Confinement for some gives free reign to others! During Barcelona’s two-month coronavirus lockdown period the flora and fauna of the Collserola Natural Park, which typically requires careful maintenance to balance ecological protections with human enjoyment, was left to thrive without disturbance.

The synchronization of the lockdown with the spring season meant wildflowers bloomed with unprecedented intensity while the wildlife courted mates unabashedly.

The lack of vehicles on the surrounding urban roadways visibly improved the air quality of the park, and the birds seemed to sing more joyously in acknowledgement. Likewise, the lack of visitors eliminated any new litter from ending up in the soil or waterways, as the nightly chorus of croaking toads could attest.

The students living at Valldaura Labs, being among the very few who retained the privilege of accessing the park by virtue of their residence, cherished this once in a lifetime opportunity to witness a natural preserve so near a major urban center return, however briefly, to a more truly pristine condition.