We are very pleased to announce the launch of a new best practice handbook for the design and operation of wetland centres
June 5th each year is World Environment Day – a chance to remind ourselves about the importance of our environment and pledge to support activities to make improvements.
Since 1946, when WWT Slimbridge was established as the World’s first wetland centre, WWT has strived to make improvements to wetland habitats around the world and, importantly, to provide exciting opportunities for people to experience the wonders of wetland habitats and wildlife. For wetlands are not just important for wildlife, they are really useful for us too, providing recreational opportunities with health benefits, natural water treatment, water storage, flood prevention and important sources of food and materials. WWT now operates nine wetland centres around the UK and continues to engage a wide audience through fun and educational activities.
We are celebrating this World Environment Day by announcing that some of our experience has been used to help develop a Handbook on Best Practices for the Planning, Design and Operation of Wetland Education Centres. This handbook presents lessons drawn from the real life experiences of people who run wetland centres around the world. The shared experiences will help establish new wetland centres and enable existing centres to run better and do more to connect people to wetlands. The content was gathered at a global meeting of wetland centre operators (see our previous news story here) organised by the Environment Ecosystem Research Foundation (ERF) of South Korea and supported by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Marie Banks from WWT Consulting and Chris Rostron from WWT’s initiative Wetland Link International assisted with the preparation and delivery of the workshop, presenting many case studies of WWT and WWT Consulting experience, and then also helped edit the handbook.
Dr. Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, says “The Ramsar Convention works to promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands, and the Convention strongly encourages the Contracting Parties to set up education centres at their Ramsar Sites and other important wetlands.”
We hope that this handbook, based on practical advice and case studies, will help others to follow in WWT’s pioneering footsteps.
You can download a pdf of the handbook from the image to the left or a print resolution copy (91MB) from the Ramsar website here.