World Wetlands Day 2002: Latvia


World Wetlands Day 2002 in Latvia

- an essay competition

sponsored by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the Latvian Nature Museum, and the publishers Zvaignze ABC.

On 2 February all around the world take place celebrations of World wetlands day; this tradition was established by bureau of Ramsar convention on wetlands in 1997. For the purpose of the convention, "wetlands" are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt.

For the second year we celebrate World wetlands day also in Latvia. The festivities of this year are dedicated to the cultural values of wetlands, which relates to a theme of the 8th Conference of convention contracting parties: Wetlands: water, life and culture. For the first time the Convention will focus on the cultural values of wetlands as important features to be taken into account in the effective management of these ecosystems.

Therefore this year the Ministry of environmental protection and regional development of Latvia in collaboration with the Latvian Nature museum calls school children to take part in an essay competition - "The cultural heritage of our wetlands". The participants are invited to acquaint themselves with the cultural heritage of wetlands in their neighbourhood, describing the toponyms, legends and stories, beliefs and rituals, also traditional ways of managing the natural resources of wetlands that had endured for generations.

Latvia is rich in wetlands. Its more than 12 400 rivers, 2256 lakes and countless marshes support a high diversity of flora and fauna, manage such functions as water purification, groundwater replenishment, flood control, they also preserve a significant evidence of the human past, provide us with varied recreational opportunities, they are a core of many traditions and beliefs, and an inspiration in arts and literature. Let's remember the Staburadze, the sunken castle of Burtnieki and the Araisu ezerpils - they are just a few examples of our rich cultural heritage.

Write about the special features of your wetland, uncover its significance to your town, parish or country yard!

School children of grades 9 - 12 are called to take part in competition. The volume of the essay is a three till four pages (font - 12). A submission of works - till 28 April, address: Latvian Nature museum, K. Barona street 4, LV - 1712. The best authors will be awarded on 10 May, in Latvian Nature museum. The competition is sponsored by publishing house "Zvaigzne ABC".

tel.: 7226240, the department of Zoology, Latvian Nature museum,
web site of Ramsar convention:

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

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