Connecting wetland centres across the world

Birds and Schools 2019 review

More than 160 school children visited their local wetland centre and then spoke online to counterparts elsewhere in their flyway on 10 May 2019. To mark World Migratory Bird Day, WLI members once again held video conferences across country and continental boundaries. We call it Birds and Schools.

On the East Atlantic Flyway, our initiative Migratory Birds for People connected two groups of schools, one in English and one in French; WLI Americas connected schools in English from Canada to Colombia.

Children in Luxembourg, France, and Senegal visited their centres at Biodiversum Remerschen, La Maison du Lac de Grand Lieu, Saloum and Kallisaye in the week before. Just like almost every group, they had collected plastic waste that they found on their wetland.

Meanwhile children in the Netherlands Terschelling and the Almere Aeres high school near the Oostvaardersplassen, Walsingham Primary school near Cley Marsh, and the Urretxindorra high school near Urdaibai, took part. They visited their local centre, and later all joined together by Skype to share what they found.

Later on the sun rose over the Americas and it was the turn of Ralph Klein Park and Kootenay Columbia Discovery Center in Canada, Mono Lake and John Bunker Sands in the USA, Babeque Secundaria in the Dominican Republic, and Colegio Montessori de Cartagena in Colombia.

The children all prepared the same set of questions and asked them one-by-one to the next school. This way the schools were able to keep communicating despite the difficulties that sometimes happen with internet access at wetland centres!

The UK primary school is keen to try again in October, so if you have a partner school with similar level of age and language skill, get in touch and we can connect you both together. We hope visits and calls will happen for the the more in Spanish and Portuguese in October.

There is also a YouTube playlist of the participants’ videos from this and previous years.

The activities would not have been possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of the participating schools and wetland centres:

On the Wadden Sea island of Terschelling, Wanda Bakker and Feline Zwaan worked with local children; to the south Maud Verwer and a team of volunteers and staff including Hans-Erik Kuypers and Gert Jan Knoet worked with Aeres Almere; across in England, David Fieldhouse of Cley Marshes worked with Walsingham Primary; while furthest south Rowan Hardman and Edorta Unamuno worked with Urretxindorra Herri Eskola (‘nightingale school’!).

Audrey Cadou and Olivier Morin at La Maison de Lac de Grand Lieu; Pathé Balde in Centre d’éducation Kalissaye; Patric Lorgé and Isabelle Zwick at Biodiversum Remerschen, Gabin Agblonon in Saloum.

In the Americas, thanks are due to Candice Lloyd at John Bunker Sands; Carla Ahern at Kootenay-Columbia; Monika Gomez with Secundaria Babeque; Nalina Mohan at Ralph Klein Park; Rose Nelson at Mono Lake; and Juan Filipe Restrepo at Ciénaga de la Virgen, Cartagena.

If you would like to join in next year, get in touch!

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The WLI network is endorsed by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and coordinated by WWT.

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Wetland Link International
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT, UK
T: +44 (0) 1453 891214
E: info@wli.org.uk Twitter: @wetlandlink