The current and previous head of Youth Ramsar Japan, Takuma Satoh and Atushi Tanabe respectively, have visited the Slimbridge Wetland Centre in the UK. Maximising their time in Europe at the Ramsar Standing Committee meeting, they then went to the UK to meet WWN Deputy Chief Chris Rostron and colleagues.
Takuma Satoh writes:
This was the first time I visited an overseas wetland visitor center. First of all, I was surprised at the scale of the Slimbridge Wetland Centre. I felt it was rooted in the locality: WWT centres in the UK have more than 1 million visitors per year and most of them visit from within 20 miles.
It is interesting that the zones of wetland conservation and animal contact are clearly separated, yet each place has different generations and interests for visitors.
By feeding the birds in the collection area, the children learn the original experiences of touching wild animals, while bird-loving adults can secretly observe wild birds. I expressed that it was somewhat like a Japanese zoo, but not exactly. The zoo has a strict permiter, and brings out the wild animals that are not there from the outside, but Slimbridge is the place in the wetland and there is an environment where the wild animals live better. The zoo ends only with contact, and we do not look after environmental conservation and relations with the local community. I felt that there was a fresh place.
I also felt it has a great deal of educational approaches. These had the flexibility to change the contents of the workshop according to the age and the needs of the visiting children. I felt that the connection was created so that not only the children in the area but also the visiting adults could learn.