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Spring Alive finds inventive solutions to protect birds
My safe windows contest finalist - Claudia Wegworth's work and the photo
Anyone who’s ever doubted the point of children’s nature education only has to look at Spring Alive. This year, we haven’t just helped to run fun activities – we’ve helped our community to restore habitats and share innovative new ideas to make the world safer for nature and people. Picture the scene: children are busy drawing brightly-coloured shapes of birds, cutting them out, and sticking them all over their school. You can’t get more arty than that, right? But even these colourful stickers have a practical function – preventing birds from colliding with windows. This year’s theme, ‘how can I make my windows bird-safe?’, sparked a movement that raised awareness and prevented hundreds, if not thousands, of bird fatalities across continents. And then there’s our online community, which this year has proved that social media isn’t just for sharing cute cat videos or ranting about politics. This Autumn, our fun Facebook competition, “My Safe Windows”, invited the Spring Alive community to share some important and innovative tips on how to prevent birds from colliding with windows in their home. One of the best ideas was ‘bird strings’: a simple, effective and completely reversible alternative to stickers, perfect for people who can’t or don’t want to stick things to their window. And that’s just one of the ways Spring Alive has helped birds this migratory season. On October the 12th, Pupils from Noura School in Mauritania celebrated World migratory Bird Day by actively fighting plastic pollution. Together with Nature Mauritanie (BirdLife Partner), they took a trip to Nouakchott coast and urban wetlands, where they studied the local seabirds and then proceeded to clean up the entire beach – filling more than a dozen sacks with discarded plastic. In 2013, Mauritania banned single-use plastic bags to protect the country's wildlife and livestock, so practical education projects like these are an excellent way to make sure this legislation has a lasting impact. In Albania, another city park clean-up yielded scores of sacks, and similar ventures made parks and beaches safer for nature and people across Europe and Africa. It’s clear to see that initiatives as simple as competitions and activities have made a real difference. But even if children’s activities have no greater purpose than just having fun, they still teach children about the wonder and beauty of nature and inspire young minds with a passion that lasts a lifetime. And, as anyone who’s ever had to answer the persistent questions of an inquisitive child knows, this enthusiasm is hard to get rid of once it’s begun. Stay tuned!