World Migratory Bird Day
BirdLife Botswana hosted World Migratory Bird Day celebration on the 13th October at Nata Village main Kgotla. The main objective of the celebration was to raise awareness on migratory birds using the theme “Unifying our Voices for Bird Conservation”. The celebration participants consisted of Nata community and leadership (Chief, councillors, Botswana Ash mine Managing Director, VDC), conservation stakeholders and schools in Nata and surrounding villages. Schools were expected to convey message/theme through performing arts been drama, poetry and song. As birds migrate during different seasons throughout the year, World Migratory Bird Day will be observed on both the second Saturdays of May and October, making it possible for individuals and organizations to present educational activities and awareness-raising events in their countries at the time of migration. International cooperation across the entire migratory range is therefore essential.About 200 people came to the Kgotla to celebrate WMBD. 135 students from nine schools accompanied by two teachers from each school graced the event.
People were acknowledged for attending the event. It was explained that migrant birds need to be protected and be safe wherever they are, he stated that birds do not understand of any boundaries as such they fly freely so people’s responsibility is to make sure the route they take are safe from any harm. It was highlighted that Migratory birds cross international borders during their migrations and require quality habitats and a network of suitable sites to support their annual journeys. The relationship between BotAsh mine and BirdLife Botswana was explained as a long lasting relationship and the mine made a lot of major changes to cater for flamingos which are found in large number at Sowa and Nata village. It was stated that before BotAsh mine opened, there was thorough assessment which was made around 1980 and bird experts were called to idealize on how the mine can operate without affecting the existence birds especially flamingos. It was stated that the first step they took was to lower electrical poles below the earth surfaces so that they can avoid issues of electrocutions. It was highlighted that the BotAsh logo which has a flamingo depicts the importance and value of the bird. It was stated that birds are common in most habitats, and people often overlook their ecological significance but their ecological roles are incredibly important and humans can benefit monetarily through the many actions of birds. It was added that birds act as rodent control unlike insects, rodents are a big problem to crops. Rodents eat away the yield of the crop so birds like eagles keep an eye on these rodents. It was stated that scavenging birds quickly and effectively dispose of carcasses of dead animals they find, especially roadkill so is important people keep vultures alive to perform duties for free. It was also stated that birds are recognized as one of the most important indicators of the state of the environment since they are sensitive to habitat change. He concluded by advising people to avoid veld fires because wild fires end up destroying eggs and birds habitat too thus forcing birds to migrate to other countries or areas.
Nine schools from Nata and neighbouring villages competed in three categories, been Drama, Poetry and Song. The schools were expected to raise awareness through performing arts using the theme of the day to showcase their artistic talent. Junior schools and senior schools competed in drama category while primary schools did poetry and song. The first category was Poetry where Zoroga Primary School, Maposa Primary School and Gweta Primary School competed and the former scooped position one while Gweta Primary School took position two and position three went to Maposa Primary School. Song category saw three primary schools competing for position one. Nata Primary School, Tsokatshaa Primary School and Manxotae Primary School battled for position one and the latter managed to scoop position one, position two went to Tsokatshaa Primary School and Nata Primary School took position three. The last category was Drama where Sua Junior secondary school, Kutlwano junior secondary school and Nata senior secondary school competed for what seemed to be a mouth-watering encounter. Sua Junior secondary school took position one, position two went to Nata senior secondary school and Kutlwano took position three. Each school was awarded with a certificate for participation and trophies were awarded to winners from each category.