River Kbir: The Hidden Wonder. 2005. Veritas Press, Zabbar, Malta, 142 pp. ISBN 99932-0-295-9.
S.M. Haslam, M.A., Sc.D., Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, England; Institute of Agriculture, University of Malta
J. Borg, Ph.D.(Hon.), Dip. Hort (Am), C.D.H.; Malta Tourism Authority; Institute of Architecture and Landscape Planning, University of Malta
J.M. Psaila; St Julians
RIVER KBIR describes the largest of the Maltese rivers, one which has an extraordinary number of features of interest. There are also articles on special subjects, a clear route guide to finding the places (many of which are off the well-known roads), and activities. The activities are intended more for adults, students, other scientists and upper secondary schools, but some can be adapted for younger children. They are designed to force the interpretation of what is seen, on the reader! While in simple tabular form, filling them in impresses understanding on the reader. For children wanting something more active, Lets Go to Chadwick Lakes will provide ideas.
This book follows The River Valleys of the Maltese Islands (1998), which gives an overview of the environment and the human impact upon the river valleys, and should be consulted for matters not covered enough in this book. The second is Lets Go to Chadwick Lakes (1998), mainly for families and primary schools, which not only describes that habitat, but gives many activities that can be done, suitable for families, primary and early secondary age children. Lets Go to Wied il-Lunziata (2001) while concentrating on this beautiful place, describes points of interest along the river from Santa Lucia to Xlendi, and gives activities of a similar type. Lets Go and Look after Our Nature, Our Heritage (2002) shows how to identify, conserve and indeed create Heritage Places.
The value of the Maltese river valleys is increasingly recognised, but at a superficial level. The level that says: "How Pretty, Let Us Tidy It Up With Concrete Or Prettify It With Barbecues, and it will be really nice." It is hoped this book will help readers to see the river valley is fascinating, beautiful and of heritage value IN ITS OWN RIGHT. That concrete and barbecues, like cleaning (dredging) the river bed and dumping, are forms of vandalism and destruction. Help given to these Things of Beauty, to try to keep them A Joy Forever should be working with the valley habitat, preventing outside interference and enhancing what is there.
We hope, as a result of this book, more people will enjoy the fascination, the heritage of the River Kbir in all its majesty and complexity, and that the River Kbir and its fellow river valleys are helped to have less destruction and more enhancement and conservation.