In the words of Yeonju Park,
“At the end of the journey with EAAFP and on the way to the next stop
Starting from the middle of January, my 6 months journey at the EAAFP Secretariat has been finalized. When I just joined the internship at the EAAFP, my interest in the environmental field was confined to general issues such as discarded garbage or climate change. I was not aware of the reality of migratory waterbirds who are wandering every season to find new habitats. I have visited tidal flats in the Republic of Korea several times since childhood, but I did not take it seriously that the birds suffer from losing their home due to the artificial infrastructure.
However, the opportunities in EAAFP let me reflect on myself and realize that there are a lot of people who are working for the conservation of migratory waterbirds. Other than the citizen networks, and partners of the EAAFP Secretariat, it was impressive that the public and private institutions are willing to cooperate with us as well. As a person who wants to work for a business that considers the environmental impact, supporting Ulsan Corporate Championship Programme and <Bird Meets Arts> with Yeonsu Foundation for Arts and Culture helped me to broaden my knowledge and experience. Especially from the positive response of the <Bird Meets Arts> participants, I could learn that it is important to provide education to children who are the future generation to coexist with the environment. It is a project to raise awareness for the importance of migratory waterbirds and their habitats among the general public through creative culture and art activities. 2022 <Bird Meets Arts> project is inviting a Korean artist ’Yang Kura’ to lead a participatory installation of artworks and the four education sessions were proceeded until now.
Throughout my 6 months internship, the memorable experiences were the moments with birds in the field. Before I joined the EAAFP, what I have ever seen were seagulls, sparrows, and pigeons. Even though I stayed in Incheon for more than three years, I did not even know that the endangered migratory waterbirds visit here for their breeding and wintering. During some field trips and Ganghwa Big Bird Race, I could find a few kinds of birds through binoculars and learn how to identify their species with different features of appearances and motions.
I recall myself visiting Namdong Reservoir in March and June. In the winter, I joined the volunteer activity to clean up the artificial islands in the reservoir to help the Black-faced Spoonbill (BFS) make its nests during the breeding season. After three months from the cleaning-up activity, I could meet groups of healthy BFS with nests on the islands during the BFS banding event. It was valuable and worthwhile that I contributed to the growth of BFS. I could feel their temperature, which let me be more responsible for the conservation of the birds and their habitats. It truly taught me that action speaks louder than words.
Although my journey ends in July 2022, I will continue to strive for the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats as an individual who sincerely learned how much the birds are valuable to us. Thanks to EAAFP Secretariat and my colleagues for the irreplaceable 6 months with our beautiful migratory birds!”