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Establishing a network of educational wetland centres in European Russia

 

Wetlands, in particular peatlands, being a characteristic feature of Russian landscapes, provide real and essential benefits to a wide range of interest groups. However, it is evident that the high biodiversity and socio-economic values of wetlands have not been adequately communicated to decision-makers, users and the public at large.


Action Description:

This project has been designed to promote and execute initiatives which increase public awareness of wetland functions, management needs and business opportunities, strengthen information exchange at and between local, national and international levels, improve skills and enhance capacity of target groups to address the wetland wise use issues in Western and Central Russia.

 

This will be achieved through establishing an active network of wetland centres that will be cooperating and sharing information with each other and internationally through the Wetland Link International network of educational centres, and piloting a series of Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness activities prioritized in the Wetland CEPA Action Plan.

Activities and outputs

The project unites organisations actively working in the field of environmental education, which are willing to develop the wetland theme as a priority line of their future activities, to position themselves as wetland centres, and to cooperate and share information with other similar centres directly and through Wetland Link International. These organisations include the educational departments of nature reserves located at the key wetlands of Western and Central Russia and environmental NGOs.

The project is intended to help them to define the concept of their wetland centre, work out cooperation arrangements, undertake the first steps in strategic planning for the centre, and support the implementation of pilot activities at each centre.

The wetland centres will work together to develop a Wetland CEPA Action Plan for Western and Central European Russia in line with guidelines of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.The Action Plan development is seen as an evolving process, starting with a compilation of lists of the most acute needs of each wetland centre, which then be developed into a joint programme of CEPA activitiesas more comprehensive information and experience is collected. The project is of highly dynamic nature, with most activities taken in parallel, and with a focus on frequent delivery of products, sharing of results and lessons learnt and their immediate incorporation into planning documents.

Each wetland centre participating in the project will implement a pilot activity addressing wetland CEPA issues at a particular site. These activities have been selected to focus on different themes, such as the education of shool children,organization of public awareness actions, community participation in wetland management, promotion of peatland restoration, development of ecotourism in wetlands, and promotion of wetland wise use practices through the trans-boundary cooperation of UNESCO biosphere reserves.

Support to all these activities will be provided through extensive training and the publication of a variety of key informational materials on wetland CEPA issues.


Action Partners:

The key project partners areWetland Link International (Programme of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, UK), the Sebezhsky National Park, the Smolensk Lakeland State Biosphere Reserve, the Nerusso-DesnyanskoyePolesye State Biosphere Reserve, the Meshchera National Park, the Biologists for Nature Conservation NGO under the Baltic Fund for Nature (St.Petersburg), the Birds and People Non-commercial Partnership, and the EcoClub of Tver University.