ANNUAL REPORT ON THE BIRDLIFE OVERBERG’S CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGN: PROJECT 6: EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS IN SUPPORT OF THE CLEANMARINE CAMPAIGNPosted on the 2nd January 2019
The African Black Oystercatcher was selected as the BirdLife South Africa Bird of the Year 2018. This represented an ideal opportunity to use this iconic target species of our CleanMarine campaigns as the cornerstone of our educational projects during the year.
This campaign was launched through the development of a PowerPoint presentation entitled “The African Black Oystercatcher as the bird of the year and other coastal conservation stories”. The talk reviews the BirdLife South Africa campaign and the other CleanMarine projects and was presented at the monthly talk of the Somerset West Bird Club on 12 January and then incorporated into all Flight for Birders identification and conservation courses presented throughout 2018. It was also presented to representatives of most provincial bird clubs at the meeting of the Western Cape Birding Forum on 4 June.
The BirdLife South Africa Bird of the Year 2018 material and resources on the African Black Oystercatcher was released and the link to this, as well as a summary of the resources was forwarded to club members and disseminated through the Western Cape Birding website and our social media platforms. The posters accompanying the resources are beautiful, very educational and practical and a bulk shipment of these was received. Members were requested to assist with the distribution of the posters and links to the resources to schools in their areas and we thank all those who had assisted in this regard. Posters were also disseminated to representatives of Whale Coast Conservation (WCC), the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) and the Environmental Management Division of the Overstrand municipality, together with 2,000 copies of the newly developed identification brochure on the common coastal birds. (See report below). The majority of schools in the region were reached through this initial phase of the bird of the year campaign.
Media releases were also prepared in collaboration with those done by BirdLife South Africa and disseminated to regional newspapers and posted on the website and social media platforms. It is significant to note that many requests for more information and especially posters were received after these postings.
The identification brochure on the common coastal birds of the Western Cape Province was also revamped to include text describing our conservation campaigns focusing on the African Black Oystercatcher as bird of the year. The new brochure was developed and printed after we received a grant to do so from the Important Bird and Biodiversity division of BirdLife South Africa. Our appreciation goes to Dale Wright for facilitating this process. We also thank Alan Beverley and his staff at Durbanville Commercial Printers for their continued support with the artwork, layout and printing of the brochures. The bulk of these brochures were disseminated to schools as mentioned above and through the two campaigns discussed below.
|Covers of the coastal birds identification brochure|
|Illustrations in the coastal birds identification brochure|
Our partners at Whale Coast Conservation played a major role in assisting us in disseminating the educational material to schools in our region. WCC presented a workshop to EcoSchools practitioners on 21 April and we provided the posters and links to the resources, as well as the brochures mentioned to the participants of 15 schools. WCC further presented their annual Schools Expo during August and in 2018 they focused on endangered species. They used flashcards to illustrate the plight of species such as the African Penguin, Cape Leopard, some Fynbos plants, and others and used these for presentations to small groups of learners at the majority of schools in the Overstrand. A flashcard set on the African Black Oystercatcher was used as “a conservation success story”. We thank club member Jenny Parsons for the use of some of her outstanding case-study images of the life cycle of an oystercatcher breeding and chick rearing process. (We report on a PowerPoint presentation on Jenny’s brilliant photographic overview in the report on oystercatcher conservation). We also donated copies of our all four bird identification brochures on the common birds of the Western Cape, including the revamped coastal bird brochure, to all the participating learners and disseminated the BirdLife South Africa bird of the year posters and resources on the oystercatcher to all 16 participating schools. Finally WCC presented a holiday programme during December in which they again used the oystercatcher flash cards.
|Sheraine van Wyk during WCC Eco Expo - August, Photo credit WCC.|
|Anina Lee during the WCC holiday programme - December. Photo credit WCC.|
Our partners at the Dyer Island Conservation Trust again came to the party with their schools Marine Month competition during October. “In its third year, the Marine Month competition run by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust with eco-tourism partners Marine Dynamics & Dyer Island Cruises, and with the support of conservation partners, the Overstrand Municipality and Birdlife Overberg, reached 16 schools in the Overberg area”. – DICT.
Brenda du Toit and Pinkey Ngewu of DICT and Anton designed the format of the competition with the bird of the year resources again being central to the competition. The competition was aimed at specific ages with various categories:
Category 1 - COLOURING (Grades 1 - 3)
Category 2 - POETRY (Grades 4 - 7)
Category 3 - ESSAY (Grades 8 - 11)
|Pinkey & Anton judging poems. Photo credit DICT|
|DICT staff judging artwork|
The judging took place on 18 October and was very difficult given the quality of the entries received. The ten winners in each of the three categories were taken out on sea cruise on the Whale Whisperer, sponsored by Wilfred Chivell. The children further received goody bags that again included copies of our four identification brochures on the common birds of the Western Cape, as well as copies of the BirdLife South Africa bird of the year posters on the African Black Oystercatcher once they hit dry land after their exciting cruise.
|The winners of the schools competition with teachers all set for their cruise. Photo DICT.|
We firstly need to acknowledge the contributions of several BirdLife Overberg members to this process. The use of Jenny Parsons’ brilliant images of the oystercatcher breeding and chick raising process was central to the success of the campaign. We thank Dale Wright and Daniel Marnewick of the Important Bird and Biodiversity division of BirdLife South Africa for the grant that enabled us to develop and print the revised identification brochure on the coastal birds of the Western Cape. Anina Lee and Sheraine van Wyk of Whale Coast Conservation and Wilfred Chivell, Brenda du Toit and Pinkey Ngewu of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust played a pivotal role in getting the oystercatcher conservation message across to so many schools and learners. I would personally like to express my gratitude to Mark Anderson, the CEO of BirdLife South Africa and Mark Brown, the Director of the Nature’s Valley Trust for their encouragement and support throughout this process.
The Secretarybird is the bird of the year 2019 and it is recommended that a similar campaign be launched for school children during this year. Volunteers will however be needed to manage such a process..