WLI Update November 2013
New Manual on Best Practice for Wetland Centres
ERF and Seosan city worked together to hold a very useful workshop to develop a new manual on best practice in wetland centre development and management, to replace the existing WLI version. The workshop had leading professionals from across Asia and beyond talking about their work. They are continuing to work on this and are hoping to launch the manual on World Wetlands Day 2014, with support from WWT, Ramsar and other wetland centres – we will keep you updated.
Fundación Kennedy, CEH and WLI Neotropics
The Fundacion Kennedy has already submitted a bid to the Ramsar Wetlands for the Future fund, and we are now also working with the Centro de Estudios de Humedales, also in Chile. We hope that this new partnership will strengthen our work further, and we are continuing to develop ideas for a WLI Neotropics meeting later in 2014.
Distance learning course for site-based environmental educators
Following last year’s successful pilot scheme we are working with LSBU (London South Bank University) to run the masters’ level course again, designed for those delivering environmental education on site – ideal for many people that work in wetland centres. Ideally you should already have a first degree (or equivalent experience) and be prepared to commit time over 6 months to complete the course, much of which will draw on your site and work. Contact us for more information.
WLI North America Webinar
Last month we held the first WLI Webinar for North America, bringing together nearly 50 people to discuss wetland centres and how we are progressing with environmental education activities. It was great opportunity to share with each other and raised some interesting issues including:- How to communicate with the ‘non-usual suspects’ that never visit our sites. Some interesting ideas including using mobile education buses, working with politicians and local state administrators, and bringing different interests in by special events. Oak Hammock’s kite surfing was the most adventurous!
- How to engage schools. Again, a great example from Massachusetts Audubon, giving schools baby toads and turtles to raise. The students monitored them as part of a science project, comparing with other schools doing the same thing, and after a year released the animals back to the wetland.
- Evaluating what we do. How do we know it’s working? The ICF have a masters student carrying out survey work on visitors to see if their time at the wetland centre is likely to change their view of wetlands and their behaviour. ICF will share this once it is finished.
We covered much more, and you can see it at our WLI North America web pages.
We welcome the CEPA (Communication, Education, Participation, Awareness) oversight panel to the London wetland centre, and will be discussing the activities that Ramsar wants to focus on over the next 6 years. One key question will be: can we come up with a term that describes the ‘CEPA’ programme but is easier to understand?! If you have any good ideas we would welcome them. So far, suggestions include people and wetlands, engagement, public awareness and wetland communication.
World Wetlands Day is also coming up shortly, with Ramsar's theme this year 'Wetlands and Agrictulture' - this is an important message given the amount of water the conventional agriculture takes, but also the wildlife opportunities that wetlands such as rice paddies provide. See more, including suggestions for activities, posters and information at their WWD pages.