World Wetlands Day with Olokemeji School Conservation Club

World Wetlands Day with Olokemeji School Conservation Club

IITA Forest Center staff celebrated World Wetlands Day with pupils from three schools at Olokemeji: the Olokemeji School Conservation Club: Methodist Primary School, Idi Ape Community Primary School, and Olokemeji High School. The event took place on 16 February, with Ademola Ajayi tutoring pupils on what Wetlands are, the need to keep Wetlands, and the important actions both pupils and parents should take to keep Wetlands for people and the planet. The exercise was in tandem with the year’s theme: Wetlands Action for People and Nature, celebrated 5 February annually. The day also marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran, on 5 February 1971.

The Baale of Olokemeji, Chief Jamiu Fashola; the Vice Principal of Olokemeji High School, Mrs Felicia Osunde; and Headteachers of the three School Conservation Clubs were present at the event with their pupils. The Olokemeji river was identified as a wetland with surrounding forests, farmland, and road pass. The pupils eagerly participated as they could relate to the topic, their geographic location being a wetland

Ademola identified some important characteristics of the wetlands as: water preservation and conservation for human use and consumption, flood prevention as wetlands serve to contain excess rainwater, recharging underground aquifers, and providing recreational sites for tourists.

Some of the actions highlighted to save the Olokemeji river from drying up and restore surrounding degraded wetlands included: State legislation and enforcement guiding required fish weight farming, preserving tree cover around the river, not dumping refuse in rivers and water bodies, nor applying harmful herbicides on farmlands which would eventually flow into the river when it rains.

The Vice Principal, Mrs Osunde, and teachers urged the pupils to help spread the news of wetland conservation. She immensely appreciated the efforts of the IITA Forest Center team in bringing the training and awareness creation to Olokemeji.

The Baale of Olokemeji thanked the IITA team and Nigerian Breweries and alluded to the huge difference experienced in the size of fish caught now compared to when they were much younger. He hoped that as all hands come on deck, the coming generations would eventually reap the benefits they gained before the forest and water resources become depleted.

Olukunle Olasupo, one of the IITA Forest Center team, took the opportunity to inform students of the danger of littering their environment. The students promised to comply and properly dispose of their refuse in the future.

At the training, participants learned that: Planting trees is one way to promote the conservation of wetlands, trees protect the surrounding river, and raising awareness by spreading messages learned to family and friends is a sustainable way to promote wetlands conservation.

The awareness creation session ended with representative pupils giving feedback on what they had learned. The event’s highlight saw Teacher Michael Alaba rendering a poem to Mother Nature.

Mother Nature

Mother nature, your children are in distress

Mother nature, your children are in distress

Most of our wetlands taken away, our grasses cut off

Carbon pollutants here and there have led to the decrease of our resources

Mother nature, be kind to us

Visit us a second time, if possible, so our land would be restored as it was in days of old.