Bird Festival and Nature Expo 2019 lifts value of biodiversity

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The inaugural Bird Festival and Nature Expo 2019 is a good opportunity for people who are interested in learning more and conducting research about birds and nature. BirdLife Cambodia

To be held on December 7, at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, the first “Bird Festival and Nature Expo” welcomes the participation of enthusiasts and aficionados in celebrating the wonders of nature and birds, and promoting their conservation.

The expo is jointly organised by the General Department of Administration for Nature Conservation and Protection (GDANCP), Ministry of Environment; NatureLife Cambodia (NLC); Birdlife International, and the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Themed “Together for Bird Conservation,” the event boasts an array of exciting activities ranging from engaging activities like entertaining performances, interactive games, and photography and art competitions to educational activities such as workshops and informational seminars.

While Cambodia is known for its rich biodiversity and natural resources, the Kingdom is also home to various critically endangered bird species such as the giant ibis, White-shouldered ibis, red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture, slender-billed vulture, Bengal florican and so on.

BirdLife International Cambodia Programme Manager Bou Vorsak, who has spent nearly 15 years working to protect birds in Cambodia, believes that public engagement and participation in their conservation is crucial to their ecology and biodiversity.

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BirdLife International Cambodia Programme Manager Bou Vorsak said the main goal of the programme is to raise awareness on bird and nature conservation work. Photo supplied

“When people love nature, understand the value of our biodiversity, and the importance of sustainable development, it becomes possible for mankind to live in harmony with nature.

“The main goal of this programme is to raise awareness about the work that people in bird and nature conservation do.

“We hope to engage more people in the campaign of safeguarding and protecting what people seem to take for granted though it’s important in our lives,” Vorsak said.

With this goal in mind, the expo has a broad target market including children, students, families, researchers, wildlife photographers and enthusiasts, and participants from the public and private sectors.

“We want to encourage the public to participate and spark their interest in nature and the environment. Our focus is specially trained on the younger generation.

“Hopefully, the event will serve as a catalyst to mobilise and inspire them to help address the problems which the conservation society is currently facing,” he said.

Vorsak continued: “The Bird Festival and Nature Expo 2019 is a good opportunity for people who are interested in learning more and conducting research about birds and nature as they would have the chance to meet experts from the conservation society.”

He noted that the attendees will be welcome to attend public workshops facilitated by environmental experts, one of which is Tuy Sereivathana.

Sereivathana is a Cambodian environmentalist who has been internationally recognised for his efforts in community-based elephant conservation.

A recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2010, Sereivathana has spent over two decades to improve the community wellbeing and reduce threats to elephants and other wildlife in Asia.

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He is set to speak in the upcoming nature expo to share his knowledge of elephant conservation and its current status in Cambodia.

The conservationists will not only speak about the critically endangered species in need of immediate help and protection but also talk about how each individual can contribute to nature conservation.

The booths that will be set up around the campus will be there to complement the information shared by the speakers.

“The expo will have about 20 booths that have presentations, performances, exhibitions, educational games, a photo competition, a painting contest, and learning materials to educate the audience about biodiversity.

“We chose the Royal University of Phnom Penh as the expo venue because of the university’s particular focus in biodiversity in its curriculum.

“In the morning, we will have a storytelling session about birds and in the afternoon, a workshop about bird conservation will take place with the area experts taking the stage,” Vorsak said.

One of the most interactive and anticipated programmes will be the “Exploring Bird and Nature Walk” which will be done twice – once in the morning and again in the afternoon.

The programme will enable participants to learn how to identify the type and species of birds that will be brought to the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Besides, the one-and-a-half-hour session will allow participants to familiarise themselves with conservation-related technology such as App Seek and App iNaturalist, specially designed to help users identify the animals and plants they encounter.

Bird Festival and Nature Expo 2019 will be open to the public from 8am to 5pm at the Royal University of Phnom Penh along Russian Federation Boulevard.

Those who wish to join the nature walk can register online at https://forms.gle/CNbRPzGdH81LdTHk9 or at the booth before 9am.