Section 6 of the Action Plan of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels covers the subject of education and public awareness. Subsection 6.2 calls for Parties to "seek to make local communities and the public in general more aware of the status of albatrosses and petrels and the threats facing them".
A very important part of raising public awareness is to educate the young. One way that the conservation message can be put across is by the way of children's books. However, whereas there is a plethora of children's books on penguins, there seems to be not very many on albatrosses and especially on petrels, including those species listed within ACAP. So far only 13 titles have been listed on this web site (click here).
A publication out last month for children breaks new ground. I Can't Fly is an interactive, animated ebook about a fledgling albatross called Vernon on his quest to fly. "Practice, encouragement and ultimately love, spur him on, but does he succeed to overcome his fear?" The book is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
I Can't Fly, illustrated by Bill Bolton and written by Mark Shaw, aims to highlight the plight of the world's albatrosses and help support BirdLife's Global Seabird Programme.
Says the illustrator: "Whilst visiting the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand I was privileged enough to witness an albatross colony. I was inspired by the majesty and beauty of these birds as they soared above us. What really struck me was their size and effortless flight - their wings were so large that you could actually hear the wind in their feathers as they approached! It's a memory that I will never forget. I hope that this will nurture a greater appreciation of this unique bird, especially amongst children. Ten per cent of profits from the sale of the book will go to the Save the Albatross fund."
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 June 2011