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Project Description:

The project aims to generate scientifically sound data on the abundance and distribution of Maltese orchids while training and motivating volunteers to participate as citizen scientists, by building a cohort of veteran and new citizen scientists who are enthusiastic about continuing the vital monitoring work, establishing a core team of citizen scientists, creating an action group that will develop a management strategy and publish a first paper on the topic.

Project Type: Kick Starter

Theme: Healthy Planet, Biodiversity

Mentor: Stefanie Schuerz

Wild for Orchids Project Unveils Malta’s Ecological Marvels

For the past 6 months, a team of researchers from the Biodiversity and Ecology Research Group Institute of the Institute of Earth Systems, University of Malta worked on the continuation of the Wild for Orchids project. This project, initiated in 2016 by the GreenHouse VO, aims to leverage the contribution of Citizen Science for the conservation and ecological monitoring of Malta’s wild orchids. 

Led by an impassioned team including Simone Cutajar, a UM PhD candidate, Arthur Lamoliere, and Prof. David Mifsud, the project aimed at gathering knowledge on Malta’s unique orchid species. Through various activities like data collection, orchid identification, mapping and outreach events, coupled with engaging events like BioBlitz, the project effectively implemented various aspects of Citizen Science while contributing to knowledge of local wild orchid species.

The Wild for Orchids project successfully implemented a large-scale data collection on Malta’s wild orchids, unattainable by traditional ecological surveys due to the very short flowering period of these orchids. The data collected is crucial for conservation purposes as it allows a better understanding of their current situation.

Originally initiated in 2016, the project achieved a significant milestone with the support of the IMPETUS project’s accelerator program, facilitating a seamless transition from GreenHouse VO to the University of Malta. This collaboration not only amplified the project’s impact but also secured a sustainable future for the Citizen Science campaign. The BERG team extends its heartfelt thanks to every participant, volunteer and all supporting organisations.

As the year draws to a close, the BERG team eagerly anticipates the next fieldwork season in 2024. Building on the solid foundation and network of Citizen Scientists and stakeholders, the focus now shifts to expanding the network, improving data accuracy and exploring diverse funding sources.

For more information about the project and future initiatives, please contact:

Arthur Lamoliere:

Simone Cutajar: