Wetland Ambassadors and Nature Reserves Team up for Conservation
The unique collaboration between volunteer wetland ambassadors and nature reserves is a programme-first, which aims to ensure conservation activities are designed to meet the individual needs of the reserves.
Wetland ambassadors will collaborate with reserves on a range of important conservation tasks including fundamental research, community communication, environment education, wildlife observation and rubbish removal.
Section Chief of the State Forestry Administration’s wetland protection and management center, Deng Kan, said the combined efforts of ambassadors and nature reserves would enhance public awareness of conservation.
“Wetland ambassadors, represented by college students who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, are a powerful force to promote wetland protection and education,” he said.
The annual Wetland Ambassador Action engages volunteer student teams from universities across China in promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands among the broader community.
Environmental organizations from more than 300 universities have participated in the programme since it started nine years ago, making it an important platform for wetland conservation promotion in China.
Of the 44 teams of volunteer ambassadors selected for this year’s campaign, 32 will work directly with wetland reserves and parks across 18 provinces of China, including Sanjiangyuan Reserve in Qinghai province, Napa Lake Nature Reserve in Yunnan province and the Gouxi River Nature Reserve in Sichuan province, Dongting Lake Nature Reserve in Huan province.
The other teams will carry out conservation and communication activities in wetland areas surrounding their schools and cities. The theme for this year’s wetland ambassador campaign is: “From upstream to downstream, wetlands connect us all”.
In Sichuan province, ambassador groups from the Chengdu Information and Engineering Institute will focus their efforts on the Jialing River, promoting conservation and providing feasible options for the development of a Jialing wetland conservation network.
WWF is already working with the Sichuan Wetland Management Center on exploring ways to establish such a network to protect the water source area of the upper Yangtze as well as the giant panda habitat.
Wetland ambassadors will also convey conservation messages to Jialiang River communities, and produce a video documentary about conservation work at the Jialing River watershed wetland, incorporating the views of residents from Chengdu, Nanchong, Langzhong and Guangyuan.
WWF-China’s conservation director of operations, Dr Zhu Chunquan, said wetlands in China held about 2700 billion tons of freshwater, which made up 96 per cent of the country’s available freshwater resources.
“WWF aims to spread knowledge of wetland protection to the public through these wetland ambassadors, and to help reserves work on wetland conservation,” he said.
The 2009 Wetland Ambassador Action was launched this month in Chengdu. It was the first time in the programme’s history that the launch was held in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
The launch was a collaboration of the State Forestry Administration’s wetland protection and management center, the water resources division of the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and WWF.
The Coca-Cola Company provided financial support, and its staff will continue participating the programme through teaming up with students team, and 3 bottlers will set up a wetland ambassador team by themselves.
For more information, please contact
Chris Chaplin, Communications Officer, WWF-China
+86 10 6511 6237, firstname.lastname@example.org