World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Australia



Celebrating World Wetlands Day in the Hunter, NSW - The Wetlands Centre

World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated each year on the 2nd of February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.

WWD was first celebrated in 1997. Since this time government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups have celebrated WWD by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. These activities include seminars, nature walks, festivals, launches of new policies, announcement of new Ramsar sites, newspaper articles, radio interviews and undertaking wetland rehabilitation.

The Shortland Wetlands, which are a part of the Hunter Estuary Wetlands Ramsar site, were a height of activity on WWD 2005. Over 600 people came to celebrate the beauty of the wetland and the exciting program of events that were on offer.

The day was specially designed to give visitors an insight and how to experience the wetland. After visitors attended the various workshops on offer they could leave knowing they had learnt something about the value and functions of wetlands.

Some visitors had the opportunity to learn about native reptiles and amphibians: gather some interesting and practical ideas on transforming their backyard into a haven for birds and frogs, and growing the correct native plants to attract wildlife into your gardens. Members from the Hunter Bird Observers Club ran an interesting workshop all day, allowing those who are interested in identifying birds and how to observe.

Guided walks around the 45 hectare site and tours to the Coastal Rainforest which has become a beautiful feature or our site were of great interest.
The beauty of nature was celebrated through nature craft activities, allowing the children and adults to let their imaginations go into creating their own piece of art. Paper mache classes were heavily supported with the children making snakes, and tortoises to take home, and not forgetting the ever popular dip netting, how to identify the many waterbugs found in the wetland ponds.

Guided Canoe tours along the Iron Bark Creek catchment was a highlight for those visitors who allowed 2 ½ hours to enjoy a different area of the wetlands.

A feature of the day was the launch of the NSW Ramsar Communication Strategy, coordinated by Project Manager Leanne Cherry on behalf of the Ramsar Managers Network, with over 100 people in the Visitor Centre participating. This was followed by the cutting of the celebration cake which was enjoyed by all in attendance.

Musicians entertained visitors, allowing them to sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the festivities.

People's comments were of high standard with all enjoying the workshops, tours, walks and activities.

Pauline Price
Visitor Centre Manager
The Wetlands Centre
Sandgate Road
Shortland NSW 2307

"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"

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