Location: Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Timeframe: September, 2023 to December, 2023
Updates and Involvement: https://linktr.ee/sense_nepal
Present involvement: Pedal for a purpose; Tell Us Your Wetland Story Competition
Like the urban wetlands in different parts of the world facing deterioration, urban wetlands in Kathmandu Valley are in a decrepit state especially battling pollution, spread of invasive species, and concretization. However, restoring urban wetlands is a complex task because local stakeholders and communities typically lack the motivation or incentive to undertake such endeavors. Recognizing this critical gap, the Save Our Wetlands campaign implemented by Sustainability and Environmental Studies Campaign (SENSE) supported by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Nepal) and Save the Children (SCI-Nepal) under the Shift Campaign Accelerator has embarked on a mission to save the wetlands by harnessing the power and passion of the youth.
Urban wetlands provide valuable ecosystem services such as serving as buffer reservoirs that collect rain water, recharging aquifers, subsiding flood, providing water for irrigation, serving as carbon sinks, supplying water for use etc. They also support substantial biodiversity and also serve as pleasant recreation areas for city dwellers. Along with ensuring good health and well-being, they offer concrete city dwellers a chance to connect with nature. Besides, wetlands of Kathmandu Valley are more than just water bodies, these are bearers of culture.
Acknowledging all these importances, the campaign firmly believes that young individuals possess the potential to be catalysts for change within their communities. Hence, it is actively engaging them in raising awareness and promoting the importance of wetlands with the aim of igniting a spark of environmental consciousness that will reverberate throughout the urban landscape.
The campaign is making use of a mascot called “Indra” which is a Black-tailed Godwit bird. The mascot is named “Indra” and is widely associated with rain in Nepal, thus reinforcing its link with wetlands. In addition, this species is a migratory bird that visits the wetlands of Nepal and is threatened by wetland degradation. Indra represents all life forms that depend on wetlands, including humans.
The following activities are also in development:
- Tell us your wetland story: From the folklore of Nagas to stories of the curses, wetlands in Kathmandu Valley are shrouded in cultural tales. Likewise, wetlands are not only a refuge to urban wildlife, they are also a place of respite for the residents of the valley. Hence, the essence of the competition is in celebrating these cultural and personal connections to the wetlands.
- Scavenger hunt/mystery solving: Engaging youths in solving a series of puzzles related to wetlands from historical and cultural knowledge to their ecological importance.
- Cycle rally: A cycle rally is being organized with the trail connecting different wetlands. The aim is to encourage people to visit different wetlands and observe their state to generate awareness on different wetland issues. People from all walks of life can come in and join the fun event.