Minjae Baek, Intern, EAAFP Secretariat
The national celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity, World Wetland Day and World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2017 was held jointly at the National Institute of Ecology (NIE) in Seocheon, the Republic of Korea (RoK), from the 20th to the 24th of May. Over 700 participants from both national and local government including the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Seocheon County, and international organizations such as EAAFP and local communities joined the event. Spike Millington, the Chief Executive of EAAFP attended the ceremony with other Secretariat staff.
Seocheon has important habitats of migratory waterbirds including Geum River Estuary [EAAF100] and Yubu-do Tidal Flat [EAAFP101]. Many threatened species visit the tidal flats here every year. The EAAFP Secretariat held a booth and raised public awareness on WMBD and the importance of migratory waterbird conservation through material distribution and activities including colouring and the To Our Winged Traveller (TOWT) participatory art project. There were many other booths and photo exhibitions run by local NGOs and national institutions.
To mark WMBD, an international site managers’ workshop was held on the 23rd of May. It was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Seocheon County. The theme of the workshop was ‘Bird watching and Sustainable Tourism.’ Around 100 participants from various organisations including local governments and NGO as well as international participants from BirdLife International, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Woodside Energy attended. Millington made an opening remark and Tomoko Ichikawa, Communication Officer, made a presentation about WMBD in EAAF. There were presentations on bird watching, eco-tourism, and bird watching culture to share the experience and information. The importance of habitat conservation and awareness raising was emphasized. In the discussion session, participants exchanged ideas how it can be promoted in the Republic of Korea.
On 24 May, participants of the workshop joined a field trip to Yubu-do Tidal Flat. Participants observed many shorebirds including Oystercatchers, Grey Plovers, Mongolian Plovers, Broad-billed Sandpipers, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, and Whimbrels etc. Some were changing the plumages from non-breeding to breeding. Spike had an interview with staff from Woodside Energy who help with the conservation of the tidal flats in Seocheon.
For more photos, visit EAAFP’s Flickr album WMBD 2017 National Celebration in the RoK