WWF Hong Kong Mai Po: Wetland Management Training Course

25/11/1999

WWF Hong Kong Mai Po

Wetland Management Training Course

Introduction

In 1991, WWF Hong Kong began organising Wetland Management Training Courses based at the Peter Scott Field Studies Centre, Mai Po Nature Reserve. The site forms part of the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site, situated in the northwestern part of Hong Kong, P.R. China.

The aim of the training course, originally, was to promote the wetland consevation and mangement throughout China, and later on, the scope broadened to involve other countries in Asia. By the end of 1998, more than 50 Wetland Management Training Courses and 3 Environmental Education training courses have been organised.

Aims of the Training Course

The aims of the training course are:

  • To promote awareness of and enhanced knowledge of the value of wetland ecosystems;
  • To improve participants’ skills and techniques in respect to wetland conservation and management practices;
  • To use the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramar Site as a case field study case to demonstrate the practical applications of wetland reserve management and environmental education programmes;
  • To provide an opportunity for participants to exchange their experiences, techniques and knowledge regarding wetland conservation and management, as well as environment education programmes.

Topics covered

The following topics will be covered:

  • What are wetlands? Definition, characteristics (physical, biological - biodiversity), and classification
  • What is the Ramsar Convention? Purpose, history, development and current issues;
  • What are the values of wetlands? Functions, values and threats to wetlands;
  • What is the wise use of wetlands? Definitions of wise use, wetland management – planning; monitoring, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and mitigation, Environmental Education.

These topics will be introduced through an integrated programme of classroom teaching, audio-visual programmes, round table discussions, management and planning practical exercises, and field visits. Key concepts and topics will be illustrated by examples from Hong Kong, Mainland China and elsewhere.

A Wetland Training Manual for the training course has been published in both English and simplified Chinese, and further reading material during the course can be borrowed from the library in the Peter Scott Field Studies Centre.

The WWF Hong Kong Mai Po Marshes Wildlife Education Centre and Nature Reserve will be used as a case study to demonstrate the different types and values of wetland, the wise use of wetlands, and the conservation and management of a wetland including for Environmental Education.

Field visits will be undertaken around the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site to illustrate the different threats facing wetlands, and how these threats can be resolved.

Optional visits may be arranged for some training courses where it is determined that such visits would be mutually beneficial to participating organisations, or where there is a special need. These visits may include meetings with various Hong Kong SAR Government departments, including the Agriculture and Fisheries Department and the Environmental Protection Department. Other visits include the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, and Country Park Visitor Centers.

Participants

The training course are targetted on those personnel who are responsible for activities relating to wetland management and conservation in the East Asia-Australasian Flyway, in particular China. These may include Government agencies at the national, provincial, county and municipal level, relevant NGOs, the private sector (including property developers), and academics.

Previously, participants have mainly come from the P.R. China, such as State Forestry Administration (previously known as the Ministry of Forestry), Ministry of Agriculture, State Oceanic Administration, and the Ministry of Communication (Transpotation). More recently, participants have also come from Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Course duration and frequency

Due to the different backgrounds and needs between nature reserve staff and policy makers, the duration of the training courses depends on the background, interest and requirements of the participants.

Wetland Management Training Courses are held for nature reserve staff. Each course has space for up to 11 participants and lasts for 9 days.

Wetland Conservation Study Tour are held for wetland policy makers. Each course has space for 3-10 participants and lasts for 8 days.

Up to 12 formal training courses are held each year.

Facilities

Lectures and discussion are held in the Peter Scott Field Studies Centre lecture room, which is equipped with audio-visual facilities and a wetland library. Accommodation with air-conditioning and meals is provided in the Centre.

Personnel involvement

The success of running training courses relies heavily on following department and personal contribution:

  • WWF HK’s Mai Po Nature Reserve Manager: Mai Po Management;
  • WWF HK’s Environmental Education Officers at the Island House Conservation Studies Centre: Environmental Education;
  • WWF HK’s headquarters - conservation section, administration/fundraising section/communications section: Conservation and NGO in Hong Kong;
  • Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD): Conservation in Hong Kong;
  • AFD Fisheries management station and officers: Marine and fresh water fishery management of Hong Kong;
  • AFD Country Park Visitor Centers and the education section of Ocean Park: environmental education facilities for the public and tourists, conservation in Hong Kong;
  • Hong Kong SAR Government, Environmental Protection Department (EPD): Water quality monitoring, EIA in Hong Kong;
  • EPD Environmental Resource and Centre/EPD Visitor Centre: environmental education work carried out by the Hong Kong SAR Government.

Post-training ‘homework’

Knowledge and skills gained through the training programme will be reinforced after the course by requiring participants to undertake a small scale ‘homework’ project on their return to their place of work. These projects are a means of keeping in contact with participants and to encourage them to use what they have learnt on the course when they return to their homeland. The topics for these homework projects are designed in consultation with the Training Officer before the conclusion of the training programme, and need to be completed within six months.

Over the past 8 years, graduates on the course from China have assisted in establishing over thirty wetland reserves and over ten environmental education centers.

Training Programme ‘Newsletter’

In order to promote networking among course participants a ‘Newsletter’ is published twice a year. It contains information about the activities of course alumni and matters of general interest about wetland conservation. It is distributed to all alumni.

Cost

The present charge is HK$5,500 (approx. US$ 720) per participant, which covers the cost for food, accommodation and transport whilst in Hong Kong, and a copy of the Training Manual.

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