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Lester B.Pearson

Early supporter of Pearson College, former Prime Minister of Canada, and Nobel Peace Laureate

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Late Honorary President of UWC, Former President of South Africa

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Member of UWC National Committee of China, board member of UWC Changshu China

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Co-Founder, Vice Chairman of Board and Executive Director of Harvard Centre Shanghai. Pearson 89-91

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Chair of UWC International Board and International Council 

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Kurt Hahn

German Educator, Founder of United World Colleges

Preventing Bird Collisions, Co-exist with Birds

Issue date:2024-02-22


"A beautiful pheasant was found collided on the glass at the Sports Arena and died. What a pity! It was the first time we saw this bird at our school. "

"Don't let bird collisions become scars in the city", "UWC can also become a haven for birds."

"Make the glass visible to the birds!"

"Look! These are coot and moorhen!"

"Tree of Life, representing birds from around the world and the diversity of UWCers."

"The singing of birds and the flapping of their wings are the marvelous creations of nature. When we fly alongside the birds, we can truly sense life's infinite possibilities."

To promote bird conservation, the Bird Conservation Zhi Xing organized Bird Conservation Week from the 13th to the 20th of January in 2024.

This event featured various activities such as lecture by Prof. Binbin Li, designing anti-collision bird stickers, bird watching in Shajiabang, and launching the Tree of Life.

The main goal of the event was to raise the school and society's awareness of bird collisions and to install bird collision prevention stickers on the glass wall of the school to reduce accidents and protect biodiversity on campus.

01 Bird Collisions Observation

Bird Conservation Zhi Xing is a student organization that focuses on wildlife conservation in UWC Changshu China. We aim to raise public awareness for wild animals’ protection and solve environmental issues. We frequently engage in bird watching activities. 

So far, we have recorded 70 different bird species on our campus. We also protected birds’ natural habitat by requesting that our campus keep the water plants in the lake during winter rather than cutting them down.


Bird watching photos taken by Bird Conservation Zhi Xing members

Birds are one of the most important components of nature. However, glass walls on the skyscrapers pose a significant threat to birds.

Bird Collision (short for Bird-building collision or Bird-window collision), refers to the situation where birds, due to the transparent and reflective nature of glass, are unable to perceive the presence of glass. The reflected image of the blue sky, trees, and other scenery on the glass can trick them into thinking it is safe to fly through the buildings. As a result, they collide with buildings, especially glass windows, leading to injuries or death. This is one of the main threats that birds face in urban areas.

From spring 2022 to autumn 2023, Bird Conservation Zhi Xing consistently conducted daily bird collision surveys on campus during the spring and autumn bird migration seasons (late March to early May in spring, mid-September to late October in autumn).

The two-year survey revealed that at least 20 wild birds were injured or killed due to collisions with glass on campus. On the 16th of November in 2023, a pheasant hit the glass wall and died. This is the beautiful species' first record on campus.


Pheasant hit the glass wall and died

Apart from the investigation, teachers and students often reported witnessing bird collisions. "A bird hit the glass wall, sat still for some time, and then flew away." This meant there had been more collisions happening.


To reduce bird collision, Zhi Xing members pulled the curtains of Humanity and Art Building to make the glass visible to birds. However, this action was proved to be ineffective according to further investigation. How can bird collision be reduced more effectively?

02 Do not Let Bird Collisions Become Scars in the City

On 15 Jan, Prof. Binbin Li came to UWC to give us a lecture on bird collision prevention and urban biodiversity conservation. She is the founder of the "China Anti-bird Collision Action Alliance" and is dedicated to using social media to communicate scientific findings and advocate for policy changes. Prof. Li has done a lot of research on bird collisions and offers solutions to prevent them.


Prof. Binbin Li is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences at the Environmental Research Center of Duke Kunshan University and holds a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University.

Prof. Li talked about two main topics in the lecture: bird collisions and urban biodiversity conservation.

Bird collisions are the second biggest cause of bird deaths, after being hunted by stray cats. China has three main routes for bird migration, but the rapid urbanization and the use of large glass walls have increased the danger of migrating birds. Therefore, it is essential to encourage science-based surveys of bird collisions in China, raise the awareness of the public and the industry about this issue, use the survey data to help implement and evaluate the measures to prevent bird collisions, and support bird-friendly architecture and urban design. According to Prof. Li, one of the simplest and most economical ways to prevent or minimize bird collisions is to use anti-collision bird stickers.


Students asked many questions after the lecture. Calista, an FP student, wondered how to prevent bird collisions on a large scale.

Prof. Li gave an optimistic answer. "In the past, large glass walls were very expensive, but they became cheaper as more people used them. Similarly, once the (anti-bird-collision) stickers become more popular, they will also have the chance to be commercialized."


Another student asked: "How can we protect the biodiversity in our school? What can the school do? And what can we do as students?"

Prof. Li introduced a concept called OECM, which stands for "other effective area-based conservation measure". It refers to a geographic site that is not officially a protected area, but still helps to conserve biodiversity for a long time in a fair and well-managed way. "Can UWC become an OECM?" The professor also encouraged the students to collect data to demonstrate biodiversity in the school, analyze its risks, explore how to reduce them, and evaluate how effective they are.

When asked, "What is your favourite bird?" Prof. Li said: "Blue-footed booby. They live in the Galapagos Islands and have rare blue feet. They dive fast when they fish, and they are cute on land."


Blue-footed boobies mentioned by Prof. Li (Image from the Internet)

The lecture was very informative. Jessie,a DP1 student, shared that she used to believe that wildlife conservation was solely the responsibility of wildlife conservationists. However, she now understands that the conservationists have played a crucial role in raising public awareness about the importance of wildlife conservation. This has led to the government paying more attention to the issue and implementing laws for its protection and resolution. During the talk, Prof. Li also encouraged the audience to reflect on the relationship between urban areas and nature.

03 Make Glasses Visible to Birds

During Bird Conservation Week, Bird Conservation Zhi Xing collected six sets of anti-collision bird sticker design proposals from the UWC student community. These stickers will be applied to the school's glass wall. The participants learned about the design process of bird collision stickers and gained a deeper understanding of bird collisions.

Anti-collision bird sticker design proposals (Swipe left and right to see more)

The Bird Conservation Zhi Xing also collaborated with SAWA Zhi Xing to co-host Bird Festival for Bai Jia Tan, bringing the awareness of "preventing bird collisions" to the classrooms of three Changshu Migrant Children’s Schools- "Yucai, Sunshine, Wanqing School" that SAWA serve.

SAWA (Share Arts With All), established in 2015, aims to help schools with limited resources carry out art activities and provide a platform for artistic creation for more children through student-led classrooms, thereby stimulating their creativity and interest in artistic exploration.

SAWA Zhi Xing members created pointillism birds with the children. This not only enriched their extracurricular activities but also raised the awareness of children and their parents to protect birds.

Most of the artworks in the Bird Festival exhibition were created by children from the three schools (Swipe left and right to see more)

The collaboration between the two Zhi Xing also promoted the interaction between the school and the local community. The Zhi Xing members planned to invite the children from the three schools to Bai Jia Tan to view the exhibition, and lead them to engage in bird watching activities on campus, so that they could feel the joy and achievement of creation.


Bird Festival exhibition at Bai Jia Tan


Members of Bird Conservation Zhi Xing and SAWA Zhi Xing

Youyou, a member of SAWA Zhi Xing, said:

Bird watching and bird conservation are special courses that children rarely have the opportunity to learn within the public education system. By examining different types of birds, children can unleash their imagination, and incorporate these elements into their paintings.

While creating artwork with great imagination, they also learn to respect nature and biodiversity.

04 Tree of Life,Embodies Love and Care

Tree of Life is an art-related activity. By providing different drawing tools and materials, we encourage students and faculty members to join us. They can refer to the photos of birds in our school and choose any bird that interests them, or select a bird that represents their own culture as the subject of their creation. All the artworks were attached to a huge cardboard tree in the Science Building.


At the end of the activity, we collected different figures of birds, each with its own creation process and unique style. As time went by, the Tree of Life had become increasingly diverse, reflecting the variety of birds and diversity of UWCers from all over the world.


Through this activity, we hope to spark people's interest in birds and nature, raise awareness of biodiversity, and improve the understanding and communication between different cultures by sharing different figures of birds. Tree of Life is not only an opportunity to create but also a platform to embody love and care.

05 Bird Watching, Party with Birds

To inspire the students and faculty to protect wild animals, the Bird Conservation Zhi Xing organized a bird watching activity in Shajiabang Wetland Park.

As soon as we entered the gate of the park, we saw four black birds foraging among the water and grass. "These are coot and moorhen!" Antonio, the leader of Bird Conservation Zhi Xing, shouted. Students and faculty immediately excited and grabbed their cameras and binoculars to observe their foraging behavior. "But why there are two species? They look the same!" Someone asked.


Coot and moorhen

"There are many birds in the wild that look very similar, so you need to look closely. The coot is larger than moorhens and has a pure white beak, while the moorhen has a distinct white edge on its flank and a red beak." Antonio patiently explained.

The students learned about bird habitats, and together they built an ecological floating platform.


"Put the reed poles in a checkered position, tie them together, and then put it into the water. Then the floating platform is finished. The reeds will grow once they touch the water, and create shallow areas for birds to feed and rest."

06 Love Birds, Protect Birds, Together with Birds

During Bird Conservation Week, we also played the movie The Big Year (2011) and the documentary Winged Migration (2001) at the theatre. The audience was deeply moved by the beauty of birds through the screen. The Bird Conservation Week organized by Bird Conservation Zhi Xing has come to an end, but the new journey to love and protect the birds on campus has gained further momentum.

Dong Qiu, a teacher and one of the activity organizers, said: "Bird Conservation Week drew the attention of teachers and students. This can help to inspire more research and conservation efforts for birds."

Birds painted by Dong Qiu (Swipe left and right to see more)

Helen Li, a member of SAWA Zhi Xing, commented: "Besides the variety of different looks of birds, I also learned about their lifestyle, behavior, habitat and threats birds are facing. This activity effectively promotes a sense of social engagement and enhances awareness and understanding of nature and conservation."

Zoe Zhang, a member of Bird Conservation Zhi Xing, said: "In this busy world, people often overlook the precious gifts that nature gives us. The melody of birds, and the flapping of their wings, are all marvelous creations of nature. It is only when we dance alongside the birds that we truly feel the boundless possibilities of life and experience the wonders of nature and the preciousness of birds."

In the rapid development of cities, conflicts between humans and nature are inevitable. Humans can only achieve sustainable development by living in harmony with other species.

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