The Malta Independent 18 May 2022, Wednesday

Appreciation: Guido Lanfranco

Sunday, 19 September 2021, 10:00 Last update: about 9 months ago

18 October 1930 – 8 September 2021

Guido Lanfranco is in the heart of all Maltese and Gozitans who have a love for their country, a love for the local biodiversity and an interest in all that is Maltese. A man who can never be forgotten, even by those who do not cherish the love he had for nature and the well-being of these islands.

Despite difficult times in his younger days, Guido had the determination and the strong will to get in touch with the richness of the natural wonders of these islands. Not only so but, he used such knowledge to teach and create a public awareness of such a rich heritage.

Almost single-handedly he embarked on a mission to show how rich our natural heritage is. He also underlined the responsibility we have to protect, conserve and manage it. Despite the insular perception dictating that what does not contribute to economic yields is of no importance; despite the fact that what is found of interest and of beauty has to be picked up, collected or shot to be carried home and despite the fact that such negative impacts to our natural heritage are politically capitalised on, Guido never looked back from his ideal and with conviction and determination moved on, for the good of the country.

His efforts, starting from a very young age towards the importance of biodiversity from an ecological, economical, social and spiritual aspects, without doubt show that he was already practising the principles embraced in Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Sí more than 50 years before it was conceived.

But this was not enough for Guido in his determination to work for the benefit of the people of the Maltese islands. In 1962 he founded the Natural History Society of Malta, today known as Nature Trust. In the same year he co-founded the Malta Ornithological Society, today known as BirdLife Malta. He served as president for both societies for a number of years. He was also president of the International Council for Bird Preservation - Malta.

Following his research and accumulation of knowledge on the flora and fauna, folklore and geology of the Maltese islands, Guido wrote a number of scientific publications, in popular language. Besides serving as a stepping stone for further research, his publications are also a mine of information to all those who want to enhance their knowledge and get acquainted with our natural heritage and our responsibility for its conservation.

Borrowing a leaf from Orpheus in the underworld, Guido's wife Salvina wrote: "He is gone and gone forever... all our love alas is gone... rest in peace, from all of us."

Yes, physically Guido is no longer with us, but his research, his teachings, his love and passion for what is Maltese, his vision will never be forgotten. No, they can never be forgotten. His teachings will remain with us forever. We are indebted to him for leading the way towards the appreciation and the need for conservation of flora and fauna, and for what is Maltese. He has shown one and all the responsibility we bear for the natural wonders we have been entrusted with by future generations.

No bronze medal can fully show our indebtedness. Full gratitude to Guido will be shown when we put in practice what he has taught us. Only when we shoulder such responsibility towards biodiversity can we show our gratitude to Guido for his lifelong dedication and efforts.

Thank you Guido. Others you have enlightened will, without doubt, carry on with the noble aims you have instilled in them. Rest in peace.

Alfred E. Baldacchino

[email protected]

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