A chat with Emanuela Durand

Hi all! This post is the first in a series of special ones: in these articles I’m not going to take you around our valleys and their stories, but, with the help of a guest, I’m going to tell you something curious about our territory. Today I’m together with the naturalist Emanuela Durand, who’s going to tell us about her job and her relationship with Waldensian Valleys.

First of all, please introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Emanuela, I was born in Rorà, in Val Pellice, and I live there. I’m a naturalist and a nature guide, I have a Natural Science degree and the idea behind my work is to make people love nature and our territory.

What do you like more in Waldensian Valleys?
I love the landscapes and many places in this area: for me “home” is this environment and our mountains. I think it’s important to give value to the beauty of these valleys, and for that I always try to encourage people to discover the mountains. Not only: I love to take naturalistic photos with a conscious approach and to use photography to highlight the aspects of nature that I’ve known through my studies.

Photo: Emanuela Durand

Ok, and if you had to choose something you don’t like, what would you say?
Well, I don’t like that people who lives here aren’t aware of the beauty that sorrounds them. Often we go and search for exotic places, but we ignore that there’s something beautiful right behind our backyard!

What would you do to give value to the Valleys?
One of the things I started to do recently is to try to spread what I learned about wild herbs writing my thesis. I did a class about this and I’d like to keep alive the knowledge that our ancestors had about the uses of edibles wildplants. When we walk through a meadow we step on a lot of herbs without even knowing that many of them could be great in a salad!

Emanuela showed me the herbal with dried herbs. Here you can see many plants that can be delicious in a omelette.

For instance?
A woman from Pomaretto told me that her aunt used to cook her a porridge made by milk, pastina and Elderflowers, but she confessed me that the final result wasn’t so good! But we sometimes forget that there are many delicious recipes, like the omelette made with aromatic herbs.

In collaboration with the museum of Natural Science of Torino, I’ve prepared an exposition about edible plants focused on the simplicity: my idea is to encourage people to read the informations about the plants, and this must be quick and easy.

Another example is the “miele degli uomini” (literally “the honey of the men”), that is absolutely not “real” honey, but a jelly made by dandelion flowers and it’s called in this way because the female bees, who actually make honey, don’t have anything to do with it!

Meeting Emanuela and her enthusiasm gave me the idea of doing something together, and so we organized Passeggiate con Valdesina, dedicated to kids between 5 and 12 years. The idea is to spend an afternoon discovering the territory, telling stories and making activities related to the local environment.
The first walk will take place in Luserna San Giovanni on Saturday, the 29th of April, when we’re starting to walk from the temple of San Giovanni and we’re arriving to Azienda agricola Belvedere.
The second event will be on Saturday, the 13th of May, in Pinasca: the departure is in Piazza Internati Militari Italiani and the arrival is at Fontana dell’Orsa.
For booking and informations, please write to passeggiate.valdesina@gmail.com.

I can’t wait the time to know you, my little friends!

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