Wetlands impact 40 percent of the world’s plant and animal species that live or breed in the habitat. Beavers, otters, bobcats and alligators are just a few of the animals that make up the wetlands’ incredible biodiversity.
Every year on February 2, World Wetlands Day commemorates the anniversary of the first Convention on Wetlands, which was held in February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. During the convention, Ramsar was celebrated as an exceptional area of wetland biodiversity and scenery. In subsequent years, World Wetlands Day has expanded globally to encompass more of the earth’s vital wetland habitats.
With properties around the world, Shangri-La Group recognizes the importance of preserving the world’s wetlands. Check out how Shangri-La properties and colleagues in Surabaya and the Maldives participated in World Wetlands Day 2020 by working with their communities to protect local coastlines.
One of the most integral building blocks of tropical wetland ecosystems are mangrove trees. Mangroves have tangled root systems that form dense thickets, shielding delicate coastlines during storms and natural disasters and serving as fish nurseries for many species of marine life.
To help understand the importance of mangrove ecosystems, our hotel team members and local school children enjoyed a hands-on experience with mangroves on World Wetlands Day. Twenty-four volunteers from Shangri-La Hotel, Surabaya and 11 fifth graders from the Tanwir elementary school, the hotel’s EMBRACE partner, planted 250 mangrove seedlings in a mangrove plantation in Wonorejo, Surabaya. Representatives from NOL Sampah, an organization that encourages and supports zero-waste projects, and fishermen from the Trunojoyo community educated participants about the dangers of plastic waste and the benefits of planting mangrove seeds.
“We invite everyone to alter their lifestyles such as using less plastic, bringing reusable bags and utilizing reusable drinking bottles,” said Wawan, a senior consultant of NOL Sampah.
Mangroves were also the centerpiece of World Wetlands Day in the Maldives, where 31 students and 14 Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives colleagues learned about the wetlands habitat and adopted a mangrove in Addu Nature Park. To help protect the Maldives coastline, the resort team will support and monitor the growth of the mangrove.
Further enriching the day’s activities, Ahmen Shan, senior environment analyst from the Ministry of Environment, led an educational talk about the importance of wetlands. And to provide the group with real world examples of environmental protection at the resort, Darwin Panaligan, service manager of learning and development, taught the group about the resort’s CSR projects, including its dedicated Reef Care Project.
Thank you to our colleagues in Indonesia and the Maldives for caring for our environment on World Wetlands Day.