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WWF Jockey Club Mai Po Peter Scott Visitor Centre opens at Mai Po, providing a world-class nature classroom

Hong Kong is rich in biodiversity, with its Mai Po wetlands being recognised internationally for their importance as a haven for migratory birds. To help educate the community about the importance of conservation, especially at Mai Po Nature Reserve, in 2015 The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust approved a donation of HK$347 million to World Wide Fund for Nature in Hong Kong (“WWF – Hong Kong”) for the Mai Po Nature Reserve Infrastructure Upgrade Project. This included the redevelopment of its Peter Scott Visitor Centre into a “21st century nature classroom” to enhance its capacity to deliver high-quality education, ecological training and research.

To celebrate the opening of the WWF Jockey Club Mai Po Peter Scott Visitor Centre, a ceremony was held today (28 November) at Mai Po. Officiating guests included HKSAR Government Secretary for Education Dr Choi Yuk-lin, Club Steward Dr Henry Chan, Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Dr Leung Siu-fai, Executive Director of Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia Seung Oh Suh and Chairman of WWF – Hong Kong Dan Bradshaw.

Speaking at the ceremony Club Steward Dr Henry Chan said the Club has long supported sustainability initiatives, which is in line with its purpose of acting for the betterment of our society. He noted that the Club has been supporting WWF-Hong Kong since the 1980s, including to help establish an integrated education centre at Mai Po. The newly redeveloped WWF Jockey Club Mai Po Peter Scott Visitor Centre also aligns with President Xi Jinping’s vision of promoting wetland conservation.

Apart from redeveloping the Peter Scott Visitor Centre, the project also includes building two new tower hides for bird-watching, renovating the current tower hide, upgrading the Mai Po education centre, and constructing a wooden boardwalk - named The Jockey Club Nature Trail - to meet universal accessibility standards.

The completion of the infrastructure upgrade work enables WWF-Hong Kong to increase the number of environmental education activities at Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay, which provides sanctuary to over 2,000 species of flora and fauna and hosts up to 100,000 birds on their winter migration. Each year its guided tours and awareness programmes will benefit 15,000 students from different schools plus an additional 15,000 members of the public. The improved facilities will also enable visiting scientists, local and regional researchers and conservationists to conduct research and ecological studies at Mai Po, facilitating knowledge exchange on wetland management.

The Club’s support for the Mai Po infrastructure upgrade project, like all of its charity donations, is made possible by its unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate employment, tax and charity support for the community.