Normally at this time of the year I am enjoying the sunshine of tropical China. But the other week, for three days, I was in the snow of northern Sichuan. What a surprise to see such Chritsmassy weather!
Feeling the cold in Wang Lang National Park
The reason I was there is a new initiative for China – The Nature-based Educators Leadership programme. This is an exciting new project which is bringing together people from all over China to discuss and plan new ideas for environmental education (its important to remember that environmental education is quite a new thing here in China). his initiative is funded by the Ali Baba Foundation. The idea for the workshop I joined was to develop a five-year plan for environmental engagement in the Wang Lang National Park, with the anticipation that tourist numbers will increase over the next few years.
Ancient entrance to a snowy village on the way to Wang Lang National park
Over fifteen workshop participants were working hard with the national park staff to outline a plan of action. This includes providing interpretation on the trails and boardwalks and involving park visitors in the biodiversity monitoring of the park (the biggest attraction are of course the pandas). Although I was struggling to contribute to the plans because discussion were mostly carried out in Chinese, I could see that the park staff and ‘Nature Education Leaders in China’ were passionate and skilled in developing a comprehensive programme to engage and inspire future visitors to the national park.
Wang Lang National Park has built an extensive network of boardwalks in anticipation of increased tourist numbers.
It was fantastic to see a new place in China. Conifers, mountains over 4000 meters and snow! But I am happy the next meeting of the Nature-based Educators Leadership programme will be in Xishuangbanna. No need for 6 layers next time!
Phew, a second successful training course complete at XTBG. Twenty-six participants joined us from botanic gardens around China, to learn and discuss environmental education research. This year Shaun Russell, from the Wales Environment Research Hub, contributed his expertise in citizen science. A great addition to the team! Here’s a few photos.
Participants and teachers of the 2014 Environmental Education Research training course.
Participants during a group exercise discussing citizen science projects.
Groups feedback there ideas about communicating climate change to different audiences.