Nature Trust Malta

credit: Chris Goode

NATURE TRUST (MALTA) – NTM is a non-profit non-governmental environmental organisation working in the Maltese Islands. It is also a privileged partner of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). EU Member States are currently debating a package of draft Waste Directives being proposed by the European Commission. The legislative proposals include setting common EU targets for recycling waste by 2030. These would be set at 65 percent for municipal waste and 75 percent for packaging waste.

Nature Trust (Malta) is one of the oldest and largest environmental NGOs in Malta dealing with the natural environment of the Maltese Islands. Over the years it has worked and lobbied hard to get legal protection for various plants and animals , helping to save some of the local endemic species from extinction. Today the Trust is very active in environmental education as it strongly believes that education is the best tool to raise awareness about nature conservation. The organisation is also carrying out many environmental projects in Malta in connection with afforestation, habitat conservation, wild animal rehabilitation and the creation of marine protected areas.

 

credit: Kelsey Renaud

 

Tell us a bit more about the main activities, campaigns and/or projects you are working on at the moment?

NTM runs three nature parks, Wied Għollieqa (which is located in a valley and is also part of the campus grounds of the University of Malta), Xrobb l-Għaġin (which is a park in the south of Malta incorporating all three main types of local habitats including scrublands and woodland, and Pembroke Park which is a coastal park of environmental and cultural heritage interest. NTM is also part of the Foundation for Environmental Education International and helps run all five of the foundation’s programmes including Eco Schools and the beach certification programme Blue Flag. Furthermore, it is currently undertaking a major project to set up a rehabilitation centre for injured wildlife at the Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park which will contain an education section and possibly also host wildlife-handling and rehab courses in the future.

What does EEB membership mean to your organisation? How does it help you in your daily work and to bring about the changes you would like to see in Europe and beyond?

The EEB is NTM’s link to Europe, our channel through which we may express our views and be confident that they will reach the highest levels of the EU administration.  Being a small organisation, NTM on its own would never be able to make an effective impact on international policy.  We have to focus our very limited resources on the national level.  So it is great for us to not only know that we have support where it matters most, but that we can also be regularly updated about events and policy decisions taking place in Europe.

We also value our EEB membership because it gives us the chance to network with other member organisations and take part in projects together.

Do you have a recent success story that you would like to share with us?

The highlight of this year for us has definitely been the successful hatching of 71 loggerhead turtles on a public beach.  Not only was this a momentous event for us, since the last recorded nesting in Malta dates back to the 1960s, but also a big challenge to manage. Malta is a very densely populated island and this mama turtle chose what is possibly one of the two most crowded beaches on the islands to lay its eggs.  Hence, we had to set up a round-the-clock watch with volunteers on a shift basis to make sure that the eggs were not disturbed in any way or, worse, stolen or destroyed by vandals.  A buffer zone with sandbags was set up around the nest to protect the eggs against sea surges. Thank goodness we put this in place as the islands experienced a big storm shortly before the turtles were due to hatch which would have completely swamped the nest and destroyed all the embryos.  But all is well that ends well and we hope that we will still be around to greet some of those turtles when they reach maturity and come back to their birthplace to continue the cycle of life!

 

credit: Chris Goode