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Locals about Park Abbey: Raf

“The abbey is a unique area”

Abdij van Park | In de kijker

In September, Raf Aerts (42) practised sports every day at Park Abbey for the #3030 challenge. The aim was to practise sports in natural surroundings for at least 30 minutes for 30 days. “The abbey is an ideal base to be active. But I enjoy the natural splendour on and around the site even more.”

Raf, originally from Edegem in Antwerp, has lived near the abbey for more than 10 years. He sees the site every day. “It is a beautiful nature reserve close to the city and near my home. I work at the KU Leuven in the Forest, Nature and Landscape department. I am a massive nature lover,” says Raf.

This is also apparent from his engagement as a Friend of the Abbey. “Together with my wife Eva, daughter Lente and a number of friends we move salamanders migrating from the railway embankments to the pond in the spring. Over the space of a couple of years, Park Abbey has thus turned into a site with an exceptionally large number of small water salamanders. ”

Bird spotting

Raf also enjoys bird spotting at Park Abbey. “Each year, we find some rare varieties. This year a black-winged stilt stayed on the mud of the second pond for a couple of days. A couple of years ago I even spotted a little bittern, a squacco heron, and a bittern. The abbey is a unique area. If we’re lucky we should find beavers here again soon.”

Also read the story of Mano