Optics for Africa

In 2018 MBP Africa members said that to improve their wetlands educations and engagement, they need more resources, including binoculars and telescopes.

Some centres in Europe saw the potential to ask their visitors to donate old but working optics. Especially in the UK and the Netherlands where bird watching is a common pastime, visitors might upgrade to new or better binoculars while their current set still works fine.

We are preparing materials that you can show at your visitor centre to let visitors know that they can give a second life to their telescopes and binoculars, inspiring the same joy they had with them in a whole new continent.

Other organisations, including our partner Wetlands International West Africa and Vogelbescherming in the Netherlands already have a similar system, where the optics are used primarily for the International Waterbird Census. Inspired by this model we have also added other educational activities. Very small binoculars might not be much use for distant wader studies, but we have all seen the excitement they spark for a child on their first visit to a wetland.


Contact Connor Walsh at WWT for donations or other feedback.

Local wetlands educators will use the binoculars and telescopes not just at visitor centres but also for the huge citizen science African Eurasian Waterbird Census every January.