The Sima Seed Project 2023/24
SiMaSeed PLUS is an EU-funded project which aims to study and safeguard indigenous biodiversity, and promote its use within local contexts. The Ministry for Gozo issued a call for application from Administrations of Schools situated in Gozo that were interested in developing small demonstration garden units visible from public areas that will serve as a demonstration and educational facilities for both the school population and the general public. The purpose of these areas is to showcase the use of local native biodiversity for landscaping and embellishment purposes and they are to include information material explaining the benefits of using local species in landscaping, decoration and gardens, especially with regard to environmental benefits, resources and maintenance. In essence this initiative is intended to persuade the community and also business players that local biodiversity (more commonly regarded as weeds), may become important players in the landscaping and embellishing activity of the future, and also offering more sustainable options (in terms of watering needs, chemical replenishment, pest control and other issues). The school community is expected to be actively involved in the maintenance of these areas. Our school applied and was accepted to participate in this project. The site chosen is accessible to the students as it is within the school grounds fronting the busy Palm Street in Victoria, and it is in clear view of the public walking up or down Palm Street. At the same time, it is protected by fencing from theft and vandalism. Since there is no soil in that area, we will install large planters to grow the different seeds and plants. We will also invest in an irrigation system. The students will take care of them and maintain them regularly. Since the site is within the school precincts, it will be safe and comfortable for the school community to interact with it and hold activity within it. There is a tap close by so irrigation would not be a problem at all. At present there are some plants which will be moved to one side so that there will be a large area to grow these indigenous plants. Interpretation panels will be affixed to the railing, thus being very accessible to the public. After the closure of the project the students will continue to care for the plants, just as they do with other plants in another part of the school. Apart from serving as a demonstration garden, it will also become a valuable asset for the school’s hands-on environmental programmes such as EkoSkola and LEAF. Our students show great interest and enthusiasm in caring for the environment, and have carried out their duties faithfully in past projects. The school’s handyman also gives them a hand when needed, and during the holidays he will be at hand to water the plants, when the children are unable to come over themselves. With respect to the long-term sustainability of the investment, it is to be noted that the school has been a regular participant in national and international environmental programmes and initiatives for decades, and is a regular frontrunner in this type of activity. The facility will become another component of this activity and students will be regularly involved in its maintenance and upkeep. Moreover, it will serve as another source of inspiration for students’ environmental activity.