The West End is a wildlife garden on the west side of St Theresa Secondary School, Mrieħel. It was started in 2003 as part of the schools’ Dinja Waħda programme, with the support of BirdLife Malta. The aim was to transform a derelict area on the west side of the school grounds into a wildlife sanctuary, increasing biodiversity in urban areas and bringing students closer to nature.
The garden was created in a number of phases, starting with the laying of a gravel footpath followed by the creation of a vegetation plan for the planting of native trees and shrubs such as Araar, Carob, Black Mulberry and Judas trees, Myrtle, Lentisk, Golden Samphire and Rock Rose shrubs, among a long list of others.
Subsequent phases saw the installation of a table for fieldwork and digging of a freshwater pond together with the ongoing planting of shrubs.
In 2011, landscaped drystone enclaves were created to accommodate a class for a reading session or lesson in a peaceful and natural setting. The structures are non-intrusive, honouring the project’s aim of harmonising nature with human needs.
As the West End matures, more and more food webs establish themselves: a crab spider catches a bee that has just landed on a crown daisy while the Sardinian warbler and robin – both insect-eaters – eye them greedily. The Spanish sparrow keeps a lookout for scraps the children leave.
The educational opportunities for the West End are numerous. Over the years, teachers have lead a range of activities in the garden: Non-formal break clubs, time-tabled activity lessons, outdoor English, Maltese and Social Studies lessons, Science fieldwork and vulnerable youth projects. The mature trees we see today were all planted by students and maintenance of the area is done by volunteers and teachers with students during break-time.
For further information on the BirdLife Malta organisation, kindly click on the image below:
For further information on the educational program Dinja Waħda offered by BirdLife Malta, kindly click on the image below: