Over the past 20 years, has made an impact across the world.

Schools cross the divide to talk about all things owl-related in Shenzhen, China. 

On Wednesday 19 April 2023, students from Shenzhen College of International Education (China) and Marlboro Gardens Combined School (South Africa) exchanged knowledge about all things owl related. For the past week, students had their hands full with research, creating artwork and preparing for this online event.

This event was coordinated by representatives of and the teachers at Shenzhen College of International Education. is a non-profit organisation that educates school learners about the benefits of owls in our environment. started working in township schools over 20 years ago with the aim to create owl-friendly children.

"Events like these help bridge the gap between continents. It also allows children from different ethnic backgrounds to learn about each other's culture." Stated Jordan-Michael Hardey (Project Coordinator,

The South African students began with a song that they had prepared. The song was named "Help me save an owl". Topics such as South African owl species, dangers of rat poison, myths surrounding owls and owl names in different African languages were presented by South African students. The African learners also undertook a live owl pellet dissection. Pellets are an indigestible material that owls regurgitate. It contains fur, bones, teeth as well as other indigestible matter. Each owl pellet generally contains one rodent, sometimes two. During the pellet dissection, a rodent skull was shown on screen and the Asian students were in awe that the bones were still intact.

The China-based students prepared a slideshow presentation with similar topics. The Asian learners helped the African learners pronounce the word "Māotóuyīng" which is "owl" in the Chinese Mandarin language.


Check out our video summary of the event: Art in Houston, Minnesota, USA



In 2017, received the Special Achievement Award from the International Owl Centre in Houston, Minnesota. 

In March 2018, Jonathan Haw from South Africa accepted the award at the 16th annual International Festival of Owls. On the acceptance of this very special award, was officially inaugurated into the Owl Hall of Fame. 

We continue to work closely with Karla and Hein Bloem and all the team at the International Owl Centre and Jonathan has become a long-standing panel member on the judging of other recipients of this prestigious acknowledgement.  

It is wonderful to see children from Alexandra Township in South Africa displaying their unique and beautiful owl art on the other side of the world.  




World Owl Conference 2017 

In September 2017, Jonathan Haw, an director was fortunate enough to attend the World Owl Conference in Evora, Portugal. Over a 5 day period, he was fascinated by owl experts and their scientific presentations.

On behalf of Jonathan presented a paper on “From Cures to Curses – Owls and their place in Traditional medicine in Southern Africa” and additionally, was a panel member on the Owl Education Workshop. This panel consisted of members from India, Nepal, USA, the UK and South Africa.The conference ended with a strong call for further collaboration between the countries that attended.



Nepal Owl Festival

A few years ago attended the Nepal Owl Festival. We arrived in Kathmandu and then travelled 8 hours into the mountains to the festival. I met the Nepalese "Owl
Man" Raju Acharya and a friendship was born. Below is a message Jonathan Haw received.
Jonathan Haw with Raju Acharya.
Nepalese child with owl art painted on face.
" Dear Jonathan,
We are glad to welcome you to the upcoming Nepal Owl Festival (3-4 March 2017)’ as a ‘Special Guest’. The venue for the festival is yet to be decided, however, there is a possibility that the venue will be 8-9 hours drive far from Kathmandu.
We request you to bring your friends too during the festival. We can organise the morning bird watching trip (3-4 March) for free to your team. We can also manage free food and accommodation for you as a ‘Special Guest’ for the festival period (3-4 March 2017)."
Panel at Owl Festival in Nepal.

 Nepal Owl Festival 2017-In short

 "Nepal Owl Festival 2017 was organized in Jagadishpur, Niglihawa Village Development Committee (VDC) of Kapilvastu district jointly by Friends of Nature (FON) Nepal and Nepal Owl Festival Management Committee, Niglihawa VDC. The site for this year's Nepal Owl Festival is also a Ramsar Site and attracts huge flocks of winter birds migrating to lowlands. Team of organizers and volunteers moved from Kathmandu in 30 January. Preparation of temporary owl museum took a total of three days. The festival was held on February 3-4, 2017 with participation of approximate 10,000 visitors, national and international. Apart from temporary owl museum, exhibition of local culture and game, wildlife dance of students from Institute of Forestry (IOF), face painting, nail arts were other attractions of the festival. Health camp and posters of individuals on conservation was added feature in this festival. The festival was covered by local, national and international media. Indirectly, the message of owl conservation reached to six million people via various media including BBC Nepali service, NTV and Gorkhapatra National Daily." had the privilege of attending the International Festival of Owls in Baghkhor, Nepal. The Nepalese have similar mythological fears pertaining to owls and the festival is an important educational programme designed to change these cultural stigmas.

World Owl Conference India 2019


Jonathan Haw presenting at the World Owl Conference in India.


"At WOC 2019, talks and papers were presented by participants from India, China, Nepal, US, Canada, Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, Poland, Austria, South Africa, Ukraine, and Russia. This was followed by the second Indian Owl Festival, held at Ela Habitat, Pingori.

The aim of the annual conference is to spread awareness, conduct research, and promote conservation of owl habitats. Owls are seen as beneficial to agricultural ecosystems via extermination of pests like rodents – but unfortunately, poaching activities pose a threat."

Source: YourStory 

Sara Orchardson presenting at the World Owl Conference in India.




South Africa was well represented at the World Owl Conference in Pune in 2019. We presented two scientific papers about the work that we do on owls and education within our country.





Some images from the World Owl Conference - India 

Find out more: 

The Times of India 


"From carriers of spirits to cure for insomnia, myths surround owls across the world"

 View the article here.  

  Engaging with schools in Austria: 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

 This is a fairly well-known quote by Nelson Mandela. Children from underprivileged social backgrounds deserve and have a right to an education.

Who would have thought that a school in Alexandra Township would enlighten children in Austria about owls in Africa? In March 2019, made this happen.

School children from Marlboro Gardens Combined School in Alexandra Township have been part of's educational programme for over 15 years and on March 15th 2019, in collaboration with the Wildnis Durrenstein in Austria, the kids from Alexandra gave an owl presentation and answered questions about and their involvement with this initiative. A Skype call was arranged between the 2 schools and it lasted nearly 2 hours! 



The main aim of the Skype call was for the children in Marlboro Gardens to introduce the Austrian children to our 12 South African owl species. During the presentation, the Marlboro kids also shared the names that they have chosen for the owl species in Sotho. 

We have mentioned the Owl Naming Project previously, but here is a quick reminder: Many children are brought up to think that all owl species have the same name. "Isikhova" in isiZulu is used to describe a Giant Eagle Owl (Bubo lacteus) as well as the tiny Pearl Spotted Owl (Glaucidium perlatum).

The Owl Naming Project focuses on giving common names to each of our 12 owl species using the nine South African indigenous languages. The project is undertaken nationally and involves several high schools from all over the country.



Please visit our section here with their latest progress on the Owl Naming Project. It was a beautiful morning and we plan to involve more schools as part of an international educational programme with In addition to the Skype call, both schools created gifts for each other. The learners at Marlboro Gardens made and coloured 300 origami owls with messages for the learners in Austria. In return, learners from Austria did something similar and created little booklets about themselves for the learners in Marlboro Gardens.


Masks made by kids from in Alexandra Township, South Africa, travelled 8700km to be worn by members of the Wildnisgebiet Dürrenstein and the Burgermeister of Göstling, Niederösterreich, Austria at a talk about township kids rolling back generations of mythological owl prejudice.

 “The Duerrenstein Wilderness Area was justifiably nominated as the first UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in Austria. That unique area is an international treasure and is offering a habitat for rare species. Furthermore, it is teaching current generations how vulnerable our ecosystem is. It is our mission to pass on knowledge and also the efforts for the conservation of our nature, that is why projects and collaborations with schools are that important.”

Deputy governor of Lower Austria Stephan Pernkopf 



 Austria Gallery 


Feedback on the tour in Austria (translated) Collaboration between Township Owl Project, Duerrenstein Wilderness Area, Owl and Raptor Centre OAW Linz, School NMS Goestling, School SSND 



“Privatschule Friesgasse Vienna. Very impressive!!!!! Wow!!”

David J.


"Continent connecting owl project. Exemplary how globally it can collaborate.”

Ernestus S.


“You have been really very active and the diversity of the school projects is remarkable and impressive. Thank you again for the very interesting presentation evening in Vienna. I was pleased to find out that the project is organised much more complexly than expected – with social, political, economic, ecological, educational, ... aspects.”



“It was a very interesting presentation and a successful informational event! Congratulations!”

Major of Goestling /Ybbs Friedrich Fahrnberger 


We all were participating in the school owl project with and the Duerrenstein Wilderness Area with full enthusiasm and found the project amazing! We would be happy about a continuation of the project or a similar project."

School director Goestling/Ybbs Josef N 


"It was great. An unforgettable impression. Thank you again, Ingrid and Jonathan. I wish Jonathan a good journey home and hope that we are going to meet again. Heartfelt greetings."

Biology teacher Vienna Karin K


"Owl fever has broken out during three weeks of an owl school project in the school NMS Göstling. Very cool. Very professional. Your enthusiasm is infectious. Heartfelt wishes for the day today. Some of our kids already had contact with the kids in South Africa over the weekend. I hope your owl events of the week did work out well. Thank you very, very much for the pictures! Many kids have."

Teacher Goestling/Ybbs Claudia B


"It is impressive what one person, Jonathan, has established and which big difference he and his team are making for conservation and in society and how many people are reached by his work. Everyone can only love what they know. The world needs more such idealists."

Viktoria K


" was very cool. I got the opportunity to talk with Jonathan for quite a long time. Really awesome what was established and how many Barn Owls are living there. Great that you initiated school projects with such commitment and enthusiasm in different schools in Austria."

Stefan K


"For me, it was absolutely unforgettable. You are doing such amazing and important work, it is so much fun, it leaves clues and you make such a difference in society and for conservation. Thank you for your commitment and for your precious visit to Austria!"

Ingrid K        


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