19 April 2008
Nini the Swallow, on of the five 2008 Beijing Olympics mascots. (Beijing Olympics)
Kites depicting ‘Nini’, one of the five Beijing Olympic Games mascots, decorated the sky of Haidian Park in Beijing, where kite flying activity with the theme of protecting Beijing swifts was held on 19 April.
The event, ‘Nini Flying Home’, was jointly held by the Beijing Youth League, Work Coordination Group of Beijing Olympic Volunteers, China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, Beijing Volunteer Association, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Volunteers (UNV).
The swift is an example of Beijing’s biodiversity, and is also a symbol of auspiciousness and good luck. In addition, their numbers indicate the state of the environment in Beijing.
A young pioneer of protecting Beijing swifts is Zhao Du, a student from Grade One, Class Seven of Middle School No.1 attached to Beijing Normal University. He makes use of every opportunity to promulgate knowledge on how to protect the bird and spread information on environmental protection.
At today’s event, CDs of songs and stories concerning the swift performed by Zhao Du and his friends were handed out. Five college and middle school students distributed the disks offered by Liu Jian, Chairman of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Youth League and Mr. Renaud Meyer, Deputy Country Director of UNDP, and made an oath to protect the environment and Beijing swifts.
Many Chinese and international volunteers who have registered to be Beijing swift protectors participated in the activity with their families. Both foreign and Chinese children wrote down their wishes and drew on the kites to bless the Beijing Olympic Games before flying them into the sky.
Each kite sailing in the sky symbolized not only ‘trust, hope and love’ – the spirit of the swift – but also their expectations of the forthcoming Olympic Games. Volunteers also exhibited various man-made nest-boxes.
Investigating and protecting Beijing swifts is beneficial not only for the protection of the variety of creatures in the Beijing area, but also for creating a view of the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. Meanwhile, this activity is of equal importance in promoting the Green Olympics.
In July 2007 the project document ‘Strengthening volunteerism for development through the Beijing 2008 Olympics Games’ was signed by the Beijing Youth League, Work Coordination Group Office of Beijing Olympic Volunteers, China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges, UNDP and UNV. The project aims to advocate the spirit of volunteer service in society, especially to support the notion of Green Olympics and advocate the idea that “Everyone is a Green Olympics volunteer.”
The Beijing swift protection volunteering project is an important part of the project. The project involves a series of activities, such as popularizing scientific knowledge on protecting swifts in schools and communities.