Have you ever walked out in the countryside and felt at peace with yourself and enjoyed the nature around you? This feeling describes you connecting with nature. This feeling, if repeated often enough and for a long enough time, can have the power to positively influence your behaviour towards the environment and improve your mental, emotional, and physical health.
By continually undertaking and using the latest research to understand, build and improve the ways in which we can connect with nature and harbour its lasting benefits, we can establish best practices in the field of environmental education.
BirdLife Malta believes in providing effective and engaging provision to schools and communities in order to help connect people with nature in a meaningful and lasting way.
We think the best way to develop, improve and create new activities and programmes is through sharing proven best practice with other organisations. This means using methods that have been tried and tested, but more importantly backed by research.
We know this research-based approach works as we have had several successes in the past including with the Lifelong Learning through Nature project. Aimed at connecting 5-21 year olds to nature through formal, non-formal and vocational education and showing the benefits of connecting with nature, the project used a thorough analysis that determined the positive effect on students and teachers, specifically with regard to their environmental knowledge and attitudes. This valuable evidence allowed us to identify key ways to improve the programme to enhance its effectiveness and the benefits for future participants.
We are now very excited to be taking this approach one step further with our partnership with Blata I-Bajda School, delivering a 10 week pilot project aimed at connecting students with nature through hands-on practical outdoor environmental education. Over the past weeks, we have been working with a group of students through practical outdoor learning to develop an interest and appreciation for the natural world and the amazing green spaces they have access to at school which they have created through Ġonna Dinja Waħda. The students have shown such dedication and enthusiasm for all the activities and learning that have taken place!
We’re looking forward to developing this project further to support youths in gaining high-quality key skills and competences, helping them reach their full potential, support them in developing skills in entrepreneurship and communication, inspire them to become active citizens, to understand the value of diversity and raise their awareness, and to foster an appreciation and understanding of environmental issues.
If you want to find out more about PINE and our other environmental education work, visit our webpage here!
Stay tuned for more updates from our education team!
By Sadie Gorvett, BirdLife Malta Education Assistant