One can describe the Maltese Islands, without any exaggeration, as botanical paradise. Around one thousand different plan species have been identified in Malta and Gozo, eight hundred of them being indigenous; these in fac occur naturally and have not been introduced from other countries. The Islands host some twenty endemic species and sub-species of plants, that are not to be found growing naturally anywhere else in the world. This national heritage must be cherished and protected. Some species have already become extinct in recent years, mainly as a result of human activity, while others real are now classified as rare or endangered. We can take heart from the fact that awareness of the importance of protecting the environment is growing apace and real efforts are being made to educate children in the respect. If this book serves to enhance public awareness of the importance of protecting our wealth of flora the authors will have sufficient reason to feel that they have achieved their aim.
Guido Bonett was born in Birkina in 1956. His interest in natural history was given a boost when as a child he attended a British Forces school in Germany, and participated in various projects that dealt with the conservation of wildlife, such as building artificial ponds to help endangered newts and other aquatic life in the woods surrounding the school. When back in Malta his enthousiasm led him to meet and befriend the late Anthony Valletta, a well known entomologist, who further encouraged the study of local wildlife, especially insects. In the seventies he was for many years an active committee member of the Malta Ornithological Society, holding the post of public relations officer. His involvement in the local conservation scene saw him represent the MOS in Strasbourg at a Council of Europe conference on the conservation of birds and other wildlife in Europe. His other interest in photogrqphy, and has managed to combine his two passions to produce photographic records of wildlife, both in Malta and abroad. With the recent advent of digital cameras his interest in nature photography was enhanced, and lately he was the winner of various competitions, including the “O&V Photographic Portfolio Competition 2004”, the JPB Photographic Services Nature Competition 2004, The Malta Photographic Society Annual Club Competition 2003/04 “Canon Trophy” and the “Malta Aquarist Society Award”. He is married to Jane and has two children Matthew and Sarah.
Joe attard was born in Birkirkara in 1956. In his youth he was extensively involved in various voluntary organizations, in particular the youth section of Din l-Art elwa and the Civic Committee of the Teens and Twenties Talent Trust (4T’s). It was during this period that his interest in Maltese countryside took root, an interest that with the passage of time grew into a strongly felt need to record for posterity the richness of the Maltese flora and fauna. However, desides recording what is still to be found around us, Joe is also a strong believer in giving nature a helpind hand. He has actively engaged himself in afforestration projects and was one of the pioneers in the tree planting activities in such localities such as L-ahrax and Mizieb. Joe has also steeped himself in Maltese folklore and traditions, especially those pertaining to fishing and agriculture. Joe is married to Annette and has four children, Nicky, Karl, Stuart and John.