We had all been planning and looking forward to the open day at Is-Salina Nature Reserve for a long time; preparing lists of what we would require and holding meetings with the different departments in our organisation to make sure the day would be a success.
As the day approached, we began to set up the different zones in the visitor’s centre at the site and adding the final touches to the stands, displaying merchandise, project information, an education activity area and last but not least – setting up a membership information desk. On the morning of the big day, we all poised ourselves ready for the visitors to arrive to spread the word of BirdLife Malta’s newest addition to its nature reserves.
I was tasked with talking to people to inform on the various aspects of BirdLife Malta’s work and our role as an eNGO. Many were genuinely interested in what we had to say and so we gave as much information as possible about the vital work our supporters enable us to do, leading to us gaining some new members along the way! We handed out issues of our publications – Bird’s Eye View and the children’s magazine – il-Ħuttafa for people to enjoy whilst the children had a great time participating in all of the fun-filled activities set up by our education team!
The one thing that amazed me was the number of people who turned up for this event. True, the beautiful spring weather helped to get people out of their homes, but I never imagined we would be packed all day long. I think that the people who visited us had a different opinion of who BirdLife Malta really is when they walked into this event and left with a totally new image of our organisation. I was told several times during the day that they were not aware of the research we are involved in, including the EU funded project – LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija, our educational programme – Dinja Waħda, the events we organise, and all of the work that is carried out in the nature reserves. If nothing else, I felt satisfied to see that our work was being recognised as vital for nature and bird habitats and that maybe people would be more sensitive to their surroundings after this day.
It was a long and tiring day but so very rewarding. I am already looking forward to more outreach events in favour of birds and nature in the future.
By Janet Borg, BirdLife Malta Office Coordinator