The President of Nature Trust – FEE Malta, Vincent Attard, highlights the many reasons to get involved with this wonderful NGO in Gozo.
Nature Trust Malta is one of the oldest and largest environmental NGOs in Malta and now has a Gozo section.
Founded nearly fifty years ago by Mr. Guido Lanfranco, Nature Trust Malta has gone through several names and organisational changes including a merger in 1999. Over the years NTM has worked and lobbied hard for environmental change, they are focused on bringing together people with a passion for nature and the natural environment and strongly believe that education is the best tool to create awareness on nature conservation. They are an extremely active organisation in the fields of;
- Education for Sustainable Development.
- Management and conservation of ecologically important sites in the Maltese islands.
- Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.
- Raising awareness on environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
- Legal protection for various plants and animals in the Maltese Islands, helping save some of the local endemic species from extinction.
- Afforestation, habitat conservation, and the creation of marine protected areas.
On the International front, NTM is today the privileged partner of the WWF and contributes to WWF projects in the Mediterranean and European region with regards to data compilation and conservation habitat project. They are also active on the Mediterranean Information Office, a network made up of various Mediterranean NGOs all working towards sustainable development, environmental conservation and culture.
In 2002, NTM became the Malta National Coordinator of the Foundation for Environmental Education, an International organisation working on Education for Sustainable Development across the world. FEE is today recognised by the UN as the biggest network working internationally on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) involving over 19.5 million students worldwide.
One of the most successful local programmes is EkoSkola Malta. This programme has grown over the years and today involves over 85% of the entire student population on the Maltese Islands. Other programmes include the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE), Learning About Forests (LEAF), Blue Flag for beaches (BF) , and Green key for sustainable Hotels. All programmes are run locally by NTM.
NTM today manages various sites such as the Wied Għollieqa Nature Reserve, Pembroke Natura 2000 site, il-Magħluq wetland Natura 2000 site, Il-Ballut Wetland Natura 2000 Site, Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park and il-Majistral National Park managed jointly with other NGOs. All sites are open to the general public to enjoy and ongoing habitat conservation works are in progress
To further support its wildlife rescue and rehabilitation operation, a two million euros ERDF funded project started in 2019 with the support of the Ministry for the Environment, for the setting up of the Wildlife Rehab centre at Xrobb l-Għaġin. This centre will cater for all injured wildlife except avifauna. It will include injured marine turtles, cetaceans, local reptiles and mammals etc.
NTM in GOZO
During June 2020, NTM launched its Gozo Section. This was due to a number of volunteers being active in Gozo and projects the organisation had been carrying out on the sister island. The Section coordinators are Marvic Refalo and Ramona Mercieca. One of the very first areas in which the Gozo section has already started operating is the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Section. Volunteers in this Unit fall under two groups – The rescue Group and the Rehab Group.
Want to BECOME A ntm VOLUNTEER ON GOZO?
Following training, new volunteers are permitted to collect injured wildlife from calls that are received from the relevant authorities and members of the public. Rescues cover injured hedgehogs, local snakes, bats, chameleons, marine turtles etc. Calls come in on the NTM Emergency Wildlife Rescue Line 9999 9505. Once the animal is collected and assessed, it is decided if to release immediately if no injuries are visible, whether to take to the vet or if it needs a few days rehab before releasing back into the wild. So far the highest number of calls involved injured hedgehogs and bats. NTM is also installing a number of hedgehog caution signs in Gozo thanks to funding support from the Environment Resource Authority.
Another event which involved the Wildlife Rehab Gozo Section together with many other Gozo volunteers was the Ramla turtle nest. This year the first verified nest was laid at Ramla Bay. With Ramla offering some challenges to the success of the hatching, one of which is the ghost crabs that is a predator of hatched turtles, over 100 volunteers took part in the turtle nest monitoring. Temperature controls and humidity data was collected. Thanks to the dedication of these volunteers the hatching was successful and a good number of baby turtles made it safely to sea.
further gozo projects
NTM provided information from the Dwejra Tower on the Biodiversity of the Dwejra Natura 2000 site to visitors. Through their full time staff Mario Gauci and the support of the NGO Din l-Art Ħelwa that manages the tower, they had the opportunity to give visitors more information on this beautiful ecological site.
The organisation is also running Education for Sustainable Development programmes in Gozo. These include the International programmes of Eco Schools, Young Reporters for the Environment and Learning About Forests. Through such programmes of which the majority of schools in Gozo are participating, students have the ability to work on issues such as waste separation, well being, healthy eating, climate change, afforestation small projects, marine litter, biodiversity, circular economy and many more.
Nature Trust – FEE Malta is working in close collaboration with the Ministry for Gozo, the Tourism Authority, Queen Mary University, State and Church schools in Gozo and many more.
For more information and to join the NTM volunteer programme email: email@example.com or call (+356) 21313150