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NEPA engages students, teachers in protecting birds

Jamaica Observer 2019-05-15 10:54:08

THE National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will engage primary-school students and teachers in the protection of shore and water birds ahead of International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22.

Approximately 70 students from 12 primary schools in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information's Region 6 will participate at a sensitisation, session at the Mount Nebo Primary School and Baptist Church in St Catherine tomorrow.


The school is located within the Rio Cobre Watershed area, which empties into the Kingston Harbour and is a popular site for bird watching.


NEPA's senior public education officer, Ava Tomlinson, told JIS News that the session will include “a presentation to the students to show them how their solid waste, in particular plastics, impacts our marine environment”.


“When we do not dispose of (plastics) properly and the material gets into the drainage system, it then ends up on our coastlines and impacts on shore birds and water birds,” she noted.


The students will also be engaged in bird watching and a variety of games, including a scavenger hunt, and also learn about obstacles to bird migration.


Each participating student, teacher and school will receive a certificate.



Teachers in attendance will also receive training and certification in the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory's Bird Sleuth Programme, administered through NEPA.


The Bird Sleuth Programme engages children in scientific study and real data collection. It is supported by a kit of resources and materials to support scientific inquiry by the students, enabling them to increase their knowledge and interest in nature and science.


The sensitisation session is part of activities by NEPA to observe the month-long Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival being hosted by Birds Caribbean.


The theme for the festival and the session is 'Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution'.


Students from the James Hill Primary School in Clarendon are assisted in spotting and identifying birds during a bird-watching session hosted by NEPA earlier this year as part of its Bird Sleuth Programme.