Big turnout at national grey partridge symposium in the Netherlands
Feeling the urgency to conserve our dwindling populations of grey partridges, on November 27, almost 200 people gathered at the first national symposium on grey partridges in the Netherlands. This symposium is a direct result of the NSR PARTRIDGE Interreg project.
The title of the symposium `Sowing knowledge for partridges’ refers to the goal of this meeting. To bring together all stakeholders that can bring about a change for the better, and to provide them with the most recent knowledge on grey partridge conservation and preservation of farmland biodiversity.
Representatives from farmer collectives, bird monitoring groups, hunter associations, regional governments, waterboards and nature conservation groups exchanged success stories, new ideas, and best practices of grey partridge conservation. The PARTRIDGE project presented a project video, and an information folder with a set of factsheets about the practical establishment and management of partridge habitat measures. The event also saw the launch of the Dutch edition of the PARTRIDGE project’s ‘Partridge conservation management’ booklet. Across almost 100 pages, the book summaries the most important evidence-based partridge conservation management knowledge together with its added benefits for other wildlife. In doing so, it also provides the justification for the PARTRIDGE project’s conservation strategy. The book is intended to serve as a roadmap for future grey partridge and farmland wildlife conservation across Europe.
In a series of workshops, participants learned more about seed mixtures, monitoring, predation risks, project communication, chick food, and cross-pollination between grey partridge projects and other farmland wildlife initiatives. In the regional sessions, local networks were established and hot-spots of partridge populations were matched against existing and potential new conservation initiatives.
The symposium triggered a series of radio-interviews on the decline and restoration of grey partridges on national and regional radio stations and in several newspapers, thus engaging a wide general public in the urgency to preserve and restore grey partridges and farmland wildlife.
Through this symposium, the Dutch PARTRIDGE team has given partridge conservation in the Netherlands a new direction and momentum. The seed has been sown. We are convinced that over the next months and years, as a result of this we will see new local and regional conservation initiatives germinating and blossoming. And that we will bring about a turning point in the decline of farmland biodiversity in general and grey partridge populations specifically. May many flowers flourish from this day!
Written by Frans van Alebeek, PARTRIDGE coordinator for the Netherlands, BirdLife NL