Gökova  Birding  Network

Birdwatchers of
the Mugla region 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

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 environment

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 morning
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 region.
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 differences
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 observe.
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 more fulfilling.
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 resources.
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