[WATCH] When Jose Herrera bought a field to teach his children what a butterfly is

On Arbor Day the Environment Minister joined Nature Trust volunteers for tree-planting at Wied Għollieqa valley

Students got some hands-on experience at Wied Għollieqa to mark Arbor Day
Students got some hands-on experience at Wied Għollieqa to mark Arbor Day
Jose Herrera says too many children have no contact with nature

Jose Herrera has praised initiatives by volunteer groups like Nature Trust to encourage students to plant trees at a time when many children are bereft of direct contact with nature.

The Environment Minister was present in Wied Għollieqa, a valley between the University of Malta and Kappara, for a tree-planting ceremony to mark Arbor Day.

Herrera said his own children had grown up in a flat in Sliema with no contact with nature. "At one point I bought a field in Lija so that they could at least know what a butterfly is," Herrera said, adding too many children were cut off from nature.

Around 70 students participating in the LEAF programme planted 40 indigenous trees and shrubs in the valley, which is a special area of conservation.

The second round of the Tree Your Town scheme was also launched, whereby a number of schools will be able to benefit from funds to embellish their village cores with indigenous trees. Last year, 14 schools benefitted from the scheme, planting around 600 trees and shrubs.

The scheme is run jointly between Nature Trust, through its LEAF programme and the Environment Ministry.

Nature Trust President Vince Attard called on the authorities to help NGOs managing ecological sites to eradicate alien species.

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