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Opening Ceremony of WWF Jockey Club Mai Po Peter Scott Visitor Centre

Unveiling upgraded facilities in Mai Po Nature Reserve
and celebrating 40th anniversary of WWF’s management of Mai Po Nature Reserve
 

(Hong Kong, 28 November 2023)  The Mai Po Nature Reserve Infrastructure Upgrade Project, funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, was completed with tremendous success. Today, at the WWF Jockey Club Mai Po Peter Scott Visitor Centre opening ceremony, WWF-Hong Kong unveiled the new Visitor Centre with upgraded facilities, alongside the commemoration of 40 years of WWF’s management of the Mai Po Nature Reserve. The ceremony was joined by Mr Dan Bradshaw, Chairman of WWF-Hong Kong, in addition to officiating guests Dr Choi Yuk Lin, JP, the Secretary for EducationDr Henry H L ChanSteward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Dr. Leung Siu Fai, JP, Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation and Mr Seung Oh Suh, Executive Director of the Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia.
 
In the inauguration speech, Mr Dan Bradshaw, Chairman of WWF-Hong Kong remarked, “We express our heartfelt gratitude to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for their generous donation, which made the Mai Po Nature Reserve Infrastructure Upgrade Project possible. The Reserve is now a world-class “nature classroom”, greatly enhancing our capacity for wetland training, research, environmental education programmes, and community awareness activities. The completion of the project will further strengthen our dedication to wetland conservation and preserving local biodiversity. As a conservation organization, we prioritise sustainability by using various environmentally friendly materials and designs, ensuring the project meets the highest environmental standards. We are eager to welcome visitors to the Reserve – a place where they can appreciate the beauty of nature, gain insight from this incredible wetland jewel.”
 
Dr Choi Yuk Lin, JP, the Secretary for Education, expressed gratitude to WWF-Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Jockey Club for the efforts in promoting environmental education, stated, “Peter Scott Visitor Centre provides expanded space for environmental education activities and scientific research. Students can immerse themselves in nature at Mai Po and deepen their understanding of Hong Kong's natural environment and sustainable development. We encourage schools to organize visits to the centre, where students can engage in outdoor learning and explore Hong Kong's diverse biodiversity.”
 
Dr Henry H L Chan, Steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club expressed, “The Hong Kong Jockey Club is committed to promoting the scope of ‘sustainable development’ and supporting various types of environmental projects in the community, in order to build a better society. Since the 1980s, the Hong Kong Jockey Club has been supporting WWF-Hong Kong, including assisting in the establishment of education centre in the Reserve. The newly completed Peter Scott Visitor Centre will contribute to the vision of ‘promoting the high-quality development of wetland protection’ as advocated by the nation's leaders.”
 
Mai Po Nature Reserve Infrastructure Upgrade Project
The Infrastructure Upgrade Project features four elements:
  • The rebuilding of Peter Scott Visitor Centre (formerly known as Peter Scott Field Studies Centre)
  • The revamping of barrier-free 1-km-long wooden footpath “Jockey Club Nature Trail” 
  • Two new tower hides and renovation of the current tower hide
  • The renovation of the Education Centre, including a new exhibition hall and updated facilities 
The upgraded facilities will provide advanced equipment for the public, schools, researchers, and wetland management staff, making Mai Po Nature Reserve a nature classroom and innovative wetland training centre, promoting wetland conservation across the region.
 
Peter Scott Visitor Centre
Located at the entrance of Mai Po Nature Reserve, the Visitor Centre will serve as a training centre for multiple learning activities, research, and training. The centre includes visitor and training facilities, as well as nine twin-bed guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms. These rooms are named after different species found in Mai Po. This will accommodate visiting experts, students, and overseas groups to facilitate the exchange of knowledge on wetland conservation and management.
 
The centre incorporates various sustainable materials and designs to meet environmental and building safety standards. It has attained a Provisional Platinum Rating in BEAM Plus New Building and aims to attain Final Platinum rating. The primary interior materials are bamboo and FSC-certified wood. The building and its interior design optimise air circulation and bring natural light through the high windows and light tones to reduce energy consumption. The centre is also equipped with technology for waste management and energy reduction, such as sewage treatment facilities, food waste treatment system and solar power system. Also, windows are equipped with window stickers and wall façade to prevent bird strikes.
 
The centre houses the Panda Shop with a range of sustainable products, nature books and Eurasian otter-themed products for purchase. 
 
Peter Scott Visitor Centre
 
Peter Scott Visitor Centre – Training Rooms
 
Peter Scott Visitor Centre – Guest rooms
 
Peter Scott Visitor Centre – Panda Shop Peter Scott Visitor Centre – Jockey Club Gallery

New wooden footpath “Jockey Club Nature Trail”
The Jockey Club Nature Trail aims to make Mai Po an accessible nature reserve by providing a barrier-free wooden path to the main facilities, such as tower hides and the education centre. The 1-kilometer-long trail is made from FSC-certified wood. It is widened to meet universal accessibility standard, with a minimum width of 1.65 meters, a safety lip and passing bays for wheelchair visitors. In addition, the trail was built with a minimum height of 6cm above the existing concrete path, which not only complements the natural style of the Reserve, but also ensures no barrier for small mammals and invertebrates.
 
New wooden footpath “Jockey Club Nature Trail”

Tower Hides
Bird hides are one of the most important elements of Mai Po Nature Reserve, offering visitors a disturbance-free birdwatching opportunity. The two new tower hides further enhance the visitor experience, allowing them to connect with nature. One of the tower hides “Jockey Club Kingfisher Tower Hide” is located in the northeastern part of the Reserve and designed to accommodate public visitors and school groups, while the other tower hide “Jockey Club Osprey Tower Hide”, located in the southern part of the Reserve, will mainly cater to the needs of researchers and seasoned birdwatchers. Both towers are crafted to prioritize visitor comfort and minimize impact on the surroundings. The design includes effective ventilation systems, facilitated by solar-powered fans. 
 
Jockey Club Kingfisher Tower Hide

Education Centre
The Education Centre has undergone a remarkable contemporary makeover, completed with new features and upgraded facilities, aimed at enhancing the learning experience for a diverse range of visitors, from the general public to corporate staff, local and regional researchers, and wetland conservation professionals. The revamped centre features a new interactive exhibition, showcasing previously unseen aspects of the Mai Po wetlands. Visitors can gain new insights into wetlands, wildlife, culture, history and conservation as seen from different perspectives.
 
Education Centre
In a bid to offer the public a deeper understanding of thriving biodiversity of Mai Po Wetland, the opportunity to embark on eco-guided tours and overnight experiences has now become available. The "Mai Po Day & Night" overnight experience is now open for registration, with participants able to select dates from January 2024 onwards. The two-day-one-night is thoughtfully curated, promising an unforgettable journey. On the first evening, participants will venture into the Reserve immersing themselves in the beauty of the sunset before retiring for the night at the all-new Peter Scott Visitor Centre; As dawn breaks on the second day, visitors will embark on an early morning exploration of the wetland habitats in Mai Po, witnessing the diverse wildlife found within the region from the tower hide and wooden footpath.
 
“Thriving Wetlands, Thriving Communities” Wetland Conservation Forum
In the afternoon, WWF hosted the “Thriving Wetlands, Thriving Communities” Wetland Conservation Forum, where wetland conservation experts from Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand and USA convened. The forum was inaugurated by Professor David Dudgeon, WWF-Hong Kong, and concluded by Ms Nicole Wong, CEO, WWF-Hong Kong.
 
Join "Walk for Nature" to be the first visitors of new facilities    
WWF’s annual "Walk for Nature" charity walkathon takes place on December 2-3, 2023. As one of the first visitors after the upgrade project, participants can unveil the Reserve’s diverse landscapes and experience the charm and modernity of the new facilities. All proceeds from the event will go to supporting WWF’s conservation and education work, enabling us to persist in our commitment to safeguarding nature and spread crucial wetland conservation messages.
 
Opening Ceremony of WWF Jockey Club Mai Po Peter Scott Visitor Centre
Opening Ceremony of WWF Jockey Club Mai Po Peter Scott Visitor Centre

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