The announce of the second MASHAV International Course “Environmental Management of Parks and Nature Reserves: focus on Ecosystem Services” in June 2018

A few days ago I received the letter from my Israeli colleague who works for the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. It has contained a requist to share the informational brochure about the second MASHAV International Course “Environmental Management of Parks and Nature Reserves: focus on Ecosystem Services” (June 10th – June 29th , 2018, Tel Aviv – Kibbutz Ketura – Jerusalem, Israel).Israel_2016 031

Of course, I am glad to do it through the Global Botanical Portal. You will be able upload it here – Environmental Management of Nature Parks and Reserves_English brochure 2018

Please, pay attention that the deadline for application submission is April 18th, 2018.

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Kibbutz Ketura, Israel

Partly I have already shared my impressions from participation in the first course on sites of the Global Botanical Portal . Perhaps, we read my articles “The desert comes alive“, “Date palm from a 2000-year-old seed” and “Jerusalem Botanical Garden” here. However, if you have doubts that it can be useful for you, then I advise to read the detailed report below:

The first MASHAV International training course “Environmental Management of Nature Parks and Reserves” brought together 25 middle-career experts in nature conservation from 12  countries of Europe (Ukraine, Albania, Serbia), Africa (Botswana, Ghana, Kenya), Asia (Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam), and South America (Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay) from November 27 till December 13, 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies underthe aegis of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, mainly at Kibbutz Ketura, Israel. The place is located in the heart of Israel’s Arava desert and has important value for science, environmental education, and international cooperation. Here, the idea that nature knows no political borders is more than a belief.

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During a field excursion

The main aim of the course was to provide an understanding of the concept of Ecosystem Services, its terminology, division into categories, and its ecological, anthropological and economic aspects. The participants got acquainted with different approaches to nature conservation in Israel, the peculiarities of structure and functioning of various protected areas. They were provided with the most important principles of agriculture in arid and semiarid lands. They also obtained basic practical knowledge about the structure and function of arid land ecosystems and various adaptations of living organisms to the harsh conditions in a desert. The participants have developed various helpful skills which will be used in practice of nature conservation in their native countries. They have also learned how to build a management scheme based on the Ecosystem Services concept and how to engage local communities and other stakeholders.

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During a class

The training course started in Tel Aviv where staff members greeted us as participants upon our arrival to Israel. We also had some time for sightseeing and preparation for living in rural area. After that we took a 4-hour bus ride to Kibbutz Ketura, which is located in the southern part of Israel, about 50 km north of Eilat. This location became our home for the next two weeks. The scientific and practical parts of the training
course started on November 29 with an introduction and overview of the program by Dr.Shmuel Brenner (Director of the Arava Center for Sustainable Development), Dr. Elli Groner (Scientific Director of the Dead Sea & Arava Science Center), and the MASHAV team. All participants were asked to deliver 5-minute presentations about their countries, as well as the state and peculiarities of nature conservation and speak on their professional, educational and social activities, scientific research, expectations from the
course, etc.

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A slide from Dr. Elli Groner lecture

The following weeks we attended interesting lectures by the leading scientists of Israel. Here is a brief overview of some of them. Dr. Elli Groner made an introduction to the Ecosystem Services concept, mentioned the principles, structure and function of deserts as well as Ecological Integrity and Human Wellbeing. Dr.  Daniel Orenstein (The Technion  – Israel Institute of Technology) presented two original lectures under the titles “One person’s invasive species is another person’s lunch: Diversity in Ecosystem Service Assessment” and “Putting the socio in long-term socioecological research”. Dr.Tal Polak (Israeli Nature and Parks Authorities) talked about problems and practices of conservation biology in Israel. Prof. Dr. Uriel Safriel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) made presentation “Global Stewardship of Environment and Development” having paid special attention to organisation and the role of biosphere reserves. Dr. Alon Lotan, the coordinator of HaMaarag – Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program, shared experience and success in realization of the National Program. Dr. David Brand (Chief JNFKKL Forester) spoke about modern approaches to forestry in Israel in the context oftheEcosystem Services concept. Dr. Elaine Solowey (Director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture) focused in her lecture on Sustainable Desert Agriculture. Moreover, she shared her fascinating experience of successful germination of an ancient date palm seed. This modern day miracle has been covered by many reputable scientific journals (“Science”, “National Geographic”, etc.) as well as discussed in mass media. The 11-year-old sprout is currently thriving on the territory of Kibbutz Ketura (not far from the guest house the participants of the course stayed at).

It is worth mentioning that Israel, with a population over 8.5 million today, is highly sensitive to environmental concerns. However, it is among the world’s leading countries in implementation of the state-ofthe-art technologies in environmental protection. It is particularly valuable that all the respected professionals have been ready to share their knowledge and experience with participants of the training course.

We had also several workshops which allowed us to learn the methodology of DPSIR-analysis, stakeholder map analysis, building the problem and objective trees and other modern approaches to mitigation of conflict between wild nature and human society.

Highlights of the course included: guided snorkelling on the Coral Reef; MASHAV culture night with kibbutz members joining to learn from participants about their cultures; a final ceremony in Jerusalem attended by the Director of MASHAV training programs, Ambassador Mattanya Cohen, in addition to ambassadors and consulate representatives from the Albania, Botswana and Paraguay embassies in Israel.

I hope that you have already started preparing your application form for participating in the second MASHAV International Course “Environmental Management of Parks and Nature Reserves: focus on Ecosystem Services” 🙂 Good luck!

Kind regards,
Mykyta Peregrym

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