Crested Bulbul Club, Elderly section of Hong Kong Bird
Watching Society (HKBWS) was initially started by HKBWS with funding by the Healthy Ageing Fund. The club for elderly birdwatchers is now run entirely by the elderly members. They not only organise a range of indoor and outdoor activities but also lead guided bird watching walks in Hong Kong and Kowloon Parks on two mornings per week as a free service to the community.
The bird watching society (HKBWS) has an elderly section named the Crested Bulbul Club, who as volunteers promote bird watching as a platform to increase the public’s knowledge. They provide guided walks in Hong Kong Park and Kowloon Park and instil their love of birds and their environment. They teach about what the birds eat, their survival and to let the public see their interrelation within the ecosystem — thus inspiring the public to protect the environment.
The Crested Bulbul Club is addressing sustainability of the environment of the birds. They look at the reasons why birds are around and what they need in their environment.
The group feel that as elderly members of society, they are a good human resource. They have plenty of enthusiasm, wisdom, knowledge and time. Bird watching is something that they know a lot about. It was the initial funding from the Jockey Club that made the formation of the group possible.
It’s an ongoing project that started in 2001 when the foundation was launched. The first phase (education about nature at elderly centres) was over in 2003, and the government funding from the Jockey Club ran out in 2005. The elderly members do not see the project as an investment concerning time and labour. They are only sharing their passion. Their reward is someone else’s happiness.
Regarding new skills, one of the volunteers didn’t know anything about birds. She joined in phase 4 and was trained in bird appreciation. From that training, she was inspired to become passionate birds, trees and the environment. Now she does a lot of research and reads a lot on nature.
Locally in Hong Kong: The education of the younger generation in HK about the environment through bird watching, to inspire them to love nature and to realise the importance of the ecosystem.
Nationally in China and internationally: Tourists from China and all over the world get to know about the birds in Hong Kong. They would then be inspired to do more research on birds, trees and nature in general. Knowledge is also exchanged with their counterparts in Taipei.
Reporters from all over the interview them. They participate in bird watching festivals overseas and promote themselves.
Other social effects of the project are that the group members have learnt many skills through internal training outside of the bird-watching season. Young experts train them in digital photography and I.T. for documentation and publication materials.
The elderly pass on their knowledge to young children and raise awareness in individuals in environmental protection. Individuals give money and effort. Organisations shouldn’t rely on big corporations to donate, as it’s not going to be sustainable. Big corporations can be the biggest threat to the environment.
To promote sustainability, the bird watching organisation asks the elderly to hand out pamphlets to the public during the terns’ breeding season asking them to protect their breeding ground. They also organise primary school bird watching competitions.
The hopes and visions for the future of the Crested Bulbul Society are to help educate people to stop damaging the environment. “We hope that organisations will get enough funding to raise awareness of environmental protection in all individuals.”
Please see link for guided walks: http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/parks/hkp/en/watching.php.