The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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Connect with nature: Embrace the role of a Nature Guardian with BirdLife Malta this spring

Tuesday, 13 February 2024, 13:03 Last update: about 3 months ago

Mark Gauci

Over the past weeks BirdLife Malta's third Nature Guardians course came to an end with a graduation ceremony held after the 12th and final session.

The question I always look forward to is when the children are asked which parts of the course they enjoyed more. You can notice the excitement as they scramble through their memories and recollections of all the outdoor activities organized, and invariably all these activities are somehow mentioned. This gives me such a profound satisfaction that the course was indeed a success, enabling us to reach our goals of sensibilizing and educating more these children towards nature, all whilst having fun in a safe environment outdoors.

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This is why, despite needing a small break from the positive energy these children transmitted for 12 consecutive weeks in autumn 2023, we are already gearing up for our fourth Nature Guardians Warden for a Day course this spring, aimed at children aged 7 to 11 years. This course will start in early March and run for 12 consecutive Saturday mornings, with a single break for the Easter weekend.

The course is tailored in such a way that the group will get to enjoy visiting and working in four different sites, namely Għadira, Simar, Foresta 2000 and Salina Nature Reserves. Each session focuses on a particular species of local flora and fauna which we learn more about. Not only is the course about learning, but it is mostly about getting one's hands dirty. In fact, we sow seeds, plant trees, build insect hotels, create hedgehog boxes, sample water, collect salt, and we learn how to use a telescope and microscope. All this whilst making new friends and enjoying the wonderful colours our spring can offer.

Each course accommodates a small group of children, capped at a maximum of 12, ensuring individual attention. Our experienced leaders will make sure that the dynamics of the group are always positive, and a healthy environment is fostered. Teamwork is dreamwork and our experience with such courses shows that the individuals soon become friends forming a close-knit team. We emphasize the importance of this with one of the sessions specifically planned about ants, who are known for their teamwork efforts.

For simplicity sake, the meeting point is always Salina Nature Reserve. Armed with an informative booklet outlining the upcoming sessions, work gloves, and Nature Guardian-branded T-shirts, caps or hoodies, the children get hands-on experience in managing a nature reserve. Birdwatching and exploring the fascinating migration patterns of birds are also integral parts of the agenda.

Upon completion of the course, a graduation ceremony is organized, where children are presented with certificates, officially declaring them as graduated Nature Guardians. However, the true impact lies not in the certificate but in the invaluable experience the children gain through their interaction with nature - a known contributor to their well-being, offering a respite from the stresses of traffic, schoolwork, computers, and social media.

If you're interested in applying for the Nature Guardians spring 2024 course, you can do so through this link: bit.ly/NatureGuardiansSpring2024.

For additional program details, including a session calendar and content overview, visit https://birdlifemalta.org/2024/01/become-a-nature-guardian-spring-2024. Also, don't miss the photo library and different videos we have, showing what true fun this course is.

For any inquiries, feel free to email us at [email protected].

We strongly encourage you to seize this opportunity and apply for the course, enabling your children to become more conscious and enthusiastic about protecting our natural environment, a key element in securing their future!

Event website: https://birdlifemalta.org/2024/01/become-a-nature-guardian-spring-2024/

FB page for event: https://fb.me/e/9mP9XNTlo

 

Mark Gauci is BirdLife Malta's Head of Land Management

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