Birds Korea, April 9th 2013
Everybody knows that “Kids are our Future”, so it is really great to be able to post these two articles written by students at Chadwick International School in Incheon. Readers of the blog will probably already know that some Chadwick students have been conducting counts of waterbirds at the internationally important Song Do tidal-flats (an area now mostly undergoing reclamation) and that some even travelled to Jeju to present their findings and opinions at last year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress. This year, in addition to more bird counts, some of the students have been involved in further conservation activities (including Black-faced Spoonbill related-events led by the BFS Network in Incheon and by Incheon KFEM, and the SBS animation project, initiated by the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society).
With sincere thanks therefore to the school, the students and to science teachers Mr. Aaron Miller and Ms. Lynn Crew and their colleagues for all their work and for kindly contributing these two posts…
And if you know of more students and schools who would like to share their (early) encounters with birds and bird conservation here, either in English or in Korea, please do let us know!
Birds Korea’s Website Helps Chadwick Students Collaborate Across the Pacific
Angela Lee, Chadwick International School, April 2013
A few weeks ago, the 7th grade students at Chadwick International collaborated with the students at the “mother” Chadwick School in Palos Verdes (California, USA) to make bird field-guides. Two or three students were in each group, and each group was then assigned a species – from the House Finch and the White-throated Swift of North America to the Hill Pigeon and the Mallard, there were a large variety of different birds.
In the field-guide itself, there were a number of categories that we had to fill out, such as the common and scientific names, physical description, and description of calls and songs. Some websites that we used in our research for this project were Birds Korea’s, Arkive, Birdlife Factsheets, and the IUCN Red List. The Birds Korea website was especially helpful for getting great pictures of our local birds. After the field guides were finished, they were collected into one page on CI and PV’s shared Wikispace, thereby allowing 7th grade students at both schools to view each others’ field-guides.
Through this field-guide project, students at CI and PV were able to learn more about their respective birds, environmental issues related to birds and also have fun researching about birds they had never even heard of before!
Ornithologist Dr. Nial Moores Meets Chadwick International
Carrie Kim, Chadwick International School, April 2013
The renowned ornithologist, Dr. Nial Moores, an ecologist and the director of the organization Birds Korea, arrived in Chadwick International on March 21st to deliver to the Middle School 7th graders an inspirational environmental insight about the Songdo reclamation project and its effects on shorebirds. In the presentation, prior to the discussion that the students had about saving Korea’s shorebirds, he shared his expertise on the topic of reclamation, and how the decrease of wetland habitats was impacting the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a bird species infamously known for its decrease of population. Students also had an opportunity to openly discuss how to conserve sandpipers’ habitats in Songdo, and seek ways to publicly raise awareness about the reclamation’s effects on bird species.
Dr. Moores did not merely review the environmental situations of Songdo wetlands but criticized the ethical quality and moral values of the Songdo reclamation project, as well as the relationship between human and nature. ‘If there are thousands of other species on earth and we’re just one of them, why do we think that we can dominate and control the nature ourselves?’, he questioned. Under the wetland reclamation project that the Songdo authority and others are actively promoting, the Spoon-billed Sandpipers are struggling to adapt to the changing environment with their given physical adaptations, and face extinction, possibly vanishing from Earth in 20 or 30 years. This will eventually result in the genocide of sandpipers.
An active discussion between Dr. Moores and the 7th graders continued, and many innovative resolutions were discussed from Chadwick students’ active contributions on the topic of wetland conservation. Students learned that it was important to draw connections between people and the sandpipers and convey to the public the message of nature “backfiring” on humankind. Also, 7th graders brought up the idea of advertising the idea of the sandpipers, using public media and propaganda techniques relating to their school studies. Most of the resolutions were concluded in a similar way: spreading the message of sandpipers, and remembering the existence of nature in relation to us humans.
Overall, the visit of Dr. Moores was a motivational opportunity for Chadwick students to gain awareness of their surrounding environment, and think specifically about endangered species, such as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Let’s save birds!