A virtual training programme on Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) for representatives of State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) and Union Territory Biodiversity Councils (UTBCs) was organized by the National Biodiversity Authority, Wetland International South Asia (WI-SA) and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on 21st and 25th January 2022. The workshops were organised with an objective to train SBB and UTBC officials in conducting the AWC and use it for conservation planning and actions. It was attended by over 300 participants representing 28 State Biodiversity Board and 8 United Territory Biodiversity Councils.
The session started with the welcome remarks of Dr Ritesh Kumar, Director of WI-SA emphasizing the potential contribution of citizen science in biodiversity conservation. Dr V. B. Mathur, Chairman of the National Biodiversity Authority in his opening remark highlighted the need of citizen science in conserving biodiversity and encouraged the Biodiversity Boards, Councils, and Management Committees to support such monitoring initiatives while performing their statutory duties.
Technical sessions on introduction to AWC and its significance to biodiversity conservation, field protocol for waterbird counting, site standardisation, data collection and reporting formats were taken up by Dr Sathiyaselvam, BNHS and Mr Dhruv Verma, WI-SA, the AWC National Coordinators. Insights from state level coordination (with volunteers & government agencies) and reporting mechanism were shared by Dr Pronoy Baidya, AWC Goa Coordinator and KV Sudhakar & Kumaran Sathasivam, AWC Tamil Nadu Coordinators.
A few success stories showcasing the positive impact of AWC in species protection, habitat conservation and research from different States and UTs were presented by several AWC state coordinators Ms Gitanjali Kanwar (Punjab), Dr Pronoy Baidya (Goa), Dr S Subramanya, (Karnataka), Mr Arvind Mishra (Bihar) to inspire attendees for participation in the AWC.
These sessions were followed by an open discussion, where officials and members of the SBBs and UTBCs interacted with the trainers of various facets of AWC, such as need of further training of BMC members on waterbird identification, review of data on eBird, reporting and coordination process.
The workshop concluded with a commitment from all attendees to promote and support the AWC through wider participation and inter-sectoral coordination to realise the goals of waterbirds and wetlands conservation.
A joint AWC will be conducted in each state on 12th February 2022 to further understand the process and contribute to the largest biodiversity monitoring programme of India.
Technical sessions taken up by AWC coordinators
The link of recording is below:
For more information, contact:
Dhruv Verma at [email protected]