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Hellenic Ornithological Society, photo: G.Alexandris
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August 1, 2019
In how many languages can you say Lesser?
Educational material without borders for the Lesser White-fronted Goose

The Hellenic Ornithological Society has been working non-stop on Lesser White-fronted Goose conservation for approximately 20 years now, as Greece has been the most important country for the species in the EU hosting the extremely fragile remains of its Fennoscandian population. During our efforts to safeguard this species we have been resourceful, eventful and used our imagination to tackle its threats from many different angles. One of the most fulfilling, successful and promising projects has been engaging with the young people. In the framework of a LIFE funded project for Lesser White-fronted Goose conservation that took place during 2011-2017, HOS developed an extensive Environmental Education Programme that run across northern Greece and included approximately 6,000 pupils. A wide range of educational materials were produced and used as tools in order to inspire those young potential conservationists. Following the success of that programme  and by securing funding from BirdLife Norway and the Norwegian Environment Agency, Lesser White-fronted Goose material was produced in Norwegian, Persian and Russian in order to reach out as wide as possible across the range of the species in the western Palearctic.

The Critically Endangered Fennoscandian Lesser White-fronted Goose population breeds in northern most mainland Norway and BirdLife Norway has been at the forefront of its conservation efforts. A comprehensive activity book was produced in Norwegian for 9-12 year old kids, a poster, colour book, floor game and children’s story. Russia being the most important country for geese worldwide and the host of most of the Lesser White-fronted Goose breeding grounds couldn’t be missing out and a children’s story, colour book and poster were produced. Up to 8,000 Lesser White-fronted Geese can winter in the banks of the Aras Dam in Northern Iran, and in collaboration with the Tarlan Ornithological Society and the Department of Environment a colour book and poster were produced in Persian. All above material was also produced in English for those educators worldwide who wish to make the first step and meet a small goose with a long legacy or even for those who wish to adapt this educational approach to the conservation of other waterbirds.

"For Norway –representing the nursery of the population– a holistic conservation approach is of critical importance. Thus, international cooperation –and especially with Greece–  is crucial for the well-being of the birds and a positive population development. The inspiring and attractive outreach & communication work created by HOS, also targeting the new generation of conservationists is outstanding and represents a very important element of this comprehensive international effort.", explains Morten Ekker, Lesser White-fronted Goose advisor in the Norwegian Environment Agency.

To ensure the successful conservation of threatened species in the long run, it is essential that we make use of all tools at our disposal. In this regard, engaging with children and schools in local communities where Lesser White-fronted Geese occur is a vital component of our overall communication, education and awareness-raising activities. The materials developed by HOS will be promoted by the AEWA Lesser White-fronted Goose International Working Group and will hopefully be used in all key range states for the species in the near future.”, outlines Nina Mikander, International Lesser White-fronted Goose Working Group Coordinator at the AEWA Secretariat.

It was no short feat to produce materials in languages that you cannot even read!” explain Evgenia Panoriou, Environmental Education Officer and Manolia Vougioukalou, Lesser White-fronted Goose Programme Manager at HOS. “The cultural differences were many, some we couldn’t even have predicted (!), but the need for safeguarding one of the rarest waterbirds united us all in this common goal and in the end this immense effort was worth every minute. Our aim is to contribute to the existing Lesser White-fronted Goose conservation network with the power, imagination, freshness and active participation of today’s youth. Chinese next?”


Please feel free to contact BirdLife Greece for further information (info@ornithologiki.gr, contact person: Evgenia Panoriou) or visit the www.ornithologiki.gr/lwfg in order to download the materials.

 

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