-. Throughout Europe, agricultural intensification is affecting the species in an alarming way: only in Spain, 25% of Montagu's Harrier pairs have been lost in the last decade. The use of pesticides and the disappearance of field edges and fallows add to the threats to the Montagu's harrier and many other birds in dryland agricultural landscapes.

In Catalonia, for more than twenty years, conservation authorities have been working on the conservation of this protected species. When a bird is found in a field, farmers are required to leave a quarter of an hectare unmown, and they are being paid for the loss of this crop. A formula that works with the commitment of all parties involved. The money, however, arrives at the pace set by bureaucracy, and it is undeniable that having to leave the field unmown is not something farmers are happy to do, no matter how much they are eventually compensated for. As a result, in 2022, after many years of developing the idea, a group of local naturalists from the NGO Limonium Natura took the initiative to buy the mature barley from two fields where the Montagu’s Harrier had nested and make a special, unique beer from it, to then present to the farmers involved. The beer showcases and spreads the word of the challenges of this raptor, and in the long run it could help finance measures for the protection of the species and its habitat. This is how Urpa, the nest-saving beer, was born.

The proposal to carry out this documentary comes with the goal of explaining the work carried out to preserve the species, while making the Urpa beer an attractive and original -yet powerful and sustainable- tool to contribute to the Montagu’s Harrier protection, And so, using the hook of the harrier and the Urpa beer, also explain the challenge of the conservation of birds and the biodiversity of the dry land.

The documentary is the result of many synergies, with names and surnames.

In the first place, the peasants who for years have agreed to facilitate protection measures for the eaglet in the fields they work.

Obviously, the team that will work to make the documentary possible, which we have already explained in the section "Who we are"

All this, with the collaboration of the Corps of Rural Agents and with the support of the administration technicianswho monitor the species and implement protection measures: Anna Varea, Jaume Bonfil, Joan Rodríguez and Francesc Pont, together with Manel Pomarol, from the Fauna Service of the Generalitat. And with the advice of scientists who know the species in depth: Gerard Bota (CTFC), Beatriz Arroyo (IREC), Santi Mañosa (UB) and Joan Estrada (Egrell).

All of us have joined forces to make the documentary possible this 2023, coinciding with the declaration of the Montagu's Harrier as "Bird of the Year 2023" by the SEO - Spanish Ornithological Society - Birdlife, precisely because of its alarming decline and the urgency of implementing protection measures. The documentary will broaden its focus on the conservation status of the species in agricultural environments in Spain, and also in the south of France, despite focusing on the history of the species and Urpa beer in the drylands of Lleida, as an inspiring precedent.. Therefore, it is planned to make a subtitled version of the documentary in Spanish, French and English.

Both in the Verkami crowdfunding campaign and in the dissemination of the documentary and its content, we have the support of the Descobrir Catalunya magazine, Cossetània Edicions, the Catalan Institute of Ornithology (ICO) and Oryx, the nature lover's shop. The Delta Birding Festival, the annual event for bird lovers, organized by the last two entities in the Mundo Natura Delta of the Fundació Catalunya la Pedrera, will also actively echo and support it.

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33 comments

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  • Pau Guillamon Lloret

    Pau Guillamon Lloret

    1 days

    Hola ,no he recibido el Código para la visualización online del documental



  • Cecilia Muñoz

    Cecilia Muñoz

    14 days

    Hola,no he recibido el enlace al documental

  • Didac Pardell Sangrà

    Didac Pardell Sangrà

    2 months

    Hola, la recompensa de les cerveses si que la vaig poder recollir al Delta Birding Festival, però com apunta la Carme respecte al documental no en se res més. S'ha estrenat ja? el podem veure per alguna plataforma o web? Gràcies!

  • Carme

    Carme

    3 months

    Hola... Com està el projecte? No he rebut informació de quan veure el documental ni la resta de recompenses...

    Gràcies!

  • Cal Marquès

    Cal Marquès

    10 months

    Ànims! em dic JM Baiget

  • Cal Marquès

    Cal Marquès

    10 months

    Ànims! em dic JM Baiget

  • Miquel Vivet

    Miquel Vivet

    11 months

    Un gran projecte!

  • Marta Jornet

    Marta Jornet

    11 months

    Enhorabona per el projecte! i bona feina, que ja arribeu al objectiu!

  • Oriol Cervera Subirats

    uricat25

    11 months

    Un projecte que mereix el suport de tots aquells/es a qui els importa el benestar de la biodiversitat del nostre país... i la cervesa artesana! Salut!

  • Margarita Calabrés

    Margarita Calabrés

    11 months

    M' encantan aquestes iniciativas. Tots plegats podem a conseguir grans projectes

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