Students and teachers from five different secondary schools were today awarded for their achievements during the last scholastic year (2017-18) for their participation in BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda Secondary programme for environmental sustainability education through the curriculum. In the same ceremony held at Salina Nature Reserve this morning, the Dinja Waħda secondary programme for the new scholastic year 2018-19 was launched.
This was the second consecutive year that secondary schools were awarded following their participation in the programme which is delivered in collaboration with the Education Directorate. BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda initiative, which started in 1994, is the eNGO’s environmental education programme in schools and has separate programmes for primary and secondary. In secondary schools it aims to connect young people with nature and challenge them to take action to improve biodiversity and create awareness of sustainable behaviour in their community.
The programme has three sections that a school may participate in through curricular subjects. These are ‘Action for Biodiversity’, ‘Connecting with Nature’ and ‘Outreach for Awareness’.
Today’s event saw the distribution of nine awards in total among five schools. These were given gold, silver and bronze awards according to their levels of involvement in the above-mentioned three different categories. The ‘Dinja Waħda Secondary Sustainability Awards’ were presented to the participating schools by BirdLife Malta’s CEO Mark Sultana and Education Manager Sarah Brady together with Bank of Valletta’s Executive PR & Marketing Charles Azzopardi. The audience included education officials, teachers and students.
Maria Reġina College’s Dun Manwel Attard Young Adult Education Resource Centre of Wardija, won the highest number of awards this year, with gold in the ‘Connecting with Nature’ section, silver in the ‘Action for Biodiversity’ category and bronze in the ‘Outreach for Awareness’ section.
St Theresa College Mrieħel Secondary School was awarded the bronze award in the ‘Action for Biodiversity’ category and another bronze in the ‘Connecting with Nature’ category.
Another two awards went to St Nicholas College Dingli Secondary School: silver for its achievements in ‘Action for Biodiversity’ and bronze for ‘Connecting with Nature’.
San Ġorġ Preca College Blata l-Bajda Middle School was successful in one award category, winning silver for its achievement in ‘Connecting with Nature’ whilst San Ġorġ Preca Guardian Angel Secondary Education Resource Centre of Ħamrun won the gold award for ‘Connecting with Nature’.
One of this year’s highlights was a video summing up the work of the participating schools within Dinja Waħda, featuring teachers and students explaining their projects and what getting involved in outdoor education meant for them.
Desirèe Falzon, coordinator of Dinja Waħda Secondary, introduced the awards and also spoke about Malta’s Natura 2000 sites and their relevance for the Maltese Islands as the theme of this year’s event. A presentation of BirdLife Malta’s new publication “Post għan-Natura, Siti Natura 2000 f’Malta” by Victor Falzon and Elisabeth Conrad was also given and copies of the book distributed to all geography teachers in secondary schools.
Commenting during this morning’s event Sarah Brady, BirdLife Malta’s Education Manager, congratulated the schools on their effort and commitment for nature and sustainability education and encouraged other schools to participate in the programme.
Charles Azzopardi, Executive, PR & Marketing at Bank of Valletta, joined in congratulating the schools for their participation while emphasising the importance of creating more awareness about the environment, specifically the flora and fauna, among secondary school children. Bank of Valletta’s support to Dinja Waħda forms part of the Environment Pillar within the Bank’s extensive community programme.
Dinja Waħda is supported by the European Commission Representation in Malta and Bank of Valletta (BOV) is the programme’s educational partner.