Connecting wetland centres across the world

Birds and Schools 2019

Connecting Schools and Birds along the flyways

World Migratory Birds Day – Be the solution to plastic pollution

Background:

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) which now incorporates International Migratory Bird Day, takes place every year on the second weekends of May and October, to highlight the importance of supporting migration along flyways across the world. It is coordinated by AEWA, the African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (see links below) with Environment for the Americas. This year the first date for WMBD is the 11th May and the second is the 12th October 2019, and the theme is plastic pollution and its impact on birds.  Many bird species migrate huge distances, and face many challenges, and these events raise awareness and support action to support their journeys.

Migratory Birds for People is a network of wetland centres along the East Atlantic flyway, and includes members delivering wetland education and awareness-raising around important sites for birds and other wildlife. WLI is the global network of wetland centres.

Connecting Schools and Birds started in 2017, with schools visiting wetland sites and then meeting together via video conference to discuss their findings. In 2019 we will support local centres again to run visits with school pupils and encourage them to explore their local wetlands, identify the migratory birds that they support and how their wetland plays a part in the flyway.

Partners:

MBP members and Wetland centres working with schools near or at wetlands. The Wetland Link International coordinator or regional partner will moderate, with separate video conferences in English, French and Portuguese.  Coordination with AEWA’s communications team and the team of Environment for the Americas.

Format and timing:

Schools will be given a visit to the wetland in the weeks running up to WMBD in early May.  The visit should include an introduction to the Schools and Birds event, the wetland centre and the wetland itself.  Then students should spend some time in the wetland, looking for signs of birds (or birds themselves!) and exploring why the wetland is important for migratory birds.  They should also think about this year’s WMBD theme of plastic pollution – look for evidence, how it impacts on birds and how we can help reduce the problem.

The pupils will be asked to prepare a short video (using a mobile phone or similar) which introduces themselves, their birds and the issues they face, based on the questions below.  Each video should be around a minute long and will then be uploaded to the WLI / MBP webpages to be shared with other schools.

For schools that are able and willing, we also invite them to take part in a video/skype conference call with other schools along the flyway. This will take place on the days around WMBD itself, and depends on the region and language.  Afterwards each school will receive a certificate of participation.

Two videos from 2017 are available online:

Questions:

  • Introduce yourselves, your wetland site and where you are on the flyway, maybe using a print out of the flyway map from the MBP pages.
  • What did you do on site today?  Did you notice any plastic rubbish?
  • Tell us which migratory birds visit your site, when they come, and how you know that they visit (did you see the birds themselves? Any signs of the birds?  Any evidence that others have collected?  Does plastic pollution harm the birds?)
  • Why is your wetland important for birds? Which other countries / wetlands do the birds visit?
  • What challenges do the birds face? How many kilometres do they travel each year?
  • How can human beings help the birds to complete their amazing journeys? Can we reduce plastic pollution?
  • Identify another site that is taking part, and ask a question of the school there.

Contacts:  Please contact the head of WLI, Chris Rostron, for more information at chris.rostron@wwt.org.uk. Visit the WLI and MBP web pages.  Florian Kiel, Communications Manager, AEWA, or see their webpage http://www.unep-aewa.org/sites/default/files/publication/aewa_leaflet_en_0.pdf or http://www.unep-aewa.org/en/legalinstrument/aewa. Also, the Environment for the Americas team can be contacted via Susan Bonfield.

 

The schools and wetland centres that connected to each other in English in the Americas and East Atlantic flyways:

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

Contact

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