86 schools make BirdLife Malta’s flag­ship en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme a suc­cess

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Eightysix schools from around Malta and Gozo were awarded for their achieve­ments dur­ing the 2015-2016 scholas­tic year within Dinja Waħda which is the big­gest en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme in Malta run by BirdLife Malta in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Direc­torate for Qual­ity and Stan­dards in Ed­u­ca­tion and with the sup­port of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Malta.

The Dinja Waħda an­nual awards were pre­sented dur­ing a prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony held at Dun Man­wel At­tard Young Adult Ed­u­ca­tion Re­source Cen­tre (Maria Reġina Col­lege) in Wardija by Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Re­search, In­no­va­tion, Youth and Sport Chris Agius who in a brief mes­sage for the oc­ca­sion out­lined the im­por­tance of out­door learn­ing for school chil­dren to gain new skills.

He praised BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda pro­gramme and the ster­ling work done by the eNGO in schools in re­la­tion to nature. He also thanked teach­ers and heads of school for their work in en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion.

Apart from cel­e­brat­ing the suc­cess of schools in­volve­ment dur­ing the last scholas­tic year, to­day’s cer­e­mony also marked the launch of a new year of en­gage­ment. Those present were also up­dated with the pro­gramme’s achieve­ments and main events dur­ing the last scholas­tic year.

BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda ini­tia­tive forms part of the NGO’s com­mit­ment to pro­tect wildlife and its habi­tats through out­door ac­tiv­i­ties for school chil­dren both in school grounds and through ed­u­ca­tional vis­its to Malta’s nature re­serves to help them con­nect with nature. The pro­gramme has been run­ning for more than 20 years.

Dur­ing to­day’s event 55 schools re­ceived the Gold Award for ex­cel­lent achieve­ments in en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion, six were pre­sented with the Sil­ver Award, three re­ceived the Bronze Award and a fur­ther 23 schools were awarded with a Cer­tifi­cate. Over and above th­ese, the Blue Ban­ner Award is given to those schools who have re­ceived the Gold Award for three years or more. 22 schools have re­ceived this award, three for the first time.

For this scholas­tic year a new ac­tiv­ity is be­ing launched called Dinja Waħda Rangers which is all about stu­dents as­sess­ing their school grounds to see how nature friendly they are and then tak­ing ac­tion to im­prove them, thus mak­ing the space bet­ter for bio­di­ver­sity and also for the stu­dents at the school who can en­joy the out­door space more.

BirdLife Malta’s De­sirèe Fal­zon, one of the co­or­di­na­tors of Dinja Waħda, spoke about re­search which shows that con­nec­tion with nature in chil­dren to­day is miss­ing and this proves the im­por­tance of such pro­grammes. She also called for teach­ers to fur­ther pro­mote out­door learn­ing amongst their stu­dents as in do­ing this they en­sure that school chil­dren re­alise the im­por­tance of safe­guard­ing nature as a way of life.

At the end of the cer­e­mony Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary Agius dis­trib­uted the prizes to schools, flanked by BirdLife Malta’s Ed­u­ca­tion Man­ager Hannah Chisholm who is this week leav­ing the NGO to seek pas­tures new af­ter three suc­cess­ful years in this role.

Michael Blair be­ing pre­sented with a farewell gift by MTA Di­rec­tor Ger­many, Aus­tria & Switzer­land, Peter Cauchi

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