With his binoculars around his neck, he scours the paths, ears open and smiling. In the heart of the nature reserve in Les Contamines, Geoffrey is in his element. This young man has been guardian of the reserve since 2002. After completing his studies in management and nature protection he was employed by ASTERS (the conservatory for natural areas in the region).
“I always wanted to do this job”, says Geoffrey, a native of Annecy. “I’ve been cradled by the mountains and have always enjoyed observing the fauna and flora”.
With more than 670 varieties of flowers and 70 species of breeding birds identified, it is suffice to say that the guardian here has no shortage of work.
“For a wildlife enthusiast like me, it is extraordinary”, says Geoffrey. “This nature reserve is the highest in France and the only crossed by the Tour du Mont-Blanc hiking itinerary. Plus, as the range in altitude is vast (from 1200 to 3900 metres); the range of species is extremely varied. Water is present here in every form; bogs, lakes, torrents and glaciers”.
Throughout the year, in all weather, Geoffrey travels tens of kilometres every day. He creates public awareness of the environment, deals with those disrespectful of nature and their surroundings and collaborates in scientific studies. The job is extremely varied. He recently participated in the creation of the new trail towards the Conscrits refuge hut to ensure the best protection for the species present here.
«What makes me proud is when locals understand the importance of protecting nature. This makes me feel useful and enables me to contribute to the reasoned and concerted development of this beautiful corner of the mountains”.
Photos : © Zir