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Children’s Nature…

The future of avian life is in their hands…

Iraq bird book for children launched

With support from the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, the Ministry of Environment - Kurdish Regional Government, Nature Iraq in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Environment and BirdLife International has just released a new book on birds for the children of Iraq written in the country's two main languages, Arabic and Kurdish.

Released one year after the first field guide on birds, the Birds of Iraq, was published, this book has the information that will enable children to learn to observe and properly identify the birds of Iraq. It contains information on over 35 species of birds that could be commonly seen in wetlands, deserts and arid lands, mountains and woodlands, and towns and gardens.“The natural curiosity of the children is a potent tool that can help build the next generation of environmental activists in Iraq. The children’s guide is aimed at the natural curiosity to make the children more aware to the treasures that surround them”,said Azzam Alwash, CEO of Nature Iraq.

Using illustrations from the original Birds of Jordan book by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (BirdLife in Jordan), as well as images from Birds of the Middle East by R.F. Porter, S. Christensen, & P. Schiermacker-Hansen, the Children’s Bird Guide of Iraq attempts to introduce Iraq’s next generation to the beauty of birds and use their own language (Arabic & Kurdish) to educate children about the natural world and the biodiversity that surrounds them.

"This is a major step in developing the future of nature conservation in Iraq. Once you know and can identify the biodiversity you coexist with, you are far more likely to care about its fate", said Mike Rands, CEO of BirdLife International.

Nature Iraq working in concert with the Iraqi Ministry of Environment has been conducting surveys on biological diversity both in the recently restored Mesopotamian Marshlands of southern Iraq and in the mountains and valleys of Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. Iraqi ornithologists, Omar Fadhel Abd Al Rahman, Koresh Arrarat and Mudhafar Abd Al Baqi Salim, who have worked on these surveys, participated in developing this book for children.Children unite across Europe to record arrival of migratory birds

On February 1 the annual Spring Alive event was launched by the Partners of BirdLife International in Europe. Spring Alive invites children of eight to twelve years old to enjoy and marvel at the return of some of the most fascinating migratory birds to Europe. Through the Spring Alive website http://www.springalive.net, children from all over Europe are asked to record their first sightings of the White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, Common Swift Apus apus and Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica.Additionally to attracting and uniting European children and their families in experiencing nature, Spring Alive aims at contributing to citizen science. Through the observations which the children and/or their teachers record through the Spring Alive website, scientists hope to see whether these four bird species arrive earlier in Europe than normal, thus indicating an increase in temperature in European countries. That way, Spring Alive could contribute to raising awareness for climate change amongst Europe’s youth.

“Thanks to the young observers’ help, we are trying to find out if climate change is really influencing the arrival of birds” says Joanna Kalinowska, the European Coordinator of the event. “Every year, Spring Alive also invites parents and teachers to participate in this initiative. All they need to do is register their first sightings of the four bird species on http://www.springalive.net. Last year Spring Alive collected over 16,000 observations. Thanks to the results we were able to say that spring was slightly earlier in 2007 than in 2006, nevertheless we need more data to make sure that the results are accurate”, finishes Ms Kalinowska.

4th July 2014