Outreach Activities for Better Understanding of Healthy EcosystemJul 28, 2017
July 17-19, Anhui -- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Anhui Project Management Office (PMO), and Anhui Normal University hosted a three-day outreach activity in July, aiming to increase local residents’ knowledge of healthy ecosystems.
Hosted throughout four reserves -- Golden Lake National Nature Reserve, Anhui Alligators National Nature Reserve, Anqing Wetland Provincial Nature Reserve, and GuiChiShiBaSuo Provincial Nature Reserve -- a total of 16 participants were present. These included staff from Anhui Global Environment Facility (GEF) PMO, students and teachers from Anhui Normal University the School of Journalism and Communication, and journalists from People.com.cn.
UNDP has been working in response to existing and emerging threats to the biodiversity and ecosystem in Anhui Province for decades. The project “Strengthening the Management Effectiveness of the Wetland Protected Areas System in Anhui Province” in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) aims to conserve wetlands in Anhui Province by developing interventions and increasing public awareness about biodiversity.
Part of the UNDP-GEF Anhui project, the outreach activity, as a, was organized as a way to raise public awareness around the importance of wetland preservation and biodiversity. It provided the participating students with an in-depth visit to the four reserves and encouraged local residents to be involved in local environmental advocacy.
During the three-day outreach activity, the students conducted a variety of events including interviews, surveys and drawing activities. Such interactions between staff from the reserves and local residents helped students to learn about local environmental issues, such as competing land use demands amongst animals and humans, and helped become more attentive to issues in protecting local ecosystem.
The drawing activity, which students and reserve staff organized, encouraged local children were to draw Yangtze alligators. In the process, local children learned more about this wetland animal and its value to the ecosystem.
The surveys conducted also reached a broad segment of the public. Students promoted the knowledge of wetlands to more than 200 villagers through sending questionnaires that supported greater protection of the wetlands, and by showing a documentary on wetlands the students had themselves filmed.
The results of the survey sent has only highlighted the importance of previous outreach activities and continued education on biodiversity and wetlands. Of the 104 respondents, approximately 80% had prior knowledge of wetlands, a figure twice that of 2015. This suggests that outreach activities have indeed contributed to locals’ knowledge on wetland conservation.
Though this three-day outreach activity, both program participants and the members of the public whom they reached gained a better understanding of wetlands, biodiversity, and their importance. In the future UNDP will continue to organize similar educational activities in efforts to engage a wider population and create greater awareness about the importance of the wetlands and healthy ecosystems.