In early 2014 I wasn't sure that the idea of dedicating a day for celebrating shorebirds all around the world would go anywhere. The response has been tremendous and mind-blowing. By now, shorebirds are remembered and celebrated in most parts of the world on the 6th of September each year.
In the first eight months of 2021, we have seen all sorts of global catastrophes linked to climate change. Among them, drought has become the most severe issue from California through Europe and Central Asia. The freshwater supply has reached an all-time low level, and we might enter the unthinkable 'Mad Max'-like water-crisis era in the foreseeable future. It's not fiction anymore. Drought has negatively affected different shorebird sub-populations what leads to diminishing global populations even further. Lakes and wet meadows dried out in the middle of nesting season in areas of Central Europe. Or we can mention the continuous loss of water surface of one of the biggest lakes in Central Asia.
Conservation bodies and organisations are now facing climate change challenges, including water shortages and drought. Innovative solutions are needed to maintain existing wetlands or create new ones. These new or restored habitats might be alternatives to the shrinking natural habitats.
To highlight this issue, the Shorebird Conservation Society (the organisation behind World Shorebirds Day) dedicates 2022 for the conservation of inland wetlands. We try to introduce existing and future shorebird habitat restoration projects. Cases studies might inspire other organisations to initiate and design their projects.
Things don't look as dark and depressive, though. A very innovative young generation is in front of us with full of enthusiasm and power. They are the key to the future of our shorebirds. World Shorebirds Day is not only for celebrating shorebirds but those who care the most about them. The lined-up young conservationists have been inspired and motivated by numerous incredible and long-serving mentors.
It is incredibly hard to pick a name from the crowd, but the Flordia-based Lorraine Margeson is undoubtedly one of the Great Shorebird Champions. Her stewardship work around the keys of south Florida, with all the dedication, is beyond words. Lorraine's expertise in monitoring and protecting beach-nesting shorebirds at some of the busiest beach destinations of Florida is vital, without a doubt. We have been enjoying her daily updates through social media, and the results are speaking for themselves. As our appreciation, we dedicate this year's World Shorebirds Day to the excellent Lorraine Margeson and wishing her all the very best and strength for her future adventures in shorebird conservation.