World Wetlands Day 1998 -- planned activities round the world

12/10/1997

WWD posterWhat is World Wetlands Day? At the 19th meeting of the Standing Committee, in late October 1996, World Wetlands Day was officially designated for 2 February of every year, the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, as an opportunity for governments, organizations, and citizens to undertake big and small actions intended to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. In February 1997, only a few months later, a considerable number of countries undertook a wide range of activities aimed at using WWD to raise public awareness, and the great hope is that the response will be even better in 1998.  This Web page will try to monitor the planning before the event, and the results after it, as promptly as we receive input from the field.

This is a list of all the planned WWD '98 activities so far reported to the Bureau.  Make a note in your datebook: on 3 February, send us a report on what you did for World Wetlands Day, how it was received, how much fun you had, casualty rates, whatever.

List of activities reported to the Bureau so far.


Activities Planned for World Wetlands Day 1998

First . . . the Ramsar Bureau: The Bureau has unveiled a number of new initiatives in commemoration of World Wetlands Day 1998, including the launching of the Evian Project and the Wise Use Resource Centre.  

World Wetlands Day '98 at the Ramsar Bureau

Now, CP by CP . . . . . . .

ALGERIA: A faxed letter from the Directeur Général des Forêts indicates that Algeria is organizing a schoolchildren's art contest with prizes for the best 10 drawings; seminars for the public to be organized by the universities and the Direction générale des forêts; four days of open house including presentations of films, slide shows, posters, and photos, and distribution of a poster; the first meeting of the "Groupe de travail sur les zones humides" (Wetlands Working Group); and a number of approaches to the national media.

ANTIGUA: Gillian Cooper of the Environmental Awareness Group (eag@candw.ag) in St. John's, Antigua, is building World Wetlands Day posters into their Wetlands Conservation Project, which involves an assessment and dialogue with communities adjacent to the wetlands to discover community uses and existing management practices.  EAG is also doing a national biophysical inventory of the wetland sites of Antigua and Barbuda as part of the same project.

AUSTRALIA in general: The clearinghouse for information on WWD in Australia is the Wetlands, Waterways and Waterbirds Unit, Environment Australia - Biodiversity Group -- see their bulletin board for details (http://www.anca.gov.au/environm/wetlands/bullboad.htm). Here's their overview: Bulletin Board, last updated 21 January 1998: Shortland Wetlands Centre, Newcastle, presents "Buskers with the Birds", Sunday 1 February; Bicentennial Park, Homebush Bay "Lake Belvedere", "Wetlands Explorer Train" & "Blue-green algae program"; Department of Land & Water Conservation, Leeton, is hosting a tour of Fivebough Swamp; Murrumbidgee Wetlands Working Group is holding a wetlands display in Griffith; Murder Under the Microscope - Pro-Challenge 98 - a world first environmental "whodunnit"; Department of Conservation and Land Management, WA, will be commencing courses on "waterbird identification for absolute beginners"; Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory is running many activities at the "Window on the Wetlands Visitor Centre".

AUSTRALIA: Peter Morante (fax +61 2 9764 4886) notes from the Bicentennial Park Trust in Homebush Bay, Sydney (site of the "Green Olympics" slated for 2000 and, if present plans should come to a happy conclusion, home of the first "virtual Ramsar site" in a few years' time) that World Wetlands Week will be celebrated from Sunday the 1st through Friday the 6th of February, with guided walks and "Explorer Tours" (on the Wetlands Explorer Train) throughout the week and a special preview for teachers of the Field Studies Centre's Blue-Green Algae Management Plan.

AUSTRALIA more: The Shortland Wetlands Centre plans a second go-round of its very successful "Buskers with the Birds" event first unveiled for WWD '97. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is attempting to tie WWD to television reporting related to recent flooding in the area and its run-off effects on the Reef (Jacque Hyne, j.hyne@gbrmpa.gov.au). Ocean Watch, which is the environmental watchdog for the New South Wales commercial fishing industry, will use the occasion of WWD '98 to publicize its project in the Clarence River (Far North Coast of NSW) identifying and prioritizing wetlands for restoration (Krissie Auld, oceanwch@geko.net.au).

AUSTRALIA more: Leeton, New South Wales, will celebrate World Wetlands Day by holding a guided tour of Fivebough Swamp. Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps have been recognised as being of national and international importance because of the number of some species of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere that are found there. These sites have tremendous potential as an educational resource, as sites for further research and as ecotourism destinations. The tour is planned for the eve of World Wetlands Day and will be held on behalf of the Murrumbidgee Wetlands Working Group. Tour Guide: Mike Schultz.

AUSTRALIA predictably still more: Environment Australia, Biodiversity Group, advises that the following list of activities presently looks tentatively positive and provisionally certain to take place for WWDay/Week: release Northern Territory Wetlands Strategy; display "Window on Wetlands" at a wetland west of Kakadu NP; release a map of Brisbane wetlands; release a book on Moreton Bay flora and fauna; interactive display for schoolchildren at Leeton shopping centre; dedication of Corner Inlet Shorebird Reserve Network site; launch interpretive signs for Ramsar sites; possible Tasmanian event at a new wetland launching a Wetlands Policy; possibly announce Natural Heritage Trust projects and a Wetlands Coordinating Committee in Western Australia; possibly release some environmental flows documents in South Australia.  Not to be missed!

AUSTRALIA: Murder Pro-Challenge is a World First environmental "whodunnit" for senior secondary and undergraduate environmental managers! Murder Pro-Challenge is a web-based game delivered on the internet and comes with a CD-ROM full of intriguing wetland activities. It is a nationwide competition to understand the principles of wetlands and catchment management. Students are empowered to make informed decision about the environment, and have a load of fun in the process. Registrations for Murder Pro-Challenge coincide with World Wetlands Week. To find out more click here (sorry, URL missing; we'll investigate.).

BRAZIL: In the state of Bahia, Eduardo Mendes da Silva (dasilva@cygnus.ci.uc.pt) and his students in limnology at the Instituto de Biología da Universidade Federal de Bahia, will be visiting a number of wetlands on the northern shores of the state on World Wetlands Day and, together with NGOs, will issue some press releases emphasizing the values and benefits of wetlands for local communities.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: Lianna Jarecki of the HLS Community College (ljarecki@igc.apc.org) is working with the Department of Education, the National Parks Trust, and the local College's Nature Club to organise the following activities for February 2nd: A slide show on mangrove wetlands at the main high school; field trips to mangrove wetlands for primary school children and college students; a radio-broadcast on the importance of mangrove wetlands; and a news release on World Wetlands Day. Lianna Jarecki is presently studying the ecology of hypersaline-pond mangrove wetlands in areas slated for tourism development.

CANADA: Ron Coley (r_coley@ducks.ca) reports that "Ducks Unlimited will be holding a major fundraising event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in conjunction with World Wetlands Day in February 1998. All proceeds will go to Oak Hammock Marsh Conservation and Interpretive Centre for educational programs directed to a better understanding of the value of wetlands to the environment, society, and the economy."

CANADA bis: The Wetlands Research Centre at the University of Waterloo is planning "to make celebrations at Waterloo the premiere event for World Wetlands Day in Canada".  Dr Barry Warner (bwarner@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca) has sent us an outline of the planned activities and will keep us informed on the following Web site as the plans mature (http://www.fes.uwaterloo.ca/Research/Wetlands/).

CANADA, Newfoundland: The Eastern Habitat Joint Venture in St. John's plans activities at the Grand Codroy Estuary Ramsar site to promote WWD and will be giving talks at the local school.  The local rural development association are very active in promoting their wetlands and are currently renovating an interpretation building, and the EHJV will be presenting the community with two mounted waterfowl to get them started in their display.  One of the teachers at the school is using the Codroy Management Plan as part of the social studies curriculum.  For details, Gerry Yetman, EHJV Biologist (gyetman@wild.dnr.gov.nf.ca)

CHILE:Francisco Orrego Vicuña (forrego@abello.dic.uchile.cl) of the Institute of International Studies, University of Chile, reports that a group of friends of the El Yali Ramsar site plans a number of initiatives for WWD ’98: "With the support of private business we are rebuilding the enclosures of El Yali Wetland along the beach, destroyed by jeeps and vehicles and winter storms. Also with support from the private sector, we are printing a large number of posters indicating the importance of the wetland and the duty to protect it, which will be placed in the whole area as well as in neighboring cities, schools and other. Your own poster will be added in this context. Finally, with the support of the Municipality of Santo Domingo, a decree is being enacted prohibiting vehicles in the area, as well as the use of boats, windsurfs and other nautical vehicles, and we hope to coordinate the signing of this decree with the occasion of WWD."

CHINA: The Wetland Resources Monitoring Centre in the Ministry of Forestry, Beijing, we hear from Huang Guilin (ewmc@public.bta.net.cn)  is placing a series of articles about wetland conservation and monitoring focused on World Wetlands Day in the China Green Times on 2 February.

CHINA -- HONG KONG: Pauline Tsang (maipo@wwf.org.hk) of WWF Hong Kong and the Mai Po Nature Reserve reports that WWF Hong Kong will be focusing on the theme of "Wetlands and the Disabled" and plans a large range of activities for 2 Feb., including a word search game, already distributed to specials schools for the disabled, wetlands-related issues in every Monday's Nature Notes in the South China Morning Post, an Internet game on http://www.wwf.org.hk, and a presentation of prizes on 1 February at Mai Po, with paralympic athletes presenting prizes to the word search winners.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Jana Jandová writes that the Trebon Basin Landscape Area and Biosphere Reserve, the Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Trebon International Wetland Training Centre, and the Trebon Otter Foundation are cooperating in the preparation of an exhibition on protection of wetlands on both local and international levels, to be unveiled on WWD '98.

FRANCE: On 27 January the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the French Global Environment Facility, the Conservatoire du Littoral, the city of Evian, France, and the directors general of the Danone Group and its subsidiary Evian Mineral Waters participated in the signing of a protocol with the Ramsar Convention establishing the "Evian Project" in time for its announcement on WWD (see more information elsewhere on this site). In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the Ramsar designation of the Baie du Somme on the coast of the Picardie Region in northeast France as its WWD designation for 1998.

FRENCH GUIANA: In French Guiana, the NGO Pou d'Agouti, which works in close association with local Maroon, Amerindian, and Creole population, plans to celebrate WWD with a press release drawing attention to the two Ramsar sites in the area, Basse Mana and the Marais de Kaw.  The president, Kris Wood (POU-AGOUTI@Mdi-guyane.fr), reports that both sites are scheduled to become nature reserves in 1998.

GHANA: David G. Kpelle, the Chief Wildlife Officer in the Wildlife Department (wildlife@ncs.com.gh) reports that "the Wildlife Department, under the Coastal Wetlands Management Project, is making preparations for holding a press conference in Accra and other educational programmes at other places, such as the six Ramsar sites and the 16 other protected areas of Ghana". 

GREECE:The Administrative Authority in Greece reports the following plans for WWD: A media release by the Deputy Minister of Environment, Public Works & Physical Planning; national broadcast of a TV documentary on Greek Wetlands prepared by the Ministry; a public lecture and slide-show in Athens; Ramsar-site Information Centre activities to raise awareness in schools and amongst the general public in local communities; use of a special WWD "seal" by the Greek postal service, throughout February; nationwide drawing and composition competition for primary schools, organized by the Ministry of Education.

GUATEMALA:Con el fin de celebrar el Dia Mundial de los Humedales el Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP), esta organizando una serie de conferencias para el lunes 2 de febrero. Se expondran temas generales acerca de los humedales, la Convencion de Ramsar en Guatemala y temas sobre la importancia, situacion actual y conservacion de los tres sitios Ramsar en Guatemala (Laguna del Tigre, Manchon-Guamuchal y Bocas del Polochic). [In order to celebrate WWD in Guatemala the National Council for Protected Areas (CONAP), is organising a series of conferences to be held next Monday 2 February. The themes included are generalities on wetlands, the Ramsar Convention in Guatemala and the importance, current situation and conservation of the three Ramsar sites in Guatemala.]

GUINEA: The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Forests plans speeches and visits, to be held in the presence of officials at the highest level, at the Delta Konkouré Ramsar site; here's the rationale and programme.

HUNGARY: The Minister of Environment has convoked a press conference to describe recent achievements in wetland conservation and implementation of the Ramsar Convention during the term of office of the present government, prior to May's elections.  Radio Kossuth's popular "Oxigen" program will broacast a discussion of wetlands and Ramsar.  And the Ramsar Manual and Strategic Plan have been translated into Hungarian for the occasion.

ICELAND:The Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds and the Nature Conservancy Agency are working together on organising World Wetlands Day in Iceland. There will be newspaper articles about the Ramsar Convention and Ramsar sites in Iceland, together with an article on World Wetlands Day, which discusses wetland use and conservation in Iceland. The articles will appear in the widest circulation newspaper in Iceland on Saturday 31 January. On the evening of 2 February, two lectures (one about Myvatn Ramsar site, the other on wetland restoration in Iceland) have been organized. Finally, press releases on World Wetlands Day are being sent to all the major media companies (radio, television and newspapers). (Dr. Olafur Einarsson, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Reykjavik, oein@nattfs.is)

INDIA: Dr Brij Gopal (brij@jnuniv.ernet.in), award-winning wetland conservationist, writes from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, that WWD '98 will be preceded by an international conference on Asian wetlands, 29-31 January, with a one-day function on 2 February to release a brochure and poster on wetlands for distribution in schools and colleges.

INDIA bis: The Manipur Association for Science and Society is organizing a Wetland Cycle Rally around Loktak Lake Ramsar site for the morning of WWD and a symposium on "People and Loktak and Other Wetlands of Manipur" for the evening, notes Dr R. K. Ranjan Singh, general secretary of the Association in Imphal.  Also, Bittu Sahgal, editor of Sanctuary Magazine, appealed for action in Mumbai (Bombay) and convoked a meeting of the Bombay Natural History Society for 2 February.

INDONESIA: Ho Yim Cheng of Wetlands International (hycheng@wiap.nasionet.net) reports that WWD '98 will be celebrated by two seminars, planned in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and national NGOs, and the launching of a book entitled "The National Strategy and Action Plan for the Management of Indonesia Wetlands" in the Indonesian language. A national NGO is also planning a wetland awareness campaign for schoolchildren along the Ciliwung River.

ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN: Dr Davoud Rahbar in the Department of the Environment advises that programmes are scheduled for WWD to include discussions and public presentations over a wide range of technical and public relations issues.

ISRAEL: Dr Reuven Ortal (fax +972 2 374887) writes that "in Israel there is a long tradition of celebrating nature conservation issues with all the 'green' institutions and NGOs during a week in early spring, around the date of the Jewish holiday of 'Too Beshvat', the new year for the trees.  Every year the week is devoted to a different issue -- the proposed issue for 1998 is "wild flowers," including wetland flowers, and many of the proposed activities will take place in wetlands and aquatic reserves.  The 'Wild Flowers Week' will take place this year from the 7th to the 14th of February." 

JAPAN: Yoshihiko Miyabayashi (yym@mub.biglobe.ne.jp) of the Japanese Association for Wild Geese Protection (JAWGP) reports that a number of activities are planned for the Miyagi region in northern Japan, including a wild goose count involving participation of the public, and JAWGP has set up a Web page to keep track of the planning: it's good, try it out, http://www2m.biglobe.ne.jp/~wwd/ .   Minoru Kashiwagi of the Japan Wetlands Action Network, JAWAN (tae04312@niftyserve.or.jp) provided a description of a monitoring project for Isahaya Bay to be coordinated with World Wetlands Day.

LUXEMBOURG:We learn from Caroline Theves (secretary@luxnatur.lu) that "La "Lëtzebuerger Natur- a Vulleschutzliga" en collaboration avec la fondation "Hëllef fir d’Natur" et la "Maison de la Nature" a l’intention de contribuer activement à la Journée Mondiale des Zones humides. Des visites guidées pour enfants, classes d’école et pour adultes sont en planification aussi bien qu’une exposition dans les locaux de la "Maison de la Nature" et des actions avec la presse orale et écrite. De nombreuses activités d’éducation et de sensibilisation du public à la conservation et à l’utilisation durable des zones humides sont donc déjà en préparation, en particulière des émissions RTL Radio au sujet de la protection des zones humides."

MALAYSIA: The Malaysia Programme office of Wetlands International is planning a one-week exhibition centered upon WWD for a popular shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, as well as a two-day exhibition at the Tasik Bera Ramsar site, Pahang, with recreational activities, competitions (including canoe and sampan races, competitions on drawing, fishing, and photography), and cultural shows, planned for the end of February '98. Here is a fuller description, sent to us by Ho Yim Cheng of Wetlands International.

NETHERLANDS: Edmund Oh Joo Vin (oh@ihe.nl) writes that faculty and students at the Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering in Delft will devote some of 2 February's lectures to WWD themes, view some video documentaries, and distribute the Bureau's background materials on WWD amongst classmates.

NEW ZEALAND: Philippe Gerbeaux (pgerbeaux@doc.govt.nz) reports that in his part of the Department of Conservation's bailiwick they have nearly completed their mapping exercise for the West Coast Conservancy and plan to display the results in coordination with World Wetlands Day, as well as give slide shows on wetland values and functions.

NORWAY: Jostein Sandvik of Norsk Ornitologisk Forening (BirdLife Norway, norornis@online.no), based in Klæbu, Norway, writes that "We are going to have an outdoor meeting/press conference at Nordre Tyrifjorden Ramsar site, to focus on the increasing problem of the disturbances and destruction of wetlands in general and Ramsar sites in special. We have invited the Minister of Environment, Øystein Størkersen from the Directorate of Nature Management, and other officials and a lot of press. The new problems in the Norwegian Ramsar sites since [Bureau personnel] visited us last summer are: Froan -- moving salmon farms into the Ramsar site, and Grandefjæra – planned windmills. We are going to have some short talks at the WWD; would it be possible for you to send us a few words of greeting from the Ramsar secretariat which we could read at the meeting?"

PERU: We learn from the administrative authority, INRENA (Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales) that on 2 February a preliminary report will be made of birdcount surveys carried out at the seven Ramsar sites during the last week of January; press materials on WWD will be distributed and there will be exhibitions and ceremonies held at each of the seven sites. In addition, Luis Morante Alvarado of Lima (moranteing@amauta.rcp.net.pe) reports that WWD material will be placed in the El Comercio newspaper and on the radio (Cadena Peruana de Noticias).

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Philippa Walsh of Green Korea (environ@chollian.dacom.co.kr) advises that as South Korea has so recently joined the Convention there hasn't been time to organize any "big events", but representations to the media are planned, possibly highlighting their project with the Kanghwa Island community to develop a sustainable management plan and ecotourism options as an alternative to the reclamation and dumping from a coal-powered power plant previously proposed for their tidal wetlands.

SLOVENIA: Andrej Sovinc reports that the administrative authority, the State Authority for Nature Conservation, Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, in Ljubljana is planning a press conference on WWD to emphasize the functions and benefits of wetlands and the aims and benefits of participation in the Ramsar Convention, and a poster and brochure is being produced for the occasion.  Further info from Gordana Beltram (gordana.beltram@mopuvn.sigov.mail.si).

SOUTH AFRICA: As part of WWD '98 in South Africa, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in Pretoria is hosting a southern African Ramsar subregional workshop, 2-5 February, and details are available from Retha van der Walt (nat_rvdw@ozone.pwv.gov.za).

SPAIN: Juan Deán of the Sociedad de Ciencias Naturales (asitec@vsa.es) reports that a WWD campaign on Ramsar sites in the Navarre region and wetlands in general is being planned, using local newspapers, radio and TV channels, and their own Web site (http://www.redestb.es/personal/alfonso1511/), including arranging visits to their own Ramsar sites, Laguna de Pitillas and Embalse de las Cañas. Also, ADENEX (the Asociación para la Defensa de la Naturaleza y los Recursos de Extremadura, adenex@bme.es) will set up observation points for aquatic birds in some of the wetlands of the region, and at 11 a.m. ADENEX ornithologists will demonstrate, with the aid of telescopes and fieldglasses, the impressive riches of the local wetlands in winter. In addition, communications are being made to the press, radio, and television with information on the wetlands of Extremadura, Spain, and the world, and a WWD page will be published on the ADENEX Web site (http://www.bme.es/adenex).

SPAIN bis. The Grup Balear d'Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa (GOB, gob@ocea.es) in Palma de Mallorca reports that the GOB-Mallorca plans to spend 1 and 2 February engaging the media's attention to World Wetlands Day and publicizing the critical situation of the wetlands in Mallorca and the Balearics in general (his list is reproduced here); organizing visits to the s'Albufera Ramsar site for children's groups, and launching a new Web page on the GOB's Web site (http://www.ocea.es/gob/home.htm).

SWITZERLAND: On WWD, BirdLife Switzerland (Association Suisse pour la protection des oiseaux) and Pro Natura, two of the country's leading conservation NGOs) are hosting a press conference in the capital city, Berne, at which they will launch a 14,000-signature petition calling on the Federal and Cantonal authorities to do more for the conservation and wise use of Swiss wetlands.  For further information, fax BirdLife Switzerland (+41 1 461 4778) or Pro Natura (+41 61 317 9166). In addition, on WWD a resolution will be put before the Grand Conseil of Geneva calling for the extension of the Rade de Genève et Rhône Ramsar site to a transborder Ramsar site shared with neighboring France; Denis Landenbergue has given us a brief description in the three languages.

THAILAND: Paul Erftemeijer (epaul@ratree.psu.ac.th), Wetlands International - Thailand Programme, says that activities planned for the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, scheduled to be proposed as one of Thailand's first Ramsar sites when that nation joins the Convention, have had to be postponed, but that much more is on tap.  Here's Paul's description of the present state of the plans.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Nadra Nathai-Gyan (n.gyanwl@trinidad.net) advises that there will be a poster competition for 10-11 year old students at selected schools near wetland areas; the posters will then be displayed at the Pointe-à-Pierre Wildfowl Trust, an NGO Trust for breeding and release of endangered waterfowl, and the winning students will be given prizes, courtesy of the Wildlife Section, Forestry Division. Additionally, the schools will be given free interpretive trips to the Trust. An environmental walk is taking place as an initiative of the community at Kernahan (part of the Ramsar site) and the Wildlife Section which will further help to raise consciousness of the importance of this critical site. The members of the National Wetland Committee have been urged to write articles for the media and they are exploring a television appearance.

TURKEY: The General Director for Environmental Protection in the Ministry of Environment, Fahri Akben, advised that "In order to celebrate World Wetlands Day, 2 February 1998, we have planned the following activities in our country: 1) The existing Ramsar boundaries of Lake Burdur and Lake Manyas (Kus) will be extended to include the whole wetland ecosystem of these two sites.  In addition, technical works will be completed for four new sites (Lake Akyatan, Lake Uluabat, Kizilirmak Delta, and Gediz Delta) in order to be included in the Ramsar List.  All of these new sites will be declared as Ramsar sites on WWD in February 1998. 2) Nine brochures of existing and new Ramsar sites have been prepared and will be distributed on 2 February 1998 to increase public awareness. 3) A meeting on Wetlands Functions and Values will be organized on 2 February. 4) A photograph exhibition will be opened to advertise wetlands on 2 February."

UKRAINE: We learn from Natasha Goriup (edv@naturebureau.co.uk) and Anna Galitskaya of Ecocentre Delta in Vilkovo that WWD will be celebrated in the Ukraine Danube Delta with a programme of activities that includes distribution of a wetlands information pack, focusing on the Ramsar Convention and the virtues of the four Ramsar sites located in the Ukrainian delta area, local meetings for officials and the public, children's wetland painting exhibitions in the schools, distribution and display of posters, press releases for local newspapers, and interviews with local televisions stations.

UNITED KINGDOM: The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reports plans for activities at various WWT Centres around the UK, including a tour of the Musical MudflatsHere's the schedule.

UNITED KINGDOM, Somerset: Peat Moors Centre, Shapwick Road, Westhay (+44 1458 860697) is open, free of charge on February 2nd to celebrate the day. Specialises in the rich archaeological (6000-year-old wooden trackways and natural heritage of the Brue valley wetlands, with guided walks into the National Nature Reserve. At Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve, English Nature are harvesting the first crop of reeds for the first time in living memory in Somerset. There will also be a reed-cutting trial on the day (+44 1823 283211). Also open (free) is the Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre, Meare Green Court, Stoke St Gregory (+44 1823 490249) which has displays of willow baskets and their weaving and an RSPB display on the wetland birds of West Sedgemoor. We have also included details of the Convention and the above events on Somerset Levels & Moors Wetland Website at www.somerset.gov.uk/levels. Thanks to Doug Taylor (dougtaylor@somerset.gov.uk), Somerset Levels and Moors Wetlands officer, for this information.

UNITED KINGDOM more: In celebration of World Wetlands Day, Michael Meacher, the Minister for the Environment, will be launching the UK's national implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan at Barn Elms Wetland Centre, London, on 2 February. Following the same structure as the global Plan adopted at COP6 in Brisbane, the UK version will detail national actions and targets. Also on 2 February, the UK Government is expected to announce the designation of three new sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance. Finally, on the west coast of Wales, Ynyslas Visitors Centre, part of the Dyfi Ramsar Site and National Nature Reserve, will host a week of educational and community events to mark World Wetlands Day. In conjunction with the Environment Agency, a "Wetlands of Wales" poster has been produced for free distribution to visitors, who will also be able to benefit from special guided tours, presentations and displays.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:We hear from Jim Corven (jmcorven@manomet.org) of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts, USA: "We have just published the Ramsar WWD announcement in the January 1998 issue of WHSRNews and we posted the announcement on our Web page. I'd like to inform you too that, in our own small way, we are launching a new Wetlands Web page in coordination with the celebrations of WWD (http://www.manomet.org/backup/Wetland.htm). This site will contain broad information on wetlands conservation programs such as the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), the National Shorebird Plan, our Wetlands Biomonitoring programs, the Save Our Migratory Birds (SOMB) educational program, and the International Shorebird Survey (ISS). We have included a Newsletter section, Publications, Events, Wetlands links, and will soon have population monitoring data and reports available. As you can appreciate, establishing a new web page can be a time-consuming process and we are making good progress, but it will take some additional work to be fully operational. I expect that by Feb. 2 we will be in very good shape. Hope this is useful to you, thanks again for keeping us informed. Cheers, Jim."

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Alan Wentz (awentz@ducks.org) notes that Ducks Unlimited is putting Ramsar materials for WWD on its Web site's Hot News Page (http://www.ducks.org), which gets several thousand hits a day, and including them in the DU Leader newsletter, which reaches 80,000 wetland conservationists and DU volunteers across the USA. Sharon and Joseph Brown report that Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife (beavers@telenet.net) celebrated WWD by launching a month-long exhibit on the role of beavers in creating and maintaining wetlands at the Little Falls (New York) Library.

VENEZUELA: See the press release by Rafael Rodriguez Altamiranda (in Spanish), reprinted from the second largest newspaper in the nation.


World Wetlands Day 1997 -- some reports of last year's activities

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