BirdLife Malta was today invited to join other local and international institutions and NGOs from around the world to showcase the results from an independent study of its ‘Lifelong Learning through Nature’ (LLN) project at the World Symposium on Lifelong Learning and Sustainable Development in Valletta. The symposium, which is being hosted by the University of Malta between Thursday 2nd and Saturday 4th March, is focusing on strengthening capacity building in lifelong learning for sustainable development whilst sharing results of research, field projects and best practice which may be useful or implemented worldwide. Education and sustainability researchers from across the world are presenting their work at the symposium, which was inaugurated by Malta’s Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Josè Herrera yesterday evening, and continues today and tomorrow. With its contribution to the discussion “An Analysis of the Effectiveness of the Lifelong Learning through Nature Programme”, BirdLife Malta showed how through its education initiative ‘Lifelong Learning through Nature’, it is leading the way in empowering young people to live in better balance with the environment whilst connecting them with nature to instill values, knowledge and skills. BirdLife Malta’s LLN initiative is a three-year Erasmus+ funded project which aims to develop resources for environmental and sustainable development education, using knowledge and expertise based on research showing how connections with nature and outdoor learning is vital for health, wellbeing and education. Working with age groups from early years to post-secondary, LLN engages children and young people through formal and non-formal education outlining the importance of outdoor learning in combination with classroom learning. With support from the European Commission, the project is run in collaboration with Malta’s Ministry for Education and Employment together with three international partners: the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), BirdWatch Ireland and the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds (OTOP). BirdLife Malta’s presentation at the symposium on LLN was given by the NGO’s Education Officer Sarah Brady whilst Dr Mark C. Mifsud – who carried out a research study of the LLN programme on behalf of the University of Malta – explained how the project proved there is a need for more outdoor learning in Malta, and that learning outdoors is especially beneficial for children for a healthy development and an enhanced learning experience. The symposium follows the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in New York in September 2015, which led to the adoption of a new sustainable development agenda, to build on the eight Millennium Development Goals. Delegates presently in Malta are exploring and presenting case studies which illustrate how lifelong learning for sustainable development can be realised. Even though reaching a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development, and despite the fact that much progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels, there is a need for further development. Read the Maltese version of the press release here.