Learning in Nature

Panda blog @WWF-Hong Kong
4 min readDec 14, 2020


by Thomas Gomersall

As part of efforts to engage young Hong Kongers with nature, WWF-Hong Kong’s Connect2Nature Academy offers a series of weekend outdoor workshops for children aged 6–12. Held at three of WWF’s visitor centres — Mai Po, Hoi Ha Wan and Island House — these classes allow children to explore some of Hong Kong’s most important habitats; from wetlands to coral reefs to the urban jungle. But more than just seeing these habitats, they also enjoy an immersive learning experience about the incredible species that call them home, as well as valuable skills in teamwork and citizen science. The Connect2Nature Academy 2021 kicks off in January and runs through June, with three different classes on offer.

Photo credit: Thomas Gomersall

Junior Ornithologist

Dates: 3 April, 10 April, 18 April

Thomas Gomersall

An ornithologist is a scientist that studies birds, and attendees of this class will see plenty of those, and do plenty of bird-related activities, at Mai Po Nature Reserve. Every winter, thousands of migratory birds visit Mai Po to feed and rest in the reserve’s gei wai and freshwater ponds. Attendees will learn patience and hone their observation skills by watching birds from the reserve’s special hides, and record in their own journals the various bird species that visit here.

Participants will also take part in creative activities like making clay models of bird species found at Mai Po that they can bring home.

Junior Urban Ecologist

Dates: 17 April, 25 April, 15 May

Photo credit: Thomas Gomersall

Urban green spaces, such as WWF’s Island House base in Tai Po, can be surprisingly good for biodiversity, as the attendees of this class will discover. The garden is home to a wide range of species — from birds to insects to plants — that attendees will learn about through a series of interactive games, including recording what they find in the garden themselves using the mobile phone app, iNaturalist. They will also learn more about the anatomy of plants and insects they collect by examining them under a microscope.

But the garden is not the only good place for biodiversity in Island House, where the nearby rocky coastline is full of crabs, oysters, sea slaters and plenty of other intertidal species. To get more familiar with these, attendees will be given an ID guide and set a task to explore the coastal habitat.

Through their experience doing this class, attendees will foster as great an appreciation for the wildlife around them in their everyday lives as for the wildlife in the country parks.

Junior Oceanographer

Dates: 8 May, 30 May, 12 June, 19 June

Photo credit: Magnus Lundgren Wonders of China WWF

Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park near Sai Kung is one of Hong Kong’s richest areas for marine biodiversity, with 120 fish species and 64 coral species. Attendees of this class will get plenty of exposure to this rich ecosystem through a coastal exploration task similar to the one at Island House (with the added feature of getting to go in the water), as well as the famous glass-bottomed boat tour.

But being an oceanographer is about far more than looking at fish and corals. It also involves monitoring the health of our oceans, including assessing water quality. As well as learning about the importance of water quality for marine life, attendees will conduct their own water-quality surveys, in which they will assess the diversity of plankton in Hoi Ha’s waters. As the foundation of all marine food webs, a wide diversity of plankton is vital for a healthy marine ecosystem.

So if you’re a parent who’s keen for your child to experience the wealth of Hong Kong’s natural environments, be sure to sign them up for these classes here.



Panda blog @WWF-Hong Kong

WWF contributors share regular insights on Hong Kong biodiversity and conservation issues