World Wetlands Day 2003:



Reported by Artur Wiatr, Head of EcoEducation and tourism at the Biebrza National Park

World Wetlands Day 2003 in Biebrza National Park

As it does each year, Biebrza National Park (BNP) organized an educational event on WWD this year.

The celebration took place in the newly-built headquarters of BNP's  “Education and Management center” on February 11 and 12. The event was aimed at primary school pupils from 5 selected primary schools situated near the park.

Since this year’s theme of WWD was “No wetlands – no water” and 2003 is a Water Year we decided to deliver as much information and activity about water as possible.

First, all the participants listened to a general lecture on water on Earth and Biebrza NP (with a slide show). Then, three different workshops were carried out by staff of the park.

The first workshop, “About water drops”,  delivered information about water sources and the water cycle. A basic chemical analysis of water brought by kids from different sources (river, streams, wells etc) from their immediate  vicinity was completed. Kids found out that water from the Biebrza region has a good quality.

The second workshop was entitled “A journey into a peatland”. Basic information about peat creation and peat resources within Biebrza Valley was given to the pupils. Next, they prepared samples of peat moss and looked at them through microscopes to discover the empty cells that store water. For most of them it was the first time they had used a microscope. Afterwards, they all figured out why peatlands are so important for water and people.

The third workshop “Adventure with tradition” was about the wise use of wetlands. We invited local artists to tell and show how artists can be inspired by the beauty of the Biebrza Wetlands. Kids were able to practice wood carving, glass painting and other traditional handcrafts. We showed them how natural products of wetlands, for example willow branches, can be utilised by farmers. The pupils learned how to prepare wooden baskets or a small decorative fence.

Summing up, 120 pupils participated in the celebration. They seemed very happy and satisfied with the event. Moreover, they will pay more attention to water thanks to WWD.

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