LEAF Malta commemorated this year's celebration of Malta's Arbor Day with the launch of a new project grant scheme that aims to a collaboration between LEAF schools and their community
The Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change in collaboration with Nature Trust-FEE Malta through its international Learning about Forests (LEAF) programme launched the School-Community Link Project Grant Scheme Tree Your Town on January 15, 2018.
The ceremony took place at Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park and Sustainable Development Centre were a number of indigenous trees were also planted to commemorate the occasion.
During the months leading to this day, personnel from the PARKs Directorate were very busy working on a special ramp for mobility-impaired persons to be able to access the picnic area at the park. The ramp was officially inaugurated also on January 15 in the presence of Hon. Jose’ Herrera – Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change.
In a bid to further assist schools and the general public gain more insight on the importance of trees, Nature Trust–FEE Malta in collaboration with the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and BOV launched the book Trees and Shrubs of the Maltese Islands.
"At BOV, we have collaborated on various initiatives with Nature Trust. All projects had the aim of conserving Malta's indigenous flora and fauna", said Charles Azzopardi, Executive PR & Marketing at Bank of Valletta. Mr Azzopardi explained that through its extensive Community Relations Programme, the Bank invests heavily in the local community, including in the green stakeholder, to which specific reference is made in the Bank's mission statement. Referring specifically to the publication, he thanked Nature Trust and Dr Eman J Calleja for their efforts saying, "This publication has a critical role to play in cultivating an environmental consciousness among the general public, and therefore is an important contribution both from an educational as well as environmental perspective." The book is authored by Dr Eman Calleja and a copy of each book was also distributed to each participating school as a reference guide for their Tree Your Town scheme projects.
During this school year, fourteen LEAF schools will benefit from the scheme. The scheme seeks, on the one hand, to initiate a working collaborative relationship between schools participating in the LEAF programme, their Local Council and other major stakeholders in the school community. The respective parties will work together to identify a derelict site within the confines of the locality and with the assistance of experts devise and implement a water efficient soft landscaping project.
On the other, its aim is also to foster love and respect for trees irrespective of the place they occur. It is intended to be a journey that sensitizes the community to appreciate the environmental, the economic and the socio-cultural benefits of trees.