Happy participants of a wonderful shorebird watching fiesta in Italy organised by Associazione per la Ricerca, la Divulgazione e l’Educazione Ambientale (ARDEA). © Valeria Balestrieri

The last couple of weeks was full of excitement, questions and fear. Excitement by the ongoing communication with great people I have never talked before. Questions whether I set everything perfectly and understandably, or it is manageable without much of financial resources. Fear by the ignorance and lack of responses. Actually, the unexpected ignorance from leaders of big bird organisations inspired me to keep going on. Those negative reactions clearly showed, that there are tons to do in rising awareness about the need of these kind of commemoration days.

Then, the weekend arrived and I was simply astonished by the responses and traffic on the website and social media. It is certainly an emotional time for me and for many people involved in organising this event on a local level, involved in shorebird research, conservation or simply just admire this exceptional group of birds.

Written words definitely cannot express my most sincere gratitude for each and every participant, who took time to write, register, going out counting in groups or individually, in sunshine or in rain or those who even shared the counting results.

I am sure this is just a beginning of something really great and something what shorebirds can and will benefit in a short period of time. The events of last weekend created a perfect foundation for an even stronger involvement of birdwatchers and non-birdwatchers, researchers, conservationists and decision makers.

We have a lot to do and I believe that the World Shorebirds Day will find its place on the map of shorebird conservation.

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