World Wetlands Day 2000: United Kingdom


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Volunteers Celebrate International World Wetlands Day at Sailing Centre

February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, celebrating the 28th year since the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran, which aims to secure important wetlands on a global scale through international co-operation.

btcv.jpg (10235 bytes)On a local level, Volunteers from BTCV Worcestershire have been working over the last year to improve wetland wildlife and educational opportunities at the County Council’s Upton Warren Sailing Centre near Bromsgrove.

"Last year we worked with the site managers to clear overgrown areas, create a dam, and cause flooding in order to create more diversity in water levels and therefore opportunities for wildlife," said BTCV Project Officer Alex Morley.

He added: "It is a local site and though small in comparison with the 66.8 million hectares of wetland covered by the convention, it has particular value for education and wildlife in Worcestershire."

Wetlands are important for their role in the water cycle - de-silting water and contaminants; and in many countries have an economic importance - commercial Willow production in the Somerset Levels for example. They provide excellent habitats for a diverse range of species, including a number identified in the Worcestershire Biodiversity Action Plan.

Volunteers from BTCV will be helping remove excess waste timber from the newly created Upton Warren wetland, which creates a demand on the water’s oxygen, on Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd of February. Anyone interested in joining in, or wanting more information on conservation activities in Worcestershire should contact the BTCV office on 01905-610 289.

Notes to Editors

For more details contact Alex Morley, South Worcestershire Community Projects Officer - 01905-610 289.

Later: "Hi. This is just a quick message to let you know that a group of Millennium volunteers with BTCV took part in World Wetlands Day. We went to Chartley Moss in Staffordshire, a floating peat bog, and had a day of practical habitat management. It was enjoyed by all and we have some great photos if anyone is interested. Please feel free to contact me for more details. Jennie Mallela, , BTCV Millennium volunteers Coordinator, Staffordshire."

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Kate at Chartley Moss on World Wetlands Day 2000

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Sarah at Chartley Moss on World Wetlands Day 2000

A firsthand report on the day, by Magda Jenkins

World Wetlands Day - The Bog of Eternal Stench!

On Wednesday the 2nd of this month, a group of dedicated Millennium Volunteers (and Jennie and Steve) went to Chartley Moss to help preserve Britain's largest example of a floating bog or "schwingmoor" as it is aptly named in Germany.

For me the experience was magical. The earth literally moved under my feet. I have never experienced anything like it! On the actual bog itself there were numerous dead Scots pine trees dotted across the floating peat carpet which gave a prehistoric, eerie feel to it. These trees were branchless and no more than 3-4 metres high due to the way the bog seemed to devour them. I can see where the inspiration for the bog of eternal stench in the film the Labyrinth came from, and the numerous talking bogs used in children’s programs, as it felt completely unreal. It actually squelched and bubbled like you would imagine a bog would.

We were there to help manage and preserve the bog because if plant life decided to grow there, then the moisture of the bog would disappear and the bog itself would become extinct. In maintaining the diversity of this unusual habitat, many rare species of dragonfly and beetles are protected as well as all the other animals such as badgers, adders and lizards which live around the edge of the bog basin.

The highlight of everyone’s day was the stunning acrobatics performed by Yours Truly while carrying cups of tea. I "fell" for the bog in a big way and got my knee caught in the process without spilling a drop of tea. This feat was thoroughly enjoyed by all, except me who suffered with squelchy trench foot all day. Even after we left Chartley Moss, I felt a part of it was still with me (actually a large part of it is still in my Wellies!), and it left a big impact on me (ha! ha!).

For me the visit to the nature reserve was an amazing experience. Fresh air, a totally different environment, physical work, meeting new fun-loving people and a sense of achievement are all reasons why I would definitely encourage anyone to be a Millennium Volunteer.

BTCV is the UK's leading practical conservation charity, supporting the activities of over 85,000 volunteers in positive action to improve the environment.

Working with people of all ages and from all sections of the community on both urban and rural projects,
BTCV's activities include:

  • Week day and weekend projects
  • Environmental training
  • Natural Break and international conservation working holidays
  • Advice and support for a national network of over 2,000 community groups and schools
  • Producing an acclaimed set of technical publications and handbooks

To find out more, please contact your local office:

South Worcestershire Community Project Office (01905-610 289) or BTCV's head office at: BTCV, 36 St Mary's St, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 0EU (Tel 01491 839766, Fax 01491 839646)

Reg Charity No. 261009

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The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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