Saturday, 26 March 2016

Speaking at Bangladesh Independence Day Celebrations



Spoon-billed Sandpiper on Sonadia Island, Bangladesh


Sonadia Island
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


I am really proud of my Bangladeshi heritage.  It means a lot to me and knowing about Bangladeshi wildlife and conservation projects is important.

On 26 March 1971, 45 years ago today, Sheikh Mujib, declared Bangladesh an independent country.  The war was not won until November that year, but the birth of the nation is celebrated on this date.

The Bangladeshi students at University of the West of England (UWE) have a Bangladeshi Students' Group and were holding a celebration of independence.

First we heard a speakers talking about their memories of the war, their fear of being killed in the massacres and the tactics used by General Usmani (who was trained in the British Army) to win the war.  It was interesting that Bangladeshi's knowledge of their nature, rivers and habitats were used to help win the war.  I had never really heard anyone talk about this.

Sayam U Chowdhury a prominent Bangladeshi conservationist who runs
the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project 

I gave a talk called "Celebrating Bangladesh's Spoon-billed Sandpiper".  I talked about Sayam U Chowdhury and his brilliant Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project, visiting the Spoon-billed Sandpipers with Sayam at the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust (WWT) Slimbridge, my trip to Sonadia Island to survey Spoon-billed Sandpiper with the project and the importance of media publicity.


Mohammed Foysal and Sakib Ahmed from theBangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Sakib Ahmed and Mohammed Foysal from the
Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Sakib Ahmed and Mohammed Foysal from the
Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig





Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Mohammed Foysal from the
Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with local children and the
Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


I also talked about the World Shorebirds Day project and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper being one of it's nominated birds.

I mentioned the talk I gave in Dhaka but this was the first time I had spoken to Bangladeshi's in the UK.  People talk me afterwards how interesting it was to hear about one of their own birds, that they didn't know about.  There were also quite a few children in the audience, who seemed to stop fidgeting when I started talking.

It was great to be able to talk about committed conservationists in Bangladesh like Sayam U Chowdhury and those working for his like Mohammed Foysal and Sakib Ahmed.  They are a fantastic inspiration and I am really lucky to have met them and been allowed to survey Bangladesh's Spoon-billed Sandpiper with them.  I am sure that the audience were proud to learn that Bangladeshi conservationists were influencing not only those in Bangladesh but also conservationists across the world.

Quite a few of the Bangladeshi students were studying law and all talked about it being a high earning profession in Bangladeshi.  Mum (who was a partner in a law firm) and I talked to them about how important it was that they were committed to saving the environment and promoting human rights when they return, as the country was relying on them. I'm not sure that they will but maybe I will have sparked an interest. 



About the Writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig


Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent. 


Mya-Rose is a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter











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