Wetlands are one of the most productive environments in the world.
They are the “supermarket” of biological diversity.
While wetlands have been dwindled world-wide due to overuse, pollution, conversion into residential use and dumping sites there are also concrete evidences of intensive campaigns under way to conserve and use them wisely.
By this account, it can be said that two major issues appear at the stake which needs to be immediately addressed. They are; (1) stop their depletion and deterioration and (2) prevent further deterioration.
Since human actions are the main cause of their destruction, it should be our duty and responsibility to awaken people by educating on the danger of overuse as well as the joys of conservation and wise use. The positive and negative accounts of wetlands will help people weigh the gravity of issues and enable them to set the priority. It is against this context that the idea of bringing regional wetland educators together was onceptualized, particularly to evaluate the community-based educational package prepared by the IGES/EE Project on the wise use of wetlands. The title of the workshop was baptized Workshop on the Evaluation of Educational Materials. The workshop was held for three days (7-9 January 2003)
at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand.
The main goal of the workshop was to provide a forum for wetland educators, practitioners, scientists and mangers to discuss about educational material so that information, knowledge and wisdom on the wise use of wetlands can be disseminated effectively across the Asia-Pacific. It was envisaged that regional workshop would provide a platform to achieve this goal. The goal was further broken down into the several objectives. These objectives are;
1. Share current knowledge, issues and experiences in wetland education,
2. Evaluate the appropriateness and usefulness of the educational materials on wetland conservation.
3. Seek out practical ways of disseminating wetland knowledge and information to the stakeholders.
IGES/EE Project and Ramsar Center Japan (RCJ) organized the workshop in cooperation with Faculty of Environmental Resources Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand.
Since this workshop was activity-based, two-thirds of the time was devoted on discussion (sharing new ideas, experiences, methodologies, tactics, etc.) and one-third on the sharing of experiences from case studies. A visioning exercise was also conducted to stimulate discussion and to determine the course of action for disseminating the materials effectively
A total of 30 participants attended the workshop representing universities, NGO, research organizations and professional organizations. The provisional list of participants is presented in Annex A.
The Doing Education at Wetland Sites: Examples and Modalities from Asia is the output of the workshop. The document consists of four chapters (1) case studies from 14 sites representing 11 countries, (2) perspectives on environmental education ? the output of the panel discussion, (3) community-based educational package, and (4) visuals and views including three annexes.
Many individuals made their contribution directly or indirectly to the success of this workshop. Due to space constraints, naming them all is not possible here. On behalf of organizers we would like to put on record our deep appreciation and gratitude to all of them.
Last but not least, we would like to express our deep appreciation to our project secretary Ms. Chikako Sugawara for her design and layout of this document. Without her cooperation this book would not have been possible. We would like to give her our “big thank you”.