The World Wetlands Day is a global event celebrated on February 2 every year to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The wetlands are of International Importance, near the shores of the Caspian Sea in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.  The day is used as one way of bringing people together to learn more about urban and rural wetlands conservation, preservation and their ecosystem benefits. During these celebrations a lot of activities are usually lined up to mark the day.  when planning for the day, considerations are made for the following event; in Urban areas, participants are encouraged to take wetland field trip in and around a nearby wetland: people who have little knowledge on wetlands and the role they play seize the opportunity to be educated on the importance of conserving our wetlands and to counter the traditional myth that wetlands are good agricultural sites therefore should be dried up and occupied by agricultural activities. Most cities have a wetland, maybe even a Wetland of national or even International Importance (Ramsar Site). To find out the list of Ramsar Sites by country use this link www.ramsar.org/sites-countries/ the-Ramsar-sites. Here are some of the reasons why it is important to conserve Wetlands. In a wetland, one enjoys, hiking, bird-watching, a swim or boat ride, Conference or a talk featuring wetland experts, local people make their living in wetlands by fetching clean drinking water harvesting  trees for firewood, honey and using some plants for medicinal purposes . Wetlands provide many societal benefits: food and habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species; water quality improvement; flood storage; shoreline erosion control; economically beneficial natural products for human use; and opportunities for recreation.

In Kenya, the day was marked in various places and through various environmental activities like cleanup towns where the celebrations were being held unblocking of drainage channels and garbage collection, wetlands art competitions, cleaning up of polluted rivers, tree planting in the wetlands especially the indigenous trees which conserve the water and allows water to infiltrate and recharge underground reservoirs and Wetland Conservation Run - 29th January 2023. All these activities were done in Narok town.

The 2023 wetland day celebrations was held at Enkoungu Enkare springs in Narok county. The theme for this year's event was, "Wetlands Action for People and Nature." which highlights the importance of actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for humans and planetary health. During the event, various organizations were invited to sponsor the event and exhibit to present and showcase arts or photographs about wetlands. Run for wetlands, community walk, bike or Public wetland clean-up day. Press conference were held to make important announcements, interviews were conducted on various people from different fields to expound more on climate and wetland matters. Film viewing are bring people together to watch a film on wetlands, also the organizers organized a photos or essay competition on World Wetlands Day.

Kenyatta University was invited to this year’s World Wetland day celebrations. The University was represented by the Executive Dean, the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, who accompanied 80 students and four members of staff to join other invited guests. The School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Students (KUNEC) which draws membership from other schools across the University and for the first time the Regional Center for expertise (RCE) Greater Nairobi was represented in the celebrations.  The students braced the scotching sun and dusty roads to happily join the country and the international community in celebrating the World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2023 at Enkongu Enkare springs Narok County. The event was to raise awareness about wetlands, to reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them. Students marked the day by planting of assorted types of trees at the water catchment area of the spring and had an opportunity to watch birds, drink the pure spring water and take memory photos. They had an opportunity to learn more on how the village has benefitted from how the ever sprawling spring water is being used by the villagers for agriculture and how the spring in the middle of a dry area has turned around their economic livelihoods. This year’s world wetland day theme was “It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration,” which highlighted the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration. The journey started at 6.00a.m. Went through Kiambu Naivasha Ntulele, Narok town where there was a stopover and the students had some refreshments the journey then embarked on a gruesome 65 kilometer journey to the spring situated deep in the Enkongu village. The celebrations took 3hours after which the 6 hours journey back home started at 5 p.m. arriving at Kenyatta university 11.30 p.m. the students thanked the university through the School for organizing a successful trip and wished to be given more opportunities in the future.

Students looking at the source of the Enkongu Enkare spring

Students pose for a photo near the Enkongu Enkare Springs during the world wetland day celebration on 2 February, 2023

Acknowledgement

Kenyatta University.

Executive Dean School of Environmental Studies.

Office of the School Administrator.