World Heritage sites are some of the world’s most precious places, but many of them are threatened by industrial-scale activities like mining and dredging. One of these is a World Heritage site in Spain – Doñana National Park. There were plans to dredge the nearby river with potentially devastating consequences, threatening the wetlands that are home to six million migratory birds.
As part of our Saving Our Shared Heritage campaign WWF needed a way to make this distant issue tangible to our supporters, so we decided to tap into people’s love of UK birds. A million of the birds that winter in Doñana also visit our UK shores. We asked people to fold and send us their own migratory birds: an #OrigamiMigration for Doñana.
The response was far greater than we expected. The thousands of origami birds we received ‘migrated’ to Spain, where they formed a beautiful installation in the streets of Madrid. In response, the government agreed to a meeting on the issue with WWF-Spain, and – most importantly – one day after the deadline set by UNESCO, Spain announced that the dredging plans would be cancelled. It was a powerful demonstration of the impact people can have through care and creativity.