Birdwatchers of the Mugla
organized and managed by G.A.S. Dernek.
With the support of DHKD!
Gok-Kus-Agi is one of the recently
established organizations of Bird Watchers in Turkey
How did it all begin ?
In Winter 2001, G.A.S. association, received a
list of names and phone numbers from DHKD. This was the list of people who
were interested in Bird Watching activities in the province of Mugla. Until
that time, because there wasn’t any studies on birds in Mugla region, the
wet lands remained unsurveyed. Very soon, we realized the amount of work
involved in counting birds and when we met at Bursa with the Izmir-Ege Bird
Watching group, we decided to work together. Later on, when we received a
list of names from Mr. Bahadir Kurt, DHKD’s Bird Watchers coordinator, we
started to call those people together, thinking that we need as many people
as we can get. At the same time, instead of creating a new organization, we
decided to function as a branch of G.A.S. Dernek. The Board of Directors of
G.A.S. Dernek took a decision regarding this possibility. The name Gok –
Kus – Agi reflects this connection between G.A.S. Dernek and Gokova Bird
Watchers information network.)
Our first meeting was held on March 3, 2002 at Akyaka. To this meeting, 9
participants from different regions of the province of Mugla attended.
Together, we realized that we could form a Birding platform and we
determined our aims, objectives and expectations. We made the following
plan outlining how we will continue to work to reach our goals.
In the province of Mugla:
bring the Bird Watchers togethercreate the environment needed to exchange
knowledgecreate an information network for the Bird Watchersto be more
effective, organize some of the activies with other Birding groups
try to increase our knowledge and bring everyone to the same levelset a
standard level of knowledge for
beyond Birding activities, promote the care and protection of the
How will we do it:
Call for a meeting, at least once a month
Meetings take place at different regions of Mugla
these events should take place on weekends. Possibly, going to the location
on Friday afternoon and going to the field for Bird Watching early saturday
If Bird Watching is early in the morning, we can
organize afternoon seminars given by the knowledgeable group members
For the organization of the meetings, seek the help of the members in each
It is important to establish an information and
knowledge sharing network among members.
Attendance to these events should be free and without restriction.
Use GAS-Der’s organization and DHKD’s support to
create a system that cares about the continuation of Birds, Bird Watchers
and Birding activities in general
In many respects, our group is different from other Birding groups and to
reach our goals, we need to overcome several handicaps.
for your interest, we like to
mention some of the
In a small scale, we deal with a wetland connected to a local University. In
addition to that we have members coming from different parts of Mugla. It
takes more than 4 hours to travel from one end to the other. We want to
reach every part of the region and this creates transportation problems. We
already started a car pooling network.
Not everyone has a computer so we need to reach them by phone or fax
Within our group, there is age, knowledge and discipline differences. Some
have extensive knowledge, others have limited knowledge. For that reason,
in addition to our Bird Watching trips we are aiming to organize small
seminars for the purpose of learning from each other. We are planning to
close the knowledge gap within a year.
None of our members practiced Bird Watching using standards. We start from
ground zero, like registring the scientific names of the local birds, note
taking during field trips, use of binoculars, etc. We are trying to learn
and teach at the same time.
Half of our members are working in the tourism industry. They could attend
to our activities only in winter. During summer months, we will continue
with a core group of members.
Our meetings, knowledge sharing, and field trips, need to be bilangual
because there is no common language among our members. This is creating some
practical difficulties but the cooperation at our meetings worth to
The majority of our members
is active in environmental
issues in their neighborhoods. To support them, we decided to use some of
the time during our weekend meetings for the purpose of visiting regional
government offices to present our concerns. This way, they won’t be alone in
their efforts to protect the environment.
Environmentalist and Bird Watchers view the nature differently. We believe
we have a lot to learn from each other and we are trying to adapt each
others point of view. This way, hopefully, our enjoyment of nature will be
as you see we have many handicaps
We also have some advantages
Most of our members are not short of money.
Organizing boat tours or meetings are not a major problem. We share our
There are many benefits to use GAS-Der as our mother organization. We
already have the foundation needed. For example, it is easier to organize
some of our activities. To our second meeting at Dalyan, we were able to
invite the media and get publicity. We did this during every meeting. Also,
in GAS-Der newsletter, we will be able to publish our activities.
Wherever we go, besides our members, we take guests to participate during
our activities. We are ready to include others who loves Birds and Bird
Watching and learn and grow together with them. Our meetings are almost
hatcheries for Bird lovers.
We are still short of books and binoculars. Most of our members don’t have
binoculars. If we succeed in the continuation of our organization, increase
the interest of our members, we are sure we will get the equipment
needed. Right now we share two telescopes that belongs to our members.
Funny, we don’t have books but we have telescopes! Also, DHKD donated a
telescope for the purpose of participating in the “little Project”
Mugla is rich in different types of wetlands. While we visit each one of
these wetlands and do activities that will benefit Birds and Bird Watchers,
we hope for a future filled with Birds.
Heike Thol- Schmitz
Head of GAS-Der/ coordinator of GKA