What Is World Sparrow Day?
World Sparrow Day is celebrated on the March 20th of every year. The objective of World Sparrow Day is to educate the public about the threat of polluted urban environments and non-caring humans to the house sparrow population, as well as to other common bird species. Additionally, World Sparrow Day encourages the appreciation of common biodiversity, which offers a change from the typical attention surrounding rare and exotic species.
The idea came out of an informal conversation in the office of the Nature Forever Society of India. The conservation initiative took hold with members of the organization. Together with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation of France and several other national and international nonprofits, World Sparrow Day was born. It was first celebrated in 2010 in various nations around the world. Participants took part in art competitions, public education campaigns, and media interviews. Today, more than 50 countries celebrate this day.
The Nature Forever Society
The Nature Forever Society began working in 2006 and was officially founded in 2008. Its objective is the conservation of common plant and animal species. The organization works to involve the residents of India with environmental and conservation initiatives. Its founder and members focus on simple projects with significant value and the ability to be successful in multiple regions around the world.
The Man Behind The Project
The founder of The Nature Forever Society and the brains behind World Sparrow Day is Mohammed Dilawar. He got his start in conservation work by volunteering to take surveys and taking part in public education campaigns. A year after completing his Masters degree in Ecology, in 2006, he joined the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He stayed with that organization for 4 years, working on a project concerning the decline of house sparrows in urban areas of India. Additionally, he wrote a report entitled “Impacts of Cellphone Towers on Wildlife and Bees”.
While at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Dilawar began his own organization - The Nature Forever Society. He left the Royal Society in 2010. He is a member of other organizations as well, including the International Working Group on Urban Sparrows. Dilawar stays active in the conservation of common species by attending conferences and traveling to other areas of India to survey the biodiversity. One conference, in 2009, was on the methodology of monitoring house sparrows in urban areas. While traveling, he takes pictures of the wildlife and learns about the conservation issues of the area he is in.
Besides founding The Nature Forever Society and initiating World Sparrow Day, Dilawar has also created other projects. These projects include the annual Sparrow Awards, Project Save Our Sparrows, the BiodiverCity Photo Competition, and the Common Bird Monitoring of India program. His outlook on conservation and biodiversity is quoted as the following: “... if we can’t save a sparrow, which is found around us, then it is too ambitious to save a tiger. So first, we have to save the sparrows and only then can we dream of saving the tiger.
In recognition of his efforts, Mohammed Dilawar has received several awards and recognitions. Time Magazine named him one of the 30 most influential environmentalists in the world, a “Hero of the Environment”, in 2008. He also receives the Limca Book of Records for his work conserving the house sparrow. In 2011, he was inducted in the Guinness Book of World Records for having set up the largest number of bird feeders in the world. The bird feeder project is part of his Project Save Our Sparrows.
Impact of World Sparrow Day
The impact of World Sparrow Day has been significant on a global level. It has given people around the world a network where they can work together and exchange ideas about conservation and public education projects. This exchange of ideas is crucial for improving the information surrounding house sparrows and other common bird species. Improved information leads to more reliable science which, in turn, results in more efficient and effective conservation programs and efforts. Its goal of offering a meeting platform for people around the world has been successful.
This platform has been an important componenet in raising conservation awareness and promoting other outreach and advocacy initiatives. World Sparrow Day has spread the message that it is just as important to conserve common species as it is to conserve and protect rare and exotic species. In August of 2012, the house sparrow became the state bird of Delhi. This was announced at the Rise for the Sparrow campaign, carried out by the Nature Forever Society.
Other Activities, Projects, And Campaigns Of The Nature Forever Society
As previously mentioned, The Nature Forever Society also carries out the Rise for the Sparrow campaign. The objective of this campaign is to empower local residents, schools, government organizations, and non-government organizations to work together to save the house sparrow. It educates the public about simple steps each individual can take on a personal level to participate in conservation.
Additionally, The Nature Forever Society has initiated an Adopt Nest Boxes and Bird Feeders project. This project allows individuals to become emotionally involved in conservation efforts by allowing them to adopt their own nest box or bird feeder. These two implements are important as they provide both homes and food sources for sparrows and other common birds. The idea has caught on and spread throughout India and other countries. Approximately 52,000 bird feeders have been installed around the world because of this program and the Save Our Sparrows initiative.
World Sparrow Awards
The World Sparrow Awards were initiated on March 2011, during the second annual World Sparrow Day celebration. These awards were created as a means of promoting and encouraging the goal of World Sparrow Day and recognizing those individuals who have made the biggest contributions toward conserving the environment and protecting common species. Sustainuance magazine has become an important contributor to the movement and first handed out the World Sparrow Awards in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in India. He stated that each recipient was an independent hero, working towards conservation without government funding and without the need for recognition.
The first World Sparrow Awards were given to the following entities: Bhavin Shah, Narendra Singh Chaudhary, L Shyamal, and The Sparrow Company.
The Message Of World Sparrow Day
The message of World Sparrow Day, The Nature Forever Society, and Mohammed Dilawar is that in order to save the balance of nature, we must first save the common species. The idea is that it is often easy for individuals to forget that even the species seen on a daily basis are an important part of the environment and its delicate balancing act.