Опубліковано: Зароченцева Оксана Дмитрівна, 04.01.2017

Professor of the Department of Ecology and Biomonitoring Mariia Fedoriak attended  the MASHAV International training course “Environmental Management of Natural Parks and Reserves” in Israel. The course brought together 25 middle-career experts in nature conservation from 12 countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. The meeting was hosted by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies under aegis of the MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation from November 27 till December 13 2016 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.

Main aim of the course was to provide an understanding of the concept of Ecosystem Services. 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 semi-arid lands, learned about arid land ecosystems and various adaptations of living organisms to the harsh conditions in a desert.

The participants attended lectures by the leading scientists of Israel. For instance, Dr. Elli Groner (Arava Institute Research Center) made an introduction to Ecosystem Services concept, mentioned the principles, structure and function of deserts as well as Ecological Integrity and Human Well-being. 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) presented “Global Stewardship of Environment and Development” having paid special attention to organisation and role of biosphere reserves. Dr. Alon Lotan, the coordinator of HaMaarag – Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program, shared experience and success of realization of the national program. Dr. David Brand (Chief JNF-KKL Forester) spoke about modern approaches to forestry in Israel in the context of the Ecosystem Services concept. Dr. Elaine Solowey (Director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture) focused on Sustainable Desert Agriculture in her lecture. Moreover, she shared her fascinating experience of successful germination of ancient date 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 tree is currently thriving on the territory of Kibbutz Ketura (not far from the guest house the participants of the course stayed at).

The participants had also to present their own achievements and to attend several workshops which allowed them to learn the methodology of DPSIR-analysis, stakeholder map analysis, building of problem and objective trees and other modern approaches to the mitigation of conflict between wild nature and human society. Of the base of it they had to develop their own project.

Besides, the group toured a variety of nature reserves and parks including the International Bird Watching and Research Center, the Coral Beach in Eilat, Evrona (site of the 2014 oil spill), Hai-Bar Yotvata, and the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.

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; and a final ceremony in Jerusalem attended by the Director of MASHAV’s training programs, Ambassador Mattanya Cohen, in addition to ambassadors and consulate representatives from the Albania, Botswana and Paraguay embassies in Israel.

Participation in the MASHAV International training course “Environmental Management of Natural Parks and Reserves” was very valuable for all the participants. Many thanks to the MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Embassy of the State of Israel in Ukraine for an amazing opportunity to take part in the training course.