World Wetlands Day 2002: Latvia

12/02/2002

World Wetlands Day 2002 in Latvia

The celebrations of the World wetlands day in Latvia started on 1 February, in a Latvian Nature museum. There took place a press conference in which participated a minister of nature protection and regional development - Vladimirs Makarovs; a head of nature protection department and also an administrative authority of Ramsar convention - Ilona Jepsena; a director of Kemeri national park - Linards Kaucis; a director of Gauja national park - Janis Strautnieks; a director of Teici nature reserve - Juris Jatnieks; and a deputy director of the Latvian Nature Museum - Skaidrite Ruskule.

The minister in his speech emphasized the importance of Latvia's rich cultural heritage of wetlands, Mrs. Jepsena expressed her pleasure that the Ramsar convention has evolved from its beginnings when it focused more on a protection of waterfowl species to nowadays when it understands the need to protect a whole wetland biotope taking into account its many natural and cultural aspects. The directors of the Gauja and Kemeri national parks informed about the World wetlands day events in these protected areas, but the director of the Teici nature reserve recognized that our wetlands are our nature wealth. Mrs. Ruskule announced an essay competition for school children - "The cultural heritage of our wetlands".

Journalists from Latvian and Russian newspapers, Latvian and Russian radio and Latvian television were present in the press conference. After the press conference the journalists took interviews from the directors of the protected areas about the events of the World Wetlands Day. Later the participants of the press conference made for an excursion in the Latvian nature museum.

The events in the Kemeri national park took place on 2 February. An organiser Irena Jefimova (a specialist of public relations of a project "Development and implementation of a nature management plan of the Kemeri national park") writes:

"On the 2 February a rain and a slush created an appropriate environment to celebrate the World Wetlands Day in the Kemeri national park. This event brought together young and old. Some of them came just to take a look at a photo exhibition about a Kanieris lake and best pictures of a children's drawing competition. A few were hardy enough to listen a presentation with slides about waterfowl species that breed in the Kanieris lake and migrate through it. There was also a possibility to watch a movie about a management and a protection of the wetlands in other parts of the world.

Children and youth enjoyed a small competition that tested their knowledge about the Kemeri national park and the wetlands. They had to mention the name of the director of the Kemeri national park, to know another Latvian name for cormorant and which species breeds most abundantly in the Kanieris lake. Awarding of winners of the children's drawing and stories competitions followed this.

All participants of children's competitions (especially those who did not receive any awards this time) were invited to a party that will take place outdoors when the weather will be warmer. The responsiveness of the schools was great.

A couple of events took place at the Kanieris lake. The national park with the help of EUCC unveiled an information stand near a bout base of the lake.

There was also invited an expert angler, who showed some of his special skills angling under the ice."

Best wishes,
Ilze Strausa
ilze@dabasmuzejs.gov.lv


18 February 2002
Subject: Competition, Latvia

Dear Sandra, you asked me to inform you if we go further with a competition for school children. So - yes, we do! I have attached to this e-mail a regulation of competition (in English), last week the Latvian version of it was sent to biology teachers of Latvia's schools. (The word "wetland" in Latvian is new and actually it sounds like a strange small animal - that is why I had to include a definition of the wetland in the text.) The first teachers have started to phone so I think everything goes well. We decided it will be better if school children write essays in Latvian, therefore after the awarding of the best authors I shall translate their essays and send to you.

Best wishes, Ilze

P.S. The competition was announced on 1 February in the press conference about WWD 2002 in the Latvian Nature museum. I sent information about it to Dwight Peck.

Here are the rules for the new competition, jointly sponsored by sponsored by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the Latvian Nature Museum, and the publishers Zvaignze ABC.

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