The Conventions CEPA Programme
New Wetland Education Centre for Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong's Wetland Park opens
Hong Kong's Wetland Park will be officially opened on 19th May and will receive its first public visitors on Saturday 20th May. Adjacent to the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site, the 61-hectare Park consists of re-created wetlands providing a unique combination of a grand visitor centre and an outdoor reserve. The 10,000m2 visitor centre consists of three main galleries focussed on biological, cultural and environmental aspects of wetlands. Visitors are welcome to roam about the outdoor reserve at their own pace, following trails and boardwalks (see images below), exploring the freshwater marshes, ponds, mangroves and grassland.
The Park intends to be a valuable resource for schoolchildren in two ways - firstly, through visits by children and teachers to the Park, and secondly through the School Visit Programme where the Wetland Park goes to the schools, delivering seminars, games booths and wetland conservation exhibitions. The Park will also be running workshops for teachers.
Have a look at their well-designed Web site which is both an information source for visitors planning a trip and a practical resouce for visitors to find out more about Hong Kong's wetlands: have a look at their on-line Wetland Ecotour which takes visitors on a virtual tour of Hong Kong's wetlands - but with local travel information to help turn this into a real tour. The Web site notes that "through the Hong Kong Wetland Ecotour, we wish that people will understand more on the importance of wetland conservation and get familiar with the interesting wetland wildlife in Hong Kong. We also wish more people will be aware that Hong Kong is not just a cramped city of skyscrapers. In the hinterland of the New Territories and along the local coastline of bays and beaches, there are many wetland environments which are brimming with natural charm and diversity of wildlife". Visit their Web site here.
The Hong Kong Wetland Park aims to attract local visitors as well as overseas tourists and the displays will be presented in Chinese and English, as well as Japanese in selected exhibits.
Boardwalk, with a hide in the background to the left
The hide in more detail
One of the three galleries for visitors to learn about wetlands
And a little history to conclude:
Located at the northern part of Tin Shui Wai, New Territories, the site of the Hong Kong Wetland Park was originally intended to be an ecological mitigation area (EMA) to compensate for the wetlands lost due to Tin Shui Wai New Town development and an International Wetland Park and Visitor Centre Feasibility Study, commisssioned in 1998, conlcuded that it was feasible to develop the Park without compromising the ecological mitigation function.