Send Puffin-Panda-Postcards that put nature first

Here in Wales, Puffins are one of the country’s most well known animals. And they are universally recognised as being a charismatic symbol of both Wales and nature conservation in general. Like Pandas they are beautiful, endangered, and loved.

Around 30 thousand Puffins breed on the small Welsh island of Skomer. This is a fraction of the total world population, but they are regarded as indicators of the well being of all seabirds, which are represented on Skomer by large populations of Shearwaters (half the world’s population), Guillemots and Razorbills.

Like the Giant Panda, Puffins carry messages of hope that humanity will eventually put nature first in all that we do before it is too late.

Puffin-Panda-Posts is a response to the the POSTCROSSING Blog “Tiny Forest Expanded” telling how a small group of postcrossers got the following message of hope from pine tree seedlings in Portugal:

“Driving through the forest and its chopped down burnt trees is still heartbreaking… but knowing that over half of it has now been reforested and that we’re doing something to help, makes up for it”

In response to the Pinhal de Leiria story, over the next week, 36 postcrossers spontaneously expressed their solidarity with such actions to put nature first. This suggests that POSTCROSSING is the ideal hybrid IT/postal platform for people, schools and communities to display their environmental stories with postcards that exemplify care for the planet.

Puffin-Panda-Posts is an experiment in communication and school/community networking networking to sharpen postcards with nature first messages. If you were a Puffin or a Panda, what pictures-with-messages would you be sending to the world with your postcards?


Other Corixus posts from Wales.


Maybe “Help me!” if it’s one puffin or panda in the image, or “Help us!” if it’s more than one, and then a specific fact like, “Did you know that puffins are dying out because of too much human development?” followed by a simple “ask” like “Check out (or whatever) for how you can keep my kind alive for the next 20 years”

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Yes. It helps with delivering education for living sustainably, and putting nature first, if you try to think like another kind of animal. What do you think its like to be a swift, flying at over one hundred kilometres an hour? Or a kiwi, plodding flightlessly among the humid undergrowth in the pitch dark of a New Zealand night? What is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings and how does its brain improvise? In this context, we are beginning to recognise that Corvids have the cognitive capacity of Chimpanzees. Tim Birkhead addresses these questions in his book Bird Sense; very readable for young children. Incidentally, Tim has spent the past 50 years studying the Guillemots on Skomer Island.

Stay safe and healthy!


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Here’s a video from traditional pufin rescue in Iceland:

Population declined dramatically since my first visit there in 1993, when the coasts were full of puffins.

I would send a message of love and kindness.
Or imagine a poem, maybe written from the perspective of a puffin.

Or transport the emotional message what the puffin is in essence to me: It’s one of those magic creatures who make you happy simply through showing up.
So the puffin could say for example: “You want me to make you happy? Sure, I want that too! Need your help though: Please protect me!”

Thank you for the topic!

@TwasBrillig I can’t open the link you posted.

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If you can find specific numbers, the abstract “dying out” will become a much more real and a stronger point. Facts like “in 1990 there were an estimated xxx puffins. In 2020 it was only yyyy”. I have heard such numbers in a few nature documentaries. It is often combination of not so long time period and a drastic decline.

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School/community international networking of environmental improvements

Just a reminder that ‘“Puffin Panda Postcards, PPP’’ is a development of a pre INTERNET group of European schools working with the communities they served to make environmental improvements. Ideas, and achievements were communicated by postcards. The following modern school/community project is an example of an environmental improvement scheme suitable for networking through a group in the POSTCROSSING Forum, such as PPP.

‘The Little Tern is the UK’s smallest tern. It’s thought that there are only 2,000 pairs of little terns left in Britain. One of the biggest threats to the birds is litter, which they can mistake for food and either eat it themselves or give it to their young, which poisons the chicks. Students of the Scottish primary schools of Burray and The Hope in Orkney know how important it is to have a clean beach for the birds. They are making posters, marking out the site, putting down tern decoys to encourage the terns to breed and cleaning the beach to make it ready for when the birds arrive on their annual migration from West Africa’.

The lesson is that young people can play a key role in local conservation management. The schools are part of Orkney’s biodiversity action plan, Thereby they are also part of international strategies for protecting rare species.

Stay safe and healthy!

Please write in English, because that is the language of this part of the forum. Thank you :blush:

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I would draw a series of dead end postcards without feathers and the text “I really need your help!”
On the rest of the postcards, I would draw a puffin feather with an interesting fact about this bird. 1 card-1 fact.

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When making its first action plans for biodiversity and sustainable development in the 1990s the UK government proposed setting up an official national citizens environmental network to spread ideas and achievements. It never materialized and no reason was given as to why it was not created. How do postcrossers feel about this communications gap, citizen to citizen; and citizen to government. In particular, what could be the contribution of POSTCROSSING to education for adapting to a carbon- free world?

Stay safe and healthy!


For those of you who are trying to get an insight into how Puffins think, have a look at this digital hyperbook.

The World Wide Fund for Nature, known as WWF (it used to be called the World Wildlife Fund and still is in the US and Canada) has a universally recognised logo which remains a potent symbol for the primary focus of the WWF’s work: the conservation, preservation and restoration of natural environments around the world.

Categorising ‘postcrossers’.

It seems to us in Wales that there are four kinds of postcrossers who are using POSTCROSSING as an international educational toolkit. Postcard senders and receivers, topic makers, topic responders and topic viewers.

According to a Cornell University blogger, postcard senders and receivers get their rewards from the variety of subjects that can be printed on a commercial postcard, the affordable cost to send, the number of words needed to summarise the motivation of the sender, and the amount of happiness when one receives it in the mail. They utilise networking technology in the 21st century to preserve the old-fashion handwritten mailing system to build a personal body of randomly generated knowledge spanning the world.

The other categories of postcrossers use the Forum; in our case to develop an international pedagogy and syllabus to produce curricula that link the world together with the common interest of living sustainably. To facilitate deep discussion this objective requires the formation of a network of relatively small topic-related groups. The postcard is replaced with an informative digital image-text-package.

We would like to see more discussion about how POSTCROSSING works as an educational toolkit and what it can do for lifelong learning so our children can live in a better, undivided world,

How do others see it?

Informative image-text- package; aka digital postcards

The image conveys a concept, or information, that can be expressed in a short phrase or sentence. The text alternative should convey the meaning or content which typically isn’t a literal description of the image.

To make a Google image-text-package

(i) In Google Docs go to File, New.
(ii) Insert image from computer
(iii) Resize image.
(iv) Add text below image.
(v) Go to Share, then to People with access.
(vi) In General access set “Anyone with link”.
(vii) Copy link.
(viii) Past link into Reply Form

To see an example of an image-text package.

Click here

A message from all non humans

Puffins and Pandas send us the same message; “More Birds Make You As Happy As More Money.

In a nurshell, they pose a fundamental question for postcrossers: how can we blend postcarding’s analogue and digital data streams to educate for a no-waste circular economy with non-monetary prosperity?

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What did the Eskimo Curlew say?

The last Eskimo Curlew tells his story throughout a year during his migration from wintering grounds in the pampas grass-lands of Argentina and Uruguay to the Canadian Arctic in search of a mate. It’s a bird’s eye view of a perilous, single-minded migratory journey of up to 8,000 km, which paints a realistic and detailed picture of this bird’s life and his behaviour. The lone survivor of a species calling for a mate that never comes. stands for the entirety of a species on the brink of extinction, and for all in nature that is endangered. The Eskimo Curlew is gone because humankind hunts for leisure; it’s never coming back. The message hits especially hard because it follows this individual bird, and you become invested in his life and you want him to succeed, but you know that’s not happening.

The Last Curlew’s story was written by Fred Bodsworth, a Canadian newspaper reporter and naturalist, in 1954. Decades later the science journalist Sonia Shah in her book ‘The Next Migration: Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move’ explores the cross curricular connections within the topic of migration.

Reviewing Shah’s book, Richard O. Prum juxtaposes a vision of the vulnerability of more than 300 species of bird migrating north along traditional geographic “flyways”, with human migrations on nearly every continent. Refugees are fleeing from war, ethnic and gang violence, political oppression, famine, climate change and poverty.

Finally, you may know the people of the Arctic who cohabited with the curlew, as Eskimos. But they are officially called the Inuit. For many indigenous people of the northern-arctic, the blanket term "Eskimo’’ is offensive because it was not a name they chose for themselves. Historically, they were hunters in the truest sense. Now their lives are affected by a contemporary world, which is placing limits on how they can hunt and a changing climate that is destroying their environment. There is a big element of uncertainty in their culture. Will they follow the Curlew?

If only non-human animals could send us postcards…

In 2018, the lawyer Matthew Strugar received a postcard from a whale.

The card came out of an old SeaWorld tourist pack, the kind with glossy pictures of animals doing tricks, purchased for excited kids by worn-down parents then tossed in a drawer when vacation is over. Its front showed two orcas, one big, one juvenile, jumping gracefully from the confines of their chlorine-blue pool as sunburnt 1980s patrons in tank tops snapped photos and gawked.

The back carried a plea for help:

“On the other side of this message is a photo of the humiliating activities that our captors force us to perform. Perhaps you can use this as evidence. Thank you for all the work you do for us. Sincerely, Your imprisoned orca clients.”

From fairy tales to photography, nowhere is the complexity of human-animal relationships more apparent than in the creative arts. Art illuminates the nature and significance of animals in modern, Western thought, capturing the complicated union that has long existed between the animal kingdom and us. In the book, Beauty and the Beast: Human-Animal Relations as Revealed in Real Photo Postcards, 1905–1935, authors Arluke and Bogdan explore this relationship through the unique lens of photo post­cards. This visual medium offers an enormous and relatively untapped archive to compellingly document their subject.

The period 1905-1935 takes us back to a time when human-animal relations were pervasive and diverse. During these thirty years, as postcards will show, Americans experienced profound changes that altered our connection with animals and influenced our perception and treatment of them today. In 1905 photo postcards surged in popularity; by the mid-1930s the demand for this genre of photography was all but over.

From the 1990s onwards postcards began to be concerned with illustrating wild nature in all its diversity and the need for conservation management. From this point of view postcards and postage stamps are often powerful learning materials.

Postcards from the future

Step 0: Prepare the activity

  • Download the postcard resource pack or postcard template.
  • Print the postcard template you/your child/your class wish to use.
  • Optional: Select a free educational resource from Transform Our World, or use our free biodiversity activity pack.

Step 1: Run a short activity

  • Use the activity script to run an imagination activity, or download educational resources to help your class learn about a climate topic of your choice.
  • Ask some simple questions and help the child think about what we can do to look after the world, and what the world might look like in the future if we look after it well.

Step 2: Create a postcard from the future!

  • On one side, draw what the future looks like.
  • On the other side, write a postcard home to the present day (your parents, your teacher, even your pet!) to let them know what the future is like if we look after our planet.

Step 3: Submit your postcard to the gallery!

  • Take a photo of both sides of the postcard and upload them to be featured in our online gallery.
  • Please try to ensure there are no real addresses or full names visible on the postcard. Use fake addresses (part of the fun is inventing somewhere to live in the future!), or edit the image before sending it.
  • If you have a large group and would like to submit the entries in bulk, please email
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Extraordinary postcards for extraordinary times

At the height of the covid-19 pandemic Newlyn Art Gallery invited people of any age and at any location, to document their life during lockdown on postcards. The Gallery asked them to use any medium that would work on an A5 postcard to share some of their experience of this extraordinary time. They might be inspired by new routines or talents discovered, objects in their home that have become all too familiar, or whatever it is that they were looking forward to when the lockdown restrictions were relaxed.

This exhibition celebrates creativity in exceptional circumstances.


Nature first

My general question to the Forum is how can we educate to put nature first in all that we do?

I am working with Welsh schools and the communities they serve with a mission to save wildlife and wild spaces and to make nature part of life for everyone.

This is one of my two discussion threads in the Forum. It is about discussing how postcards can be used in nature writing and art to get close to species that are not human, and communicate, school to school and community to community, how important it is to put nature first.

This is an application of the Dr Dolittle principle i.e. once we have learned the language of animals, we can understand what they want and how they feel. As a scientific principle it is illustrated in Konrad Lorenz’s book King Solomon’s Ring. The book’s title refers to the legendary Seal of Solomon, a ring that supposedly gave King Solomon the power to speak to animals. Lorenz , a Nobel Prize winner, achieved this feat of communication with several species, by raising them in and around his home and observing their behavior.

Connecting schools with nature

Through its ‘Connecting schools with nature project the British Ecological Society inspires over 10,000 pupils from 50 schools, provides training to more than 350 teachers, and helps close the Covid skills gap by upskilling 50 ‘Environmental Educators of Tomorrow’. The project aims to result in the green transformation of participating schools through a series of workshops where pupils and teachers will be introduced to the fascinating world of ecology and learn all about their local wildlife. Supported by the development of an engaging digital learning hub, the project will also enable pupils and teachers to act as a network of citizen scientists to record the wildlife they see in and around their school.

A relevant education theme for POSTCROSSING is biogeography. Has anyone managed to develop this kind of international education theme by eliciting the collection of postcards in the classroom?