Within the framework of our project “Birds of Issyk-Kul – promoting collaborative efforts in wetlands and waterfowl”, we have planned 6-month training for schoolchildren from 5 villages in Issyk-Kul oblast (Kara-Talaa, Kara-Shaar, Tuura-Suu, Ottuk and Shor-Bulak). During these 6 months, schoolchildren learn about birdwatching as a hobby and as a way to promote tourism in the area, as well as other skills such as debating, critical thinking, media literacy, and production of interesting content on social media.
To further consolidate our educational component among the target schools, in February we organized ecological contests for grades 8th-10th of 5 schools dedicated to Ramsar Day. The goal of these ECO contests was raising awareness on the ecological importance of wetlands located nearby their villages and to promote love for waterfowls and other types of birds.
For information: Annually, on February 2, we celebrate the World Wetlands Day (Ramsar Day) aimed at raising public awareness on the value of wetlands and waterfowl. The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat was signed on February 2, 1971, in the city of Ramsar (Iran) and has since been called the Ramsar Convention. The main goal of the Ramsar Convention is the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands as a means of achieving sustainable development around the world. Kyrgyzstan joined the Ramsar Convention in 2002. The large lakes Issyk-Kul, Son-Kul and Chatyr-Kul are included in the Ramsar list.
Both schoolchildren and teachers were happy to participate in this event, as due to COVID-19 restrictions and online study, it had been more than a year since schools had hosted such events. Secondly, there was no due attention paid to ecology at school before now, so having a whole event dedicated to environmental protection was something new and exciting for children.
The ECO contests had the following programme:
- Introduction: Decide the team names. Note: The team name must be named after a bird that lives in your area.
- Quiz about birds among teams.
- Homework: Scene: a story about birds or excerpts from fables.
- “Bird race”. A game on telling the name of another bird starting with the last letter of the previous word
- Song and dance competition about birds
- Captain Race: A Bird Proverb Contest
The schoolchildren showed a great level of preparedness and knowledge for each point. The events were colourful and joyful. Each team prepared a uniform dedicated to a certain bird. We especially remembered the Swan and Flamingo Dances, the fable about a fox and crane and the cosmic thematic of Tuura-Suu students.
For information: Our “Birds of Issyk-Kul – promoting collaborative efforts in wetlands and waterfowl” was funded by the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan within the framework of Small Grants Programme.