What is BirdLife Malta? Do you only focus on hunting and trapping? How do you help conserve nature and what projects are you involved in? These are only some of the questions people make about BirdLife Malta. There are those who know about us and about the work we do but then there are many others who may have heard about us but do not know what we stand for. There could also be others who have never heard about BirdLife Malta. Through this website and its many pages you can learn more about our eNGO and the different aspects of our work. However we have also thought of providing a list of answers to the many questions people may have about us in one place. This is the section where you may find answers to the most common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about BirdLife Malta.
- Do you only focus on hunting and trapping issues?
Not at all. Monitoring illegal hunting and trapping is only a fraction of the work we do. Even if this remains at the top of our agenda, as an eNGO our main focus is on the general environment, nature and habitat protection. Our track record during the past few years goes to prove that BirdLife Malta is today the leader in environmental protection and awareness in the Maltese Islands through its multiple initiatives and programmes. Our main three pillars of work are conservation, research, and education.
- What is conservation?
Nature conservation is the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, and biodiversity. This means that efforts and measures are studied and put in place to make sure that nature is not disturbed.
- Why are nature reserves important?
Nature reserves are areas in which biodiversity, habitat and wildlife are given priority. This means that human activity in these areas is controlled. Normally, nature reserves already hold ecological importance; it could be because of its unique habitat or because it contains important wildlife.
- What is a Natura 2000 site?
Natura 2000 is a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types that are protected in their own right. It stretches across all EU countries, both on land and at sea. The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.
- How do you help to conserve nature? Which projects are you involved in?
All our efforts are focused on conseravtion. Even our education work can be considererd a vital part of conservating nature by raising awareness and nurturing a love for nature from a young age. Research is also very crucial. In order to advocate change for the benefit of nature, we need to have solid argumnets based wth scientific facts. We also do a lot of work with helpoing law enforcemnet whilst we monitor illegalities up to the stage of prosecution. A very important element of our work is carried out through the nature reserves we manage across the Maltese Islands – Simar, Għadira, Foresta 2000 and now Salina Nature Reserve.
- What is bird ringing?
Bird ringing is a conservation tool used to study birds. Ringing birds enables us to monitor the movement of birds giving an insight into aspects of birds’ lives such as survival rate, productivity and migration patterns. The information ringing gives is vital to ensure the effective conservation of birds. Read more here.
- Are you only involved in the environment on a local level?
BirdLife Malta is part of the largest environmental partnership in the world – BirdLife International. BirdLife International is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and worldwide biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. We are most active and work closest with BirdLife Europe, which is the European and Central Asian division of BirdLife International and one of its six regional secretariats. Apart from this, we are involved in several other joint projects with other international partners which team up with us on several issues. One example is our EU-funded research projects which we carry out with different local and European partners.
- Can you give me some examples of where and how you made a difference?
There are various success stories which we are proud of at BirdLife Malta. The most recent one is the designation of the first eight marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for the Maltese Islands which were announced in 2016. This is probably one of the most notable example in which BirdLife Malta has made a tangible and lasting difference to Malta’s natural environment. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of our main research project focusing on the breeding seabirds of Malta. Through our scientific work of monitoring species populations and creating protected areas, we are ensuring we take the right action to save Mediterranean bird populations.
There are also many other occasions where we have proven that we are leaders in environmental conservation. With our expertise in land management and habitat transformation, BirdLife Malta was entrusted with the latest addition to our land management projects by the Government last year – Salina. BirdLife Malta will work to transform the salt pans into another nature reserve – a vital habitat for birds.
BirdLife Malta also spearheads environmental education in Malta. Through several initiatives, we strive to connect children, youths and adults with nature to generate an understanding and respect for nature which ultimately change behaviours towards more sustainable lifestyles.
- What is Dinja Waħda?
Dinja Waħda is BirdLife Malta’s flagship education programme and involves working in schools in collaboration with the Ministry for Education and Employment. The programme consists of an action guide of lesson plans and resources related to the curriculum in which teachers are trained and supported to use during their classes. These lesson plans and resources all relate to nature with a particular focus on the Maltese environment and wildlife. The programme has become Malta’s largest environmental education initiative spanning across formal education, from kinder through primary and secondary school and up to higher education institutions connecting classroom learning with outdoor education through nature. Over 80% of primary state, church and independent schools take part in Dinja Waħda and a growing number of secondary schools are carrying out Dinja Waħda cross-curricular projects.
- Why is education so important for an environmental NGO?
One of the key aims of BirdLife Malta is to protect and conserve wild birds and their habitats in the Maltese Islands. To reach our aim education is vital. This is so we can share our message and educate children, youths and adults on how they can best protect the environment. Our experiential learning programmes take participants through developing a connection to nature, learning about nature to taking action to protect it. If we do not care about the environment then we will not learn how to protect it. This is why education is a vital component for an environmental NGO. To find out more about our educational programmes please go here.
- How can caring about our environment benefit you?
Research shows that regular, sustained contact with nature can improve health and wellbeing. In particular, nature can reduce stress, improve physical and mental health and even improve academic attainment. This is a win-win situation. Not only does caring about the environment lead to environmentally friendly behaviours, it also can improve your quality of life.
- How is BirdLife Malta financed?
BirdLife Malta does not receive any unrestricted funding from the Government or Maltese state and is entirely reliant on the fund generated from memberships and the generous donations we receive from our supporters. BirdLife Malta also carries out valuable research project which are also only possible through the EU funding and the financial support of our partners.
- Can I participate in the work you do?
Yes. Like any other voluntary organisation we depend on the public’s support and on volunteers to carry out our work and mission. We have volunteers working at our events, at our nature reserves and also serving as ambassadors to promote the work we do. Our events are varied, and the role would be too – you might be playing games or doing crafts with children, helping on a stall at a fair or assisting a group on a guided walk. Other tasks might involve selling merchandise and handling money, and setting up/ taking down displays. This is a flexible role, and you can choose which events you want to support. Volunteering is a great way to help nature and wildlife, while meeting like-minded people and having some fun! If you are interested, please email us on email@example.com.
- How can I help BirdLife Malta?
Apart from volunteering, you can help us by becoming a member to enable us to continue our vital work we do. We have several membership options which are tailor-made for different categories and ages. You can join BirdLife Malta online by going to the membership section of our website and choosing the relevant membership package or by filling in a membership form at one of our nature reserves (Simar, Għadira and Salina). The types of membership we offer cater for adults, children and families. We also have a specific category dedicated to overseas membership. You can also help BirdLife Malta by sponsoring a project or donating. Donations can be made here.
- What are the benefits of becoming a member?
Being a BirdLife Malta member entitles you to certain privileges offered exclusively to our members. When joining BirdLife Malta through a children’s membership, every child automatically becomes a member of Klabb Ħuttaf – the largest junior club in Malta. Klabb Ħuttaf members receive their own magazine (Il-Ħuttafa) every two months, which is filled with nature stories, fun facts and activities to get them excited about wildlife. Adult members also receive a quarterly magazine – which is sent out by mail or electronically depending on your personal preference as well as our monthly e-newsletter. Members also benefit from special offers on our merchandise and booking priority for our events. We hope that by joining us you feel the pride and enthusiasm of helping to improve Malta’s natural environment.
- What is the way forward for BirdLife Malta?
The challenges that habitats and wildlife are never ending. BirdLife Malta is committed to take on those challenges by mitigating or eliminating their effects. We will continue to give reasearch and education the importance they desrve within our operations, while pushing our conservation efforts to the maximum. Engagement will remain in our strategy and we hope that you will join us to make our goals achievable.