Star Award For NZ National Wetland Centre At Ramsar COP14 In Geneva
New Zealand National Wetland Centre has today been recognised as one of the world’s best wetland visitor centres. Their success was announced at the Conference of the global Wetlands Convention, known as Rasmar COP14, underway in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Star Wetland Centre Award is a new initiative to recognise best practice in eco-tourism and education at wetlands. It is coordinated by Wetland Link International (WLI), a support network for staff and volunteers at 300 wetland visitor centres.
NZ National Wetland Centre is one of 20 awardees who have been selected by an international panel of experienced wetlands professionals.
“The judges were particularly struck by the participatory monitoring and relationship with local communities.” says Chris Rostron, the Head of WLI and leader of the Star awards process. “They get the fundamentals right, with good signage, board walks, and workbooks.”
The Stars have been awarded to twenty wetland visitor centres around the world, at a ceremony at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Wetlands, Ramsar COP14.
About NZ National
The New Zealand National Wetland Centre (lead by the National Wetland Trust) is a site in the making. It will be a comprehensive resource for all wetland types in New Zealand, set in the location of a 14,000 year old peat lake and 400 year old kahikatea (white pine) semi-swamp forest reserve.
The reserve is 40 ha in size, of which 10 ha is surrounded by a predator-proof fence to exclude introduced mammals, and has been extensively restored by a group of local volunteers.
The centre currently comprises outdoor Communications, Education, Participation, and Awareness activities: an interactive discovery trail with hands-on educational games and information boards. An ethnobotany trail is in development.
About Wetland Link
Wetland Link International (WLI) is a global network of wetland education centres. We define a wetland education centre as ‘any wetland where there is interaction between people and wildlife and CEPA (communications, education and public awareness) activity occurs in support of wetland conservation aims’. WLI is supported by two staff, based at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) at Slimbridge, UK; and a strong regional presence in Asia lead by the Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia. These staff, plus occasional volunteers, share news, opportunities, and requests on behalf of the network, by email, Facebook, and Twitter. The emails include two newsletters per year, prepared as PDFs to facilitate printing. We also produce three members' webinars each year.