You can find this interview in Letter N°4 sent to the members of the Friends of the Tour du Valat.
Delphine Nicolas is researcher at the Tour du Valat for the conservation biology of fish species.
When did you first visit Tour du Valat and what was the occasion?
It was my birthday, in October 2015. I came for a job interview. And … I returned two months later as a new researcher for the conservation biology of fish species, to take over from Alain Crivelli. Youpi!
What was your first impression?
My very first impression: I was surprised by the number of cars parked under the plane trees… There are many people in lost place! An isolation that certainly contributes to the spirit of refuge and the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that reigns there. Warm welcome and all smiles…
I gradually discovered the atypical world of the Tour du Valat: ornithologists and other naturalists, researchers and / or managers, all passionate and excited, a large estate with horses and bulls, a school, a castle, Homemade grape juice … I quickly fell in love with it.
What is your best memory at Tour du Valat?
One winter’s evening, I went home by bike … when suddenly, a flight of cranes passed a few meters above my head … what a thrill!
What was your best encounter at the Tour du Valat?
I will simply say the magic of Tour du Valat: working in a reserve, an open-air laboratory in direct contact with nature and its seasonal rhythms, around which gravitates a whole set of actors. A complex context in which a rare diversity of encounters multiply: scientists, fishermen, students, managers, elected officials, photographers, financers, artists, teachers, etc. In addition, the Tour du Valat, enables exchanges with foreign partners. I will mention in particular the Slovenian team of Dušan Jesenšek with whom I work twice a year. A very nice meeting with employees with a big heart, in a positive context – magnificent!
What emblematic species of Camargue do you prefer?
The European eel, for sure! A species that has an incredible life cycle. It travels thousands of kilometers, it can venture into all aquatic environments, from the great ocean depths to streams above 1000m altitude, it metamorphoses twice … and still makes many mysteries. A remarkable beast for sure, but beware this species is critically in danger of extinction!
Why did you join the Friends of Tour du Valat Association?
To support the associative life of the Tour, discover the originality of our site to the maximum, share our discoveries and maintain the links with the former colleagues or the curious.
Do you have any advice or messages to pass on to the future generations who will come spend some time at Tour du Valat?
This is the place to learn about wetlands, its inhabitants and even more its affinities. Be curious and open your senses of observation, get into amphibious mode, diurnal or nocturnal, with optional binoculars or microscope … Enjoy participating in the wide variety of field activities (count toads or rabbits , raising dragonflies or planting pear trees, banding ibis or removing invasive plants, calf testing, catching terrapins or fish, etc.). Enjoy the beautiful library, seminars, exchange with specialists or less specialists … And become an ambassador for wetlands!