Regional Natural Reserve and WWF Ghirardi Oasis

Nature

Regional Natural Reserve and WWF Ghirardi Oasis

The sixteenth-century building of the Ospitale Santo Spirito, already in medieval times a hostel for pilgrims traveling to Rome, houses in its large rooms the headquarters of the "G. Cortesi" geological museum.
Internationally known for conserving the fossil fauna of the type layer of the "Piacenziano" (land of marine origin between 3.5 and 2.5 million years ago), the museum now collects various collections that allow you to follow the evolutionary history of the river Po, from when this area was completely occupied by the sea until the appearance of man.
The Ghirardi Regional Nature Reserve and Oasi WWF preserves about 400 hectares of mountain landscape in the upper Taro valley, in the municipalities of Albareto and Borgo Val di Taro.
The territory is characterized by a pleasant patchwork of meadows, shrubs, mixed oak forests of turkey oak and hop-hornbeam, with precious patches of pedunculate oak wood and sessile oak with common hornbeam.
The extreme environmental variability favors the development of a very rich flora, including 36 species of orchids, from the common Orchis purpurea to the rare Epipactis microphylla.
The Reserve is a safe haven for many animals, which find in the variety of habitats a factor of diversification, so that, a few meters from the goshawk's nest, a boreal species, we find the tunnel dug nest of the Mediterranean bee-eater.
The species at the top of the ecological chain is the wolf: the immigration of a pack, in 2015 has reduced and made more shy the various species of ungulate present, wild boar, red deer, fallow deer and roe deer.
The WWF, with the collaboration of the Emilia Occidentale Parks Authority, deals with wildlife management.
The other task of the WWF is environmental education, aimed at schools, summer camps and the public visiting the valley.
At the Visitor Center in Case Pradelle, open as an information desk every Sunday of the year, about seventy events a year take place, including guided nature tours, small farming and breeding courses, art and photography workshops for adults and children, as well days dedicated to yoga, qi-gong and other wellness activities in nature.
At the Visitor Center it is also possible to book guided tours on horseback and courses to approach horse riding.
In case you prefer to get closer to nature individually, there are over 15 km of marked trails that can be accessed freely, taking care not to stray from them not to disturb the wildlife.

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