Home to diverse aquatic fauna, the Yangshan wetland is considered to be one of the most valuable ecosystems in Hainan Island, China. Unfortunately, in recent years, the wetland is coming under threat from pollution, landfills, construction projects and alien invasive species. To tackle this problem, local conservation company Hainan Gao11 Culture Transmission Ltd (HG11) is implementing "The Squirrel School" project, an initiative that raises awareness about the abundant fauna and flora in Yangshan wetland and the need to protect it.
Through the project, funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), HG11 promotes eco-tours and trains local tour-guides, so as to empower communities in Hainan to become more involved in conserving the Yangshan wetland. When IUCN spoke to HG11 recently, this is what they had to say about their project: Since its launch in October 2015, the project has received plenty of support from the public. The eco-guides training workshop was attended by 24 participants, including university students, landscape design teachers, nature-loving housewives, front-line staff of nature reserves, as well as an 11-year-old primary school student called Le le. Le le was very outstanding during the the eco-guides training workshop, which included four days of classroom lectures, outdoor practice and tests. He studied hard and made many drawings of the new plants he learnt about. He was truly an inspiration to other participants. We hope to have more people like him in our workshops Through theory and practical sessions, participants of the eco-guides training workshop learned the basics of nature conservation, and also learned how to identify commonly found species and design eco-tour activities. After the workshop, everyone realized how beautiful the Yangshan wetland was, and told us that they would work hard to protect and conserve it. The closing of the workshop does not mean the end of the project. We will continue to invite experts to share their knowledge, experience and passion. Most importantly, we want to encourage more people to explore the wonders of the Yangshan wetland.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. CEPF's fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.
CEPF provides grants to civil society organizations to help protect biodiversity hotspots - the planet’s most biologically rich but heavily threatened regions. In 2013, IUCN and CEPF launched a USD10.4 million, five-year investment for the conservation of globally important biodiversity in the ‘Indo-Burma Hotspot’ comprising Viet Nam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and parts of southern China. IUCN is leading CEPF’s Regional Implementation Team (RIT) in the Indo-Burma hotspot, working together with Myanmar Environment Rehabilitation-conservation Network (MERN) in Myanmar, and Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) in China.