World Wetlands Day 1998 in the Czech Republic
What 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.
This page is part of a series of reports on activities held on and about WWD '98 in various countries of the world, as reported to the Bureau. If you should know of any other activities not mentioned on these pages, send us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll add it to this list.
The Czech Republic
Ing. Marcela Kucerová and Mgr. Kevin Roche, of the Trebon Otter Foundation (email@example.com), sent this report on 22 March, on behalf of other institutions mentioned in the message:
We thought that you might like an update on the results of the exhibition we held in the Trebon Biosphere Reserve (Czech Republic) to celebrate World Wetlands Day.
Held between 19 January and 13 February, the exhibition represented a collaboration between four local organisations, the Trebon Otter Foundation, the administration office of the Trebon Protected Landscape area and Biosphere Reserve (CHKO and BR), the Botanic Institute of the Academy of Sciences and the Wetland Training Centre (an off-shoot of Wetlands International).
The aim of the exhibition was to make local people more aware of the value of the local wetlands and their role in the ecology of the area, the role of over 700 years of carp pond fishing in the region in the formation of this unique wetland system, as well as to highlight some of the growing problems for the local flora and fauna as the Czech Republic continues its economic expansion. As the exhibition coincided with the 20th anniversary of the regions status as a Biosphere Reserve, the role of the Ramsar Convention, the Bern Convention and CITES were also highlighted.
A range of posters on hydrological principles, wetland management and nature conservation were presented, including a series using the otter, as the top predator in the wetland ecosystem, to illustrate the principles of bio-corridors, food webs, bio-accumulation and other threats to the wetland wildlife. In addition, with valuable help from the National Museum in Brno and the Pavlov Otter Station (administered by the Czech Nature Protection Agency (AOPK)), a diorama of some of the wildlife species to be found in the Reserve was constructed to visually represent the wetland food pyramid. Lastly, a series of photographs of local rare or endangered species were shown and numerous information leaflets and books were available.
The exhibition was widely advertised in the local press and on TV and, though aimed primarily at the young, people from all age groups attended. At the end of the exhibition, over 1000 people had attended, representing almost 10% of the towns population! As a further sign of the success of the exhibition, we have been asked to present the posters at at least one University, a number of schools, two nearby towns and at a permanent exhibition site at the Pavlov Otter Breeding Station. To follow on from this initial success, the Trebon Otter Foundation will be holding a number of informal lectures at local schools on the otter and its role in wetlands and, in cooperation with the CHKO and BR administration, will be holding a schools photographic competition on wetlands and an essay competition on "a day in the life of an otter".
There is no doubt that the exhibition can be considered a success and, indeed, has formed the basis for a number of new initiatives regarding ecological education and nature conservation work in the area. We feel that the contacts made, the cooperation of many diverse groups and the interests aroused, particularly in the young, can only lead to better things for wetland conservation in the Czech Republic.
P.S. Lastly, as an organisation, we would find it useful to have some informational material or posters on wetland conservation topics (particularly species conservation). Could you send us some details on what is available and if any are produced in the Czech (or Slavic) language. By the way, I noticed on the World Wetland Day poster that there were no Slavic languages, except Russian!