Houbara Bustard

Why do we need conservation education?

Every school curriculum deals with conservation education. But, it is probably taught only by the biology or geography teacher. Besides, it is perhaps only the alarming and depressing facts regarding the accelerating rate of extinction of species on our planet that is conveyed to young students:

  • We are living in the age of the sixth mass global extinction triggered by human activities.
  • We will lose more than one-fifth of our species in 25 years.
  • In less than a century, we would have lost half of all species.

Haven't your efforts as a teacher often been limited to statistics or information regarding an animal or plant species that is far removed from the learner's or your own surroundings? Has it been easy to inspire the young learner to understand the role of conservation education when he or she cannot relate to this species?

Instead of conveying a sense of doom, we need to focus on the story of love and dedication that conservation is all about. Wouldn't it be more rewarding to take the young learner to something closer to his world and show him or her how to love and respect a species and understand its importance? How can you make the learner develop an interest and positive attitude towards conservation? How can you show him he or she can conserve what he or she loves? We need to change conservation education from a narrow and limited approach to a multi-disciplinary approach. Teachers of various disciplines can deal with it in tandem to convey this story of hope.

Why is it important to teach our young to conserve?

  • to learn to observe and love all life around them
  • to understand the significance of their place in the web of life
  • to understand that conserving a species is essential to conserve man
  • to help change attitudes towards other species
  • to help change attitudes towards other species
  • to train their minds to think of careers in conservation
  • to equip them with skills required to ensure a healthy planet

Why should schools participate in the CESFH Programme?

  • can easily be linked to any curriculum
  • is aligned with ADEC directives
  • is aligned with the national directives and guidelines
  • helps promote traditional knowledge
  • is pedagogically sound
  • helps upscale what is taught in the curriculum
  • helps promote E-STEM (Environment, Science, Engineering and Math)- which uses the environment to enhance STEM learning
  • is multi-disciplinary in approach

Conservation efforts by the UAE government

The variety of biodiversity in the UAE belies the stark and bare landscape that meets the eye on first glance. The environment is very fragile yet supports a diverse range of flora and fauna. Many species that were on the brink of extinction have been successfully conserved due to the foresight and dedication of our late President, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Successful breeding programmes and conservation of habitats have prevented species like the Arabian Oryx, Sand Gazelle, Arabian Leopard, Arabian Tahr, Dugong, the Hawksbill Turtle, and the Houbara Bustard from becoming extinct. Besides this, conservation programmes aimed at releasing falcons back in the wild and using only falcons bred in captivity for hunting have been ongoing to protect these endangered birds of prey. By joining the Convention on Biodiversity in 2014 and the Convention on Migratory Species in 2016, the UAE government underlines the country's commitment to conserving its flora and fauna, both native and migratory.

Why the Houbara Bustard?

The programme is not about conserving a single species, the Houbara Bustard. It aims to share the inside story of a successful effort at conservation and provide teachers with an excellent teaching tool to convey the larger message of conservation to students. As far back as the 1970s, when the numbers of the migratory Houbara Bustard, (which has been the traditional prey of falcons), started declining in the wild, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan understood the significance of upholding the national heritage of falconry while conserving the Houbara Bustard. He started a captive breeding programme and today, his vision and commitment to conserve this species has become a landmark achievement. Through our special focus on the Houbara Bustard, teachers and students gain access to knowledge and understanding of the dedication, collaboration amongst a range of professionals and painstaking efforts that go into conservation. This will inspire the young learner to work towards conserving any other species.

How can participation in the CESFH Programme help the learner?

  • learner centred programme that aids project based learning
  • exposes students to the range of professionals engaged in conservation
  • holistic in nature and helps build 21st century skills in the learner
  • is direct, interactive and fun

Conservation Education with Special Focus on the Houbara (CESFH)

aims to provide schools and teachers with an engaging and dynamic platform to make learning everything about conservation more direct, palpable and fun for the students.

Objectives of this project

  • to help spread knowledge and awareness about the need and efforts at species conservation and sustainability using the Houbara Bustard as a flagship species
  • to understand how sustainable habitats form the foundation for all conservation efforts
  • to understand how conservation of the Houbara Bustard is conservation of the national heritage
  • to provide a holistic programme that builds skills in young learners like communication tools, is future oriented, and so has all the ingredients to enhance sustainability

By helping make conservation education a direct experience for your school, the CEFH will help nurture students who understand how conservation of one species helps conserve many others, and thereby shape their minds towards achieving sustainability in every sense.

Implementation of the Project

The project has two components

 
 

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