International Year of Biodiversity 2010: proposed activities for ASPnet National Coordinators and schools

Showcase the UNESCO travelling exhibition on biodiversity

The UNESCO Natural Science Sector has created a downloadable travelling exhibition to convey the key messages of the International Year of Biodiversity. The exhibition, in English and French, organized around 7 themes comprises in total 42 panels with 6 panels per theme. The physical copy of the exhibition will be enhanced throughout the year with interactive elements. Exhibitors are invited to display local examples of biodiversity alongside the panels.

Involve students in scientific research on biodiversity, as in Peru and Portugal

A project called “Biological Diversity” is targeting 15,000 students in Peru, among them ASPnet students. It aims at encouraging scientific research projects on biodiversity. Selected projects will be presented at several international fairs, such as the International Fair on Education, Science and Technology CIENTEC 2010, 15-19 November 2010, and the global Fair ESI 2011 Bratislava in Slovakia.

Related link: Project website (in Spanish)

To launch the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, Portugal has brought together young scientists of ASPnet schools from four countries during the 12th International Meeting of Young Scientists of the UNESCO Associated Schools under the subject “Biodiversity and Sustainability”, held in Santarém, Portugal, from 13 to 16 January.

Search local species as an emblem for the school as in Costa Rica

ASPnet schools in Costa Rica have been  encouraged to undertake a study of the local diversity and identify one species that will represent the school under the title “an emblem for my school”. The aim of this project is to raise awareness on the value of their fauna and flora and of the necessity to protect them. The project will end with a students’ presentation on 30 October 2010.

Set an ASPnet premium on innovation and creativity as in ASPnet Portugal

Portugal awarded an ASPnet prize for Innovation and Creativity in Biodiversity during an official ceremony in Olhão on 22nd May– the International Day of Biological Diversity-, with the participation of schools, universities, students, parents and biodiversity experts. The works from the competition were exhibited at the International Centre for Coastal Ecohydrology located in Faro and Olhão.

Produce information posters as in ASPnet Austria

To highlight the dramatic consequences of the loss of species, the Environmental Federation (Umweltdachverband) jointly with the Austrian National Commission for UNESCO have sent several information posters on the International Year of Biodiversity to all ASPnet schools in the country. Posters (in German language) can be ordered following this link.

Spread the messages on biodiversity through local school campaigns as in ASPnet UK and Oman

The UK National Commission for UNESCO has launched a competition to find the school that best communicates the important messages of the International Year of Biodiversity. Participating schools are asked to devise a creative and effective campaign that can spread the IYB messages to their local community. Schools can submit a poster, collage, brochure, video or podcast. ASPnet in the UK has also produced an information pack for schools, published in March 2010. The pack includes practical suggestions for how schools can celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity and examples of how UNESCO helps protect biodiversity in the UK, including case studies from UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and natural World Heritage Sites which have distinct biodiversity.

The Omani ASP students and teachers participated in the activities that were organized by the Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science and other institutions in Oman to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity. Students were for example planting mangrove trees and cleaning beaches. They participated in the global Green wave campaign and took part in the “Biodiversity Exhibition in the Sultanate of Oman”, celebrated on International Day of Biological Diversity ( 22nd May 2010).

Seek cooperations with UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, as in Romania, Canada and Brazil

The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve provided the setting for a meeting of the ASPnet flagship project “Blue Danube River Project” from 12-16 June 2010, organized by Romania. The meeting was dedicated, among other issues, to the International Year of Biodiversity. A specific publication is planned on the fauna and folklore of the Danube River.

The next Brazilian National ASPnet Meeting is planned to take place in the Amazonas region in autumn 2010. A special information page was dedicated to biodiversity in the national ASPnet newsletter issue of February 2010. Considered as a country particularly rich in biodiversity (accounting for 20% of the living species), the issue of biodiversity is of specific interest to the educational work in Brazil.

Hafford Central School, an UNESCO ASPnet school, is situated in the heart of the Redberry Lake UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in central Saskatchewan, Canada. The Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve is a closed watershed in the transition zone between the aspen parkland and the boreal forest. The impact of changes to the biodiversity in a closed watershed is critical to the health and well being of the flora and fauna in the region. In order to inform and educate the students who live in the area, Hafford School partners with the Biosphere Reserve to monitor the water in major creeks flowing into Redberry Lake. The students, along with watershed authority and biosphere personnel, test the water for dissolved oxygen, phosphates and nitrates to determine the health of the water going into the lake. In addition, the students, led by a macro invertebrate biologist, collect and examine macro invertebrates found in the creek as a means of determining the health of the watershed. This monitoring indicates what effect water based projects designed to protect riparian areas in the watershed are having.


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