Star Wetland Centre Award with WLI

The Star Wetland Centre Award is a new scheme to celebrate the best of WLI. After 30 years of cooperation, we want to show the world what makes a great wetland education centre.



  • Recognition of your good work at international level
  • Raise the profile of your wetland centre to the government, partners and funders
  • Giving the staff and volunteers of your wetland centre a sense of pride, encouragement and achievement in their work
  • Showing your visitors that your wetland centre is one of the best in the world hence increased visitation and revenue

Applications are now closed for the 2022 Stars

How does it work?

The application form is online, requiring photographs and certificates to illustrate some of the answers.

In 2022 an international panel will assess the questionnaires, and decide whether or not to award accreditation. If the panel does not wish to make the accreditation, they will provide suggestions as to how you can improve your CEPA work.

We understand that wetland centres come in different shapes, sizes and formats, addressing a huge range of issues, and this makes it difficult to find a ‘one size fits all’ method of evaluating their effectiveness.

With that in mind, we are piloting a mechanism to apply to all WLI members to show that they are delivering to a good standard.

Thank you to the panel of expert judges!

Zoom call screenshot

Amy Lecciones, Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands

Chris Rostron, WWT

Connor Walsh, WWT

Mariane Bolla, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Suh Seong-oh, Ramsar Regional Centre - East Asia


Can anyone apply?

The Star Wetland Centre scheme is only open to members of WLI. If you are not a member, apply to join

In this pilot  year, we are limiting the number of Stars we award, to represent as many Ramsar Regions as possible. 

How long does the questionnaire take?

We expect the questionnaire to take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete; however you will need extra time beforehand to gather supporting documents and photographs. 

Do I have to carry out every activity listed to be accredited?

No! The questionnaire is to inform the panel of how and why you work, while understanding that every situation is different. No matter how modest your circumstances, we welcome your participation! 

Is there a fee to participate?

No, you can apply for WLI accreditation free of charge, just like WLI membership.

What are the deadlines?

Please submit your application before 30 April 2022 at the latest. 

We will consider the applications in the months after that and aim to contact winners during July and August. 

What are the prizes?

We will send centres a plaque showing the Star your centre has won, to display at your centre. You will also receive a digital version which you can use online to share the news of your recognition. 

Can I preview the questions?

Most of the questions give you three options: yes, no, not applicable (n/a). Please be honest and accurate with your answers. The yes, no, n/a answers indicate something exists at your centre; you can suggest its quality or effectiveness with photos and brief descriptions. Please answer every question. Remember that if you create a website account you can save you application to return later. If you do that, make sure to check the saved answers and saved uploads are present.

You can chose to upload supporting documents, such as photos of your infrastructure or PDFs of certificates.

Please give these files names in this format:


It does not have to be exact, but it helps us keep track of everyone's application fairly.
Example: Access_5_Slimbridge_signs

Every section also has a space for you to elaborate on these uploads, but only briefly! Maximum 250 words.

Contact details.

250 words opening statement on your centre: Why is it important and deserves to receive this accreditation; please include size in ha, history, activities, achievements, who runs it etc.

Theme: Access

Are there direction signs off site (e.g. on approach to the centre, multilingual if appropriate)?
Do you have a website with clear directions and centre details?
Is the centre open to the public for most of the year?
Can visitors experience the wetland directly?
Are mobility aids available (e.g. wheelchairs)?
Are buildings and hides/blinds accessible to people with disabilities or restricted mobility?
Is there braille / clear signage for the visually impaired?
Are there audio guides for visually impaired people?
Is it family friendly (e.g. nursing station, baby buggies/strollers/pushchairs, play area)?
What age groups is the wetland centre suitable for?

Theme: Topics covered by the centre

Wetland species.
The importance of wetland habitats.
Humans and wetlands (local history and livelihoods).
Ecosystem services.
Earth sciences (geography, geology etc).
Threats to wetland habitats.
WLI / international wetland conservation.
Practical ways the visitors can help make positive change for wetlands.
Others (briefly list).

Theme: Types of visitor resources (outside)

Outdoor interpretation boards.
Multilingual information.
Self-led interpretation (info boards and trails).
Led interpretation (guided walks, talks etc).
If live animal exhibits present, is there a policy on animal welfare or similar

Theme: Types of visitor resources (inside)

Dioramas or similar exhibits.
Audiovisual / Touchscreen facilities.
Regularly updated content for Audiovisual / touchscreen facilities.
Live webcam.
Are resources multilingual?
Library/research information.
Equipment (telescopes or binoculars for hire/use).
Other (shop, restaurant etc.).
Theme: Public programmes
Volunteer programmes.
Internships programmes.
Actively working with local communities and groups.
Activities for those with special needs.
Reaching out to under-represented groups.

Theme: Non-formal education

Guided walks and talks.
Formal talks.
Demonstration of bird-ringing / banding.
Bird counting / monitoring / census.
Animal feeding sessions.
Interactive sessions with children.
World Migratory Bird Day (May & October).
World Wetlands Day (2 February).

Theme: Formal education

On site sessions with students under 12 years old.
On-site sessions with 12-16 year old students.
On-site session for 16+ students.
Visits to schools and local groups.
Live streaming and virtual/online sessions.

Theme: Biodiversity management

Species/habitat monitoring.
Practical species/habitat management.
Bird migration research (ringing, satellite-telemetry, other techniques).
Other wetland research.

Theme: Website and social media

Visitor facilities, prices, directions listed.
Multilingual options.
Website is accessible for people with disabilities.
Wildlife sightings.
Suggested itineraries for visit.
Introduction to organisation.
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / other.
Any other activities, programmes, partnerships, features or factors that we should know about?


The website application form is the only way to submit for the Star Wetland Centre Award. This way, we can assess everyone fairly on an equal footing.

We hope the process of working through the application form also helps you analyse your centre and maybe see it in a new light, to help you do the best job possible.


Over the years, we have collected dozens of resources for wetlands CEPA. Here are a few which relate to the topics you will find in accreditation questionnaire.

Best practices handbook

The Handbook on Best Practices for the Design and Operation of Wetland Education Centres. Available in six languages, the comprehensive guide in 80 pages.

Developing a weltand centre

The 2012 WLI guide Developing a Wetland Centre introduces the concepts, who and how of wetland CEPA.

WLI Resources

The Resources page on the WLI website is organised by topic. There you can navigate to guides, websites, and other ways you can find help with the areas you wish to improve.