WLI World March 2021
Issue 23 of WLI World is the first you can both download as PDF and also view directly on the website. Open each story by tapping on its title.
Welcome to the WLI World Bulletin for March 2021. In the PDF printable version, you may may notice that we have a different look this time. It is not a new design, but in fact the oldest! We have replicated the stylings of 1992 when the first WLI Newsletter came out. WLI itself had launched the previous year, on 15 February 1991. Yes, this is our 30th anniversary!
So, in this issue we look back at three decades of wetland visitor centres; and we look forward too.
We welcome your articles and photos for the next issue, in six months’ time; and for other celebrations during the year.
We also invite you all to contribute to 30 Ideas. We are gathering simple ideas, techniques, or approaches that have helped WLI members with Communications, Education, Participation, or Awareness for wetlands. You can see the existing submissions on the WLI website, and share your Idea with us by email.
On the subject of email… did you know that we send out occasional emails with summaries of news and opportunities? Recently some of these emails have gone to spam folders and WLI members have been missing out. If you have not received any emails with a WLI logo at the top this year, then that might include you! Please brave the terrors of your spam or junk email folder and click on our emails to allow them reach you in the future.
Usually our March WLI World would have many reports on how you have been celebrating World Wetlands Day. This year has already been difficult for most of us to carry out work at wetland centres, but we still have a contribution from Spain.
As always, keep in touch! Send us your news and resources that you would like other WLI members to see.
Most of all, stay safe and healthy!
To do justice to our 30 years of history, we are applying the wisdom of the WLI network to the future. In February we brought together a panel of ten people in eight countries: the purpose is to develop an accreditation scheme for wetland centres.
We are still working out the details, but already the panel supports the concept: that WLI members could work towards an extra level of recognition from the network. This quality-mark from WLI would help members as a promotional tool, that they could submit to local authorities and advertising as a sign of international recognition.
You can also see the accreditation as a way of assessing your work, to identify aspects where you could improve. However we will strive to have the process fair to all WLI members no matter what scale you operate at.
This would also raise the profile of WLI itself in the areas around the accredited centres.
Thank you to our panel, who have committed to meet online and work on the scheme, despite living in very different timezones! Amy Lecciones, Chris Rostron, Christine Prietto, David Musingo, Felipe Velasco, Kim Seongbo, Mariane Bollo, Patric Lorgé, Suh Seung-oh.
WLI Asia members can apply for funding up to KRW 10,000,000 (approximately €7,400). WLI Asia is hosted by the Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia (RRC-EA), who have launched the WLI-Asia Fund in collaboration with Amorepacific, through its Primera brand. This small grant program aims to assist the development of wetland centres in Asia.
It will cover capacity building events, special exhibitions, education programs for schools, video content development for educational or publicity purposes, and other CEPA (communication, capacity building, education, participation and awareness)-related activities
They will also consider activities that support wetland management and monitoring, and Ramsar Site designation and research
For more than 10 years we have been celebrating World Wetlands Day in the Regional Park of Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar, raising awareness of the value of these ecosystems for society and nature. This year marks 50 years since the Convention on Wetlands was adopted. However the current health emergency due to COVID-19 prevents us from carrying out activities in person to celebrate this day. For this reason, the dissemination and awareness-raising work that we carry out from the Information Service has been transferred this year to digital media.
Thus, through our publication on social networks, we wanted to highlight the importance of the benefits provided by the Salinas de San Pedro wetland.
The way we got closer to the classrooms was through an online talk for the students of the IES Dos Mares secondary school in San Pedro del Pinatar, with whom we talked about the consequences of the unsustainable use of water on wetlands and the alternatives we have to help in their conservation.
In addition, this year we have been lucky enough to celebrate this special day by releasing two flamingos that had been treated at the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Centre, where they were admitted last summer due to some injuries. Once they had recovered from their injuries, they were in good condition to be released, choosing for this event one of the most unique natural spaces in the Region of Murcia, the Regional Park of the Salinas de San Pedro.
World Wetlands Day 2021 has been different from other years, we have not been able to organise activities to enjoy the wetlands, but we have been able to raise awareness of the importance of conserving these ecosystems.
Christine Prietto, HWCA Ramsar Officer
Professor Max Maddock was the driving force behind the establishment in 1986 of Shortland Wetlands Centre, Australia’s first wetland centre. His visit to Slimbridge in 1983 was certainly the inspiration. From the early days he always pushed international relationships, believing that investing in a network of international contacts would deliver dividends.
I began my career in wetland education at Shortland Wetlands Centre in 1991. In tha same year, Trust President Pam Dean-Jones represented SWC at a “WELLY” workshop at Slimbridge attended by a handful of wetland centres from UK, USA, Hong Kong, Thailand and NZ. in February Brian Gilligan represented us at the first WLI meetings in Maryland USA in October, attended by 100 participants. Both of these events are the focus of articles in issues of The Wetlander, the newsletter of the Hunter Wetlands Trust. A quote from a Wetlander article from this period states:
“WLI provides an exciting new opportunity for our Shortland Centre to participate in conservation projects and share acquired management and education expertise with other centres around the world”.
And so began our inauguration to a wonderful family of people around the world. WLI membership was a perfect way for us to stay connected to other wetland centres, keep track of what was happening not only around the world but in our own region and share what we were doing with others just beginning their journey. Being a part of WLI offered us a leg up on the world stage too.
I remember my first 10 years at Shortland as dominated by international visitors, including Slimbridge visitors Kim Styles and Marne Durin. The confirmation of Brisbane, Australia as the host city for COP6, the Ramsar Conference of Parties, in 1996, visitors and long-range discussions increased. This was to be a major stage for promoting a stronger focus on wetlands within Ramsar and WLI as a major wetland education platform. Doug Hulyer and Jane Claricoates came into our lives at Shortland at that time with a very focused agenda on WLI, its potential for the future and how SWC might play a part in our region.
Now trading as Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia we have stayed connected to WLI since those early days and the benefits of that connection are too many to list. One of the best achievements of WLI is shining a spotlight on wetland centres as a unique kind of nature experience that aims to showcase nature as it is doing its thing. WLI offers a rich collection of stories. I think this is still a worthwhile goal to keep aiming for. Going forward as an organisation I think we need to find ways to share WLI stories with our members so they can recognise and appreciate that Hunter Wetlands Centre is part of a very large family indeed.