World Wetlands Day – 2 February 2016
The health of our planet depends on wetlands. They purify and replenish our groundwater, provide fish and crops that feed billions of people, act as a natural shield protecting coastlines against flooding, and help fight climate change.
Unfortunately, these benefits are not widely known. Often viewed as wastelands, 64 per cent of wetlands globally have disappeared since 1900.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has a different focus for its activities for World Wetlands Day (2 February) every year.
They have produced materials that Leaders can use to help youth members learn about wetlands and support them to do wetland projects, which can also contribute to Scout environment badgework.
In previous years there has been a global Wetlands Youth Photo Contest for 15 to 24 year olds. Scouts are encouraged to take a picture in a wetland between 2 February and 2 March, and upload it from 2 February, for a chance to win a free flight to a famous wetland of their choice anywhere in the world.
Details of the competition are at: http://www.worldwetlandsday.org, as well as fact sheets, handouts, posters and a powerpoint presentation.
The Australian Government has produced resources to help Scouts learn about wetlands. They are available on-line and can also be ordered in hardcopy. They include:
- A brochure on “Australia’s Amazing Wetlands” http://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/brochure-australias-amazing-wetlands
- A book “Celebrating Australia’s Wetlands – a showcase of Australian Ramsar Wetlands” http://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/celebrating-australias-wetlands
- A classroom kit – “Discovering Wetlands in Australia” (including fact sheets, videos and origami animals) http://www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/publications/discovering-wetlands-australia
If you need further details, or would like hardcopies of these publications, please contact Jenny Tomkins (Wetlands Section, Australian Department of the Environment) at email@example.com.