did a dolphin get to the middle of a classroom? What are
these young rescuers learning? Will they succeed in this
difficult task? You might have asked yourself these questions
if you were walking through the Bonn International School
yesterday, Monday 22 May 2006. Staff members from the Convention
on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Society (WDCS) decided to celebrate Biodiversity Day with
the children, to learn together about conservation of endangered
species. With the assistance of BIS teachers, the students
were organized in groups, each one attending a different
set of presentations and activities.
Ms. Annika Winter from WDCS shared information on whales
and dolphins, their biology and behaviour and threats to
their survival. At the end of an interactive presentation,
the students had learned how to become a ‘dolphin
rescuer’. Students understood it is not an easy task,
and requires commitment, expertise and knowledge. A dolphin
rescue exercise was carried out successfully by the students.
Ideas on how to work together for the conservation of dolphins
were shared with Annika and the group at the end of the
Other students learned about the fascinating world of bats
from the Executive Secretary of EUROBATS (a species Agreement
under CMS). After viewing a short movie on bats, Mr. Andreas
Streit, now better known at BIS as Batman, answered numerous
questions on the behaviour and life of these nocturnal mammals.
Mr. Francisco Rilla Manta, CMS Secretariat, described the
captivating phenomenon of animal migration, focusing in
particular on the long-distance travel birds undertake seasonally.
Ms. Veronika Lenarz, CMS Secretariat, continued by describing
the obstacles that migratory animals face during their trips,
i.e. the whole process of migration and explained how the
Convention works to remove these obstacles.
The report on the effects of the Tsunami on biodiversity
in Sri Lanka prepared by Mr. Nalanda Wijeratne of CMS was
discussed with a group of comparatively senior students,
who demonstrated a deep knowledge of the effects that both
natural and man-made disasters and phenomena can have on
plants and animals.
Mr. Wijeratne presented images of his country ‘before’
and ‘after’ the Tsunami, showing the devastation
and loss of habitat such an event can cause. His presentation
was followed by a thorough account of the ‘life of
a marine mammal keeper’ : Ms. Jeanette Rogers, currently
undertaking an internship with the ASCOBANS Secretariat,
was a marine mammal keeper at the NY Aquarium. Through her
stories of a daily life in contact with several marine species
she was able to communicate her love for and commitment
to marine mammals, and explain the importance of research
and education to better understand their behaviour and needs.
Younger children participated actively and posed several
questions during presentations on gorillas and turtles.
Questions arose like: “What do gorillas eat?”
“Are they really endangered?” “Are gorillas
stronger than my dad?” “ Why aren’t turtles
laying their eggs in the sea?” “ Are turtles
dangerous?” Ms. Paola Deda and Mr. Marco Barbieri,
CMS Secretariat, replied to these and more questions and
presented images of these species in the wild. Children
produced several drawing and messages they wish to send
to the public through CMS website. A special CMS page to
report on the event is being created to do this.
The CMS Secretariat and WDCS believe that this event has
helped raising awareness of endangered species amongst a
cross section of international students at Bonn International
School and perhaps provide the first training for future
adult conservationists. The event will also assist the Secretariat
to prepare guidelines for similar events in schools worldwide
to be shared with Parties. In the coming months, CMS will
work with Bonn International School to prepare of a brochure
and webpages on migratory species to be distributed to all
other international schools around the world and to be made
available to the schools and to the wider public through
the CMS website.
To view drawings
and messages for the BIS students please click here
For more pictures
on the event please click here