The PANACEA environmental education centre at Dwejra was inaugurated on 05.03.2013
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The PANACEA environmental education centre at Dwejra was inaugurated last Tuesday (5th March) by the Hon. Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. This is the first such centre exclusively dedicated to marine biodiversity on our islands and includes innovative didactic resources such as two types of interactive interpretation panels, an audio-visual panel which features a quiz on marine biodiversity for kids, two underwater documentaries and resin replicas and models of a large number of underwater landscapes and marine species. In addition, facilities, complete with visual projection, exist within the centre for the hosting of small groups of students or stakeholders for talks on issues related to the marine environment. Three other such PANACEA centres should be opened in Sicily in the coming months.

These Centres can be considered as portals of edutainment, in which visitors are regaled with a didactic experience through a kaleidoscopic overview of the marine life and habitats included in the six Marine Protected Areas included in the PANACEA project (Dwejra, Rdum Majjiesa, Capo Gallo, Isole Pelagie, Plemmirio and Ustica). Marine scientific issues are dealt with in layman’s terms within such a centre so that even visitors with little or no scientific background can comprehend the complexity of marine environments, their links with terrestrial ecosystems and the role of protected areas.

The main goal of the PANACEA (Promotion of Marine Protected Areas through Environmental Education Centres) Project, part-financed by the European Union under the Operational Programme I Italia-Malta 2007-2013 programme, is to promote biodiversity and the marine assets of four Sicilian and two Maltese (Dwejra and Rdum Majjiesa) Marine Protected Areas. The two Maltese partners participating in the project are the University of Malta (IOI-MOC) and the San Lawrenz local council. In particular, this Project wants to prompt a code of best practice through the institution of Environmental Educational Centres in four of these Protected Areas. Entrance to the Dwejra environmental education centre will be free till the end of the project’s lifetime and will be against a small/nominal entrance fee to cover the centre’s running costs. Any queries about group and school visits and opening hours of the centre should be addressed to the San Lawrenz local council ( and 21563556).

In this way, PANACEA Project will result, among different stakeholders (including students, divers, fishermen, boat owners, general public), in a greater appreciation of the value of and scope behind the six PANACEA Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time, the PANACEA project will promote the continue monitoring of the same protected areas.

Dr. Alan Deidun, Senior Lecturer at the IOI-MOC, is Project Manager for the PANACEA project at the University of Malta. Further information regarding this project can be gleaned from the project website.