EUROWA BASIC Responder trainings held in the Netherlands
On the weekend of 17/18 November 2018, SON-Respons, the new umbrella organisation for oiled wildlife response preparedness in the Netherlands, facilitated two EUROWA BASIC Responder training courses.
As part of a 5-year oiled wildlife preparedness programme (2017-2022) coordinated by Sea Alarm and funded by Rijkswaterstaat, SON-Respons will organize training and exercise events, including responder trainings based on EUROWA standards. The importance of this preparedness program was demonstrated by by the Bow Jubail harbour spill in Rotterdam in which hundreds of birds became oiled within 24 hours. The incident showed that qualified responders who can work cooperatively, effectively and safely are immediately needed at the scene of a spill.
Ecomare, a SON-Respons network partner, hosted the two events at their premises on the island of Texel. The first one-day training, which combined classroom sessions with hands-on activities, involved approximately 20 volunteers from the Dutch Wadden Sea Society (Waddenvereniging), who also sponsored the day. To do so, they raised a budget of € 30.000 euro through crowdfunding to help train people from the Wadden islands who can assist if an oil spill occurs in or near to the Waddensea, a world heritage site with millions of vulnerable birds.
The second course, given on day two, involved a similar size group of personnel and volunteers from various SON-Respons rehabilitation centres in the Netherlands. Both training events were provided by Claude Velter (VOC Oostende) and and Wiebe Boomsma (Vogelhospitaal). All participants qualified as Basic Oiled Wildlife Responders and are now eligible to take more advanced courses. Additional Basic courses and some Advanced courses will be provided during the preparedness programme in 2019 and beyond.