Workshop on Wetland CEPA planning for the network of wetland centres took place at the Vorobyi Bird Park, Kaluga Region from 14–15 May 2013

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The workshop was organized by the Wetlands International–Russia Programme in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation under the Project “Establishing a network of educational wetland centres in European Russia to promote wetland conservation through the development and implementation of a СЕРА (Communication, Education, Participation and Awareness) Action Plan” with financial support from the Matra Programme of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in the Russian Federation.

The workshop was participated by 45 people representing Russian and international organisations actively working in the field of wetland education and awareness, which are willing to cooperate and share information with each other and internationally through the Wetland Link International network of wetland centres.

The workshop was opened by Ms Galina Veselova from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation who emphasized the positive attitude to the conservation of important wetlands in Russia and welcomed the developing CEPA Programme as an important tool for wetland wise use. The presentations on the Ramsar CEPA Programme by Sandra Hails from the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and on the WLI network of wetland centres delivering CEPA across the globe by Chris Rostron, Head of Wetland Link International, aroused great interest among the audience. The representatives of Russian wetland centres established in the National Parks of Sebezhsky, Smolensk Lakeland and Meshchera, the Muraviovka Park, the Khakassky Strict Nature Reserve, in the cities of Saint-Petersburg, Tver and Tomsk shared the results of their wetland awareness activities and plans for further work and cooperation. Jan Peters from the Michael Succow Foundation informed the participants on the Foundation’s projects on peatland rewetting and related education and awareness issues.

The Project had provided support to wetland centre activities through the publication of a variety of informational materials on wetland CEPA issues, which were handed to the workshop participants, and extensive training, such as the Training of Trainers Course on Flyway Approach to the conservation and wise use of waterbirds and wetlands. The results of this ToT Course held in the Sebezhsky National Park in September 2012 were presented by Alexander Solokha and Pavel Kvartalnov, Wetlands International Russia Programme Experts. Two examples of successful adaptation of training modules on flyway approach in the Leningrad Region were presented by Nadezhda Krylova and Lyudmila Chirinskaite. Julia Danilova and Eugene Genelt-Yanovsky from the Baltic Fund for Nature made a presentation on the Wetland Awareness Kit and training seminar held at Olonets in early May 2013.

Much attention was given to the Draft Regional Programme of Wetland CEPA Activities for the Network of Wetland Centres in European Russia prepared by Natalia Butorina, Deputy Director of ‘Zapovedniki’ EcoCentre. After discussion a task force was established to take forward the finalization of the Programme and Action Plan. It must be noted that the Programme has been based on considerable experience accumulated by the ‘Zapovedniki’ EcoCentre, in particular through the development of the Strategy and Action Plan for Raising Stakeholder Awareness of the Lower Volga Wetlands. It was very helpful to receive firsthand information on the Strategy implementation from Svetlana Dadonkina and Natalia Lopantseva, the representatives of the UNDP/GEF Project on Conservation of Wetland Biodiversity in the Lower Volga Region.

A special session was devoted to the creation of wetland expositions, visitor centres, museums and nature trails. This is a most important objective of wetland centres, which was demonstrated by an active interest towards the presentations on creating concepts of visitor centres by Yelizaveta Pylenkova and on the peatland travelling exposition by Dina Zatsarinnaya.

The Workshop participants expressed their sincere thanks and gratitude to the Director of Vorobyi Bird Park Tatiana Belyavskaya for her hospitality and interesting presentation about the Park.