77 schools awarded for connecting children with nature

BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda 2023 Awards Ceremony held at Xara Lodge
Young students receiving the awards. Photo: Andrea Monnier

A total of 77 schools across Malta and Gozo celebrated their achievements in connecting children with nature through BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda environmental education programme, which is spread across all year groups from kinder to secondary students.

The Dinja Waħda 2023 Awards Ceremony, celebrating the success of the 2022/2023 scholastic year, took place at The Minstrel’s Hall, Xara Lodge, Rabat, last Thursday.

In the primary sector, 53 schools received the Gold Award, six schools received the Silver Award, three schools were awarded with Bronze, and 11 schools received a certificate. Three new schools received the Blue Banner, an award for schools that maintain the Gold Award for three consecutive years.

In the secondary sector, three schools received the Gold Award and one school received the Bronze Award.

During the scholastic year 2022/2023, BirdLife’s education team happily welcomed 5,652 students at Simar, Foresta 2000, Għadira and Salina nature reserves for guided field visits.

The ceremony also marked the launch of a new scholastic year of engagement (2023/2024) fully transitioning to the Dinja Waħda new Action Guide, which forms part of BirdLife Malta’s commitment to protect wildlife and its habitats through nature-based learning activities.

The programme is run in collaboration with the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes and is supported by Bank of Valletta (BOV).

Another highlight of the event was the sharing of the latest updates in regard to the Ġonna Dinja Waħda scheme, which saw green spaces in schools turned into wildlife magnets through support from BirdLife Malta.

It gives hope to hear and see children enjoying and learning about nature and, most importantly, taking steps to bring nature back to schools”

This year, seven Dinja Waħda Gardens have had additional support from a new maintenance team funded by the Enviroment and Resources Authority (ERA).

The awards during the ceremony were presented to schools by BirdLife Malta president Darryl Grima and Francesco Grech from the CSR team within BOV.

Charles Azzopardi, head of CSR and communication at BOV, and BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana were also in attendance.

Commenting about this year’s awards, BirdLife Malta education manager Stefania Papadopol said: “It is such an honour to work with so many dedicated schools. It gives hope to hear and see children enjoying and learning about nature and, most importantly, taking steps to bring nature back to schools. Hope is important in such times when our natural environment is facing so many challenges, yet teachers and students manage to show us that change is possible.”

BirdLife Malta would like to congratulate all the participating schools for their hard work this year and especially thanks the Dinja Waħda coordinators who ensure the running of the programme in their school and support the teachers voluntarily. The team would also like to thank BOV for its continuous support as the programme’s educational partner and official sponsor, and ERA for its commitment to Ġonna Dinja Waħda.

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