News from the CEPA e-mail list
It's nearly World Wetlands Day . . . are you ready? (21/01/08)
So here we are, a mere step away from World Wetlands Day, with many of you, Im sure, getting your WWD activities organized and advertised. We already have an interesting stack of emails from WWD actors describing their planned activities and many, many last minute requests for materials.
I hesitate to give examples of what is going on because it is difficult to know what to choose, but here are a few highlights so far from around the globe.
One of our earliest emails came from list member Carrie Ma at the Hong Kong Wetland Park. As in previous years, WWD is a loooooong event at the Park, beginning in October 2007, when they launched their WWD programme with the assistance of the internationally renowned actor, Mr. CHOW Yun-fat, as the Wetland Conservation Ambassador, and culminating on February 2nd 2008. We already have an interim report from the Park, reporting on, for example, the painting competition which was launched in October and brought in 370 pieces of artwork - a 2008 Calendar has already been produced using the winning artwork. The illustrated interim report is available here http://www.ramsar.org/wwd/8/wwd2008_rpts_china_hongkong1.pdf. Have a look at their web site http://www.wetlandpark.com/wwd2008/eindex.html to see the range of activities going on at weekends leading up to and during WWD. (Thanks to Carrie Ma for this information.)
Superhuman is the word that springs to mind to describe the coordinating efforts of the Pôle-relais zones humides intérieures in France (roughly translated means the coordinating unit for the inland wetlands network). In past years they have done a great job of collating all the activities going on in the network and making actors feel a valued part of a national campaign, and this year is no exception. Posted on their web site at the time of writing is a list of 215 activities taking place throughout France - http://zones-humides.parcs-naturels-regionaux.fr/zones_humides/files_dyn/1200418142_20241.pdf. Bravo la France! (Thanks to Marine Font from the Fédération des Parcs naturels régionaux de France for this information.)
At the Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, located at a Ramsar Site in Canada, there is a double celebration going on. It so happens that in Canada and some areas of the USA, February 2nd is traditionally Groundhog Day (for those who dont know, a groundhog is a rodent, Marmota monax). According to folklore, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, then winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow, it will return into its burrow, and the winter will continue for 6 more weeks! So at Oak Hammock, they will be celebrating WWD with lots of interesting activities snowshoeing around the marsh, a competition for visitors to guess when the first Canada goose will arrive at the Marsh, demonstrations of wetlands and how they work as water purifiers, puppet shows and more and of course they will be acknowledging Groundhog Day at the same time and predicting the forthcoming weather! Read more about their plans here http://www.oakhammockmarsh.ca/pdf/world-wetlands-day-activities-2008.pdf. (Thanks to Teresa Visser from Oak Hammock Marsh Centre for this information.)
Some good news from the NGO, SPANA in Morocco. Our contact there, Abdeslam Bouchafra, has sent us an electronic version of the Ramsar WWD poster translated into Arabic. We believe there are several other countries engaged in translating our materials but this is the first poster we have received. Since 2000, SPANA has been managing the Merja Sidi Bou Ghaba Ramsar Site and nature reserve where Morocco's National Centre for Environmental Education is located. WWD will be celebrated at the centre and also at other education centres around the country. SPANA has encouraged us to share the electronic version of the poster with list members. You can download it here http://www.ramsar.org/wwd/8/wwd2008_rpts_morocco1.pdf and it is a high enough resolution to print at A3 size without any problem. (Thanks to Abdeslam Bouchafra from SPANA for this information).
And in the neotropics we have had notice from many countries of WWD events, from bird counts in Colombia with the Grupo GEO-UPTC, based at a university, to a meeting at the El sistemo Lagunario del Río Tamesí wetland in Mexico with local and national government, NGOs and the general public coming together to discuss the advantages of Ramsar designation, to a marathon event in Trinidad & Tobago by the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, our Administrative Authority. Finally, have a look at the wonderful, information-packed web page for WWD created by Fundación Proteger in Argentina here http://www.proteger.org.ar/doc734.html.
And finally, finally, look here for an inspirational WWD message from our Secretary General caxref:6158.
So have a great World Wetlands Day and dont forget to send us your WWD reports (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With best wishes, Sandra Hails, Ramsar Secretariat
Sandra Hails, CEPA Programme Officer
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 999 0176; Fax: +41 22 999 0169
Web Site: http://ramsar.org
CEPA mini-Web site: http://ramsar.org/outreach_index.htm