On 5 May, students and educators from Stella Maris College, Sliema and St. Joseph Seniors School, Gzira, met with the Mayor of Gzira (Dr. Conrad Borg Manchè), the Sliema Mayor (John Pillow), and Fabian Borg from the Research and Innovation Unit (RIU).
The students shared their research from the GLOBE Student Investigation and presented projects related to tree inventories. In his interactive presentation, Borg contrasted satellite photos and the students' data to discuss Malta's Urban Heat Island.
The students also explored justice and injustice issues arising from the built environment and proposed related actions which can be implemented to bring about change within the schools and local community, thus taking GLOBE investigations beyond data collection. The students -- together with the mayors -- delved deeper into the issue of urban heating and how cities and their communities can be more sustainable.
Anthony Chircop, the Eastern Regional Council President, and Elizabeth Canellakis (US Embassy in Malta) also attended the meeting. Lenka Kleger (GLOBE Europe and Eurasia Regional Office) and Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, lead scientist for the GLOBE UHIE Campaign, participated virtually in the session.
The Eastern Regional Council’s collaboration with the GLOBE Student Investigations Program provided students with a positive and entertaining learning experience about the effects of the Urban Heat Island on the Maltese Islands. Chircop pledged the Regional Council's assistance to ensure the project's success by empowering students to gain valuable knowledge in environmental studies, as these are vital for understanding and hopefully correcting the damage caused in the past by lack of awareness. Participants learned to work towards applying sustainable policies and practices for the benefit of present and future generations of people who call planet Earth their home.
Elizabeth Canellakis, Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Valletta, Malta expressed her feelings on the project. “I was greatly honored to be part of this collaborative effort between GLOBE Malta, Xrobb L-Għaġin, and the Eastern Regional Council. It is outstanding that GLOBE brings together Maltese communities to work on very important issues that contribute to scientific research and environmental stewardship.”
The meeting was the outcome of a year's worth of planning and negotiations between: GLOBE Malta, represented by Ramona Mercieca; and the Xrobb l-Ghagin Outdoor ESD Program, represented by Esther Sammut Carbone and Andrea Borg Brincat, Environmental Manager at the Eastern Regional Council. Mercieca and Sammut Carbone believe that this event, which connected GLOBE students with their local governments, served as the catalyst for an empowerment process that will continue.
This GLOBE Star Story was contributed by Ramona Mercieca, GLOBE Deputy Coordinator for Malta; and Esther Sammut Carbone, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) teacher at Xrobb l-Għaġin Nature Park and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Malta. All images are courtesy of Ramona Mercieca.