Primary schools celebrate their success in connecting children with nature

November 6, 2018 2:52 pm

A total of 91 primary schools across Malta and Gozo today celebrated their outstanding achievements in connecting children with nature through BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda schools programme.

The Dinja Waħda Primary 2017-18 awards ceremony took place at the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta

BirdLife Malta Education Manager Sarah Brady. (All photos by Eleni Karatzia and Kinga Kupska)

Following on from the successful Secondary Awards a couple of weeks ago, the primary schools’ accomplishments for the last scholastic year were recognised at the Dinja Waħda Primary awards ceremony 2017-18.

The event was held at the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta this morning hosted by the President of Malta H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca who – we are happy to announce, has this year become the patron of BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda programme.

60 schools received gold awards, two schools received silver awards, eight schools were awarded with bronze awards and 21 schools with certificates. 38 schools retained the blue banner after being awarded gold and six schools received a new blue banner, an award for schools who maintain the gold award three years in a row.

The President of Malta H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

The awards were distributed to schools by President Coleiro Preca who was joined by BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana, BirdLife Malta Education Manager Sarah Brady and Charles Azzopardi, Executive PR & Marketing at Bank of Valletta. Representatives from all the participating schools including students, teachers and headteachers together with other education officials were also present.

In her opening speech, President Coleiro Preca commended the Dinja Waħda programme and the team for their contribution to implement the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goals 14 and 15, which target life below water and life on land respectively.

The Throne Room at the Valletta Presidential Palace hosted the event

Apart from celebrating the success of schools involvement during the last scholastic year, today’s ceremony also marked the launch of a new year (2018-19) of engagement in the initiative.

BirdLife Malta’s Dinja Waħda initiative forms part of the NGO’s commitment to protect wildlife and its habitats through outdoor activities for school children both in school grounds and through educational visits to Malta’s nature reserves to help them connect with nature. The programme is run in collaboration with the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education and is supported by Bank of Valletta. It has been running for more than 20 years.

91 primary schools were awarded during the 2017-18 awards ceremony

One of the highlights of this year’s Dinja Waħda Primary prize-giving ceremony was the presentation of BirdLife Malta’s  Erasmus+ project One World Learning (OWL) which will shape the future of the Dinja Waħda programme.

Through this new environmental education programme, which includes six international partners, we shall be disseminating research which will be carried out about Maltese children’s connectedness with nature and inform the schools on how the Dinja Waħda programme will be evolving. The final outcome will also be shared with all European member states through the BirdLife international partnership.

BirdLife Malta would like to extend its congratulations to all the participating schools for their hard work this year as well as give a special thanks to the Dinja Waħda coordinators who ensure the running of the programme in their school and support the teachers voluntarily.  Without these coordinators, children would not be able to develop the skills, knowledge and values to protect the environment gained through participation in the Dinja Waħda programme.

We would also like to thank Bank of Valletta for their support as the programme’s educational partners and the Office of the President of Malta for offering to host this important ceremony for the first time at the Presidential Palace.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.