Date: 2-3/10/2013

ARIJ conducted two open days for more than 100 students; from Beit Ummar schools in the Al Qarin forest in the Hebron Governorate and from Jalqamus and Um At Tut schools in the Um At Tut protected area in the Jenin Governorate. This is part of the “Palestinian forest Rehabilitation and Sustainability” project funded by GEF –SGP (Global Environmental Facility – Small Grant Projects) and conducted by ARIJ in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).
Students from Jalqamus and Um At Tut Schools

Students form Beit Ummar Schools

The two days started with an opening by the ARIJ team presented by Mrs. Roubina Ghattas welcoming the participants from the neighboring schools around the Al Qarin and Um At Tut protected areas and introducing the natural and forest resources in the two protected areas, the importance of their sustainability in order to sustain the Palestinian environmental balance and their biological resources for neighboring communities and future generations. This was followed by a speech from Mr. Adel Abu A’yash, an expert in the field of forest management, clarifying the best practices in protected areas and the possible human impacts on their natural components, taking into consideration the sustainability of such resources.


The ARIJ team then took the students on a trip inside the Al Qarin and Um At Tut protected areas using the rehabilitated paths that ARIJ had created during the project period. These were designed as natural paths for visitors, with illustrative signs explaining the plants that could be see along the route.

Um At Tut Protected Area

Al Qarin Protected Area

Later during the open days, ARIJ, alongside a team specialized in the environmental awareness of students, conducted an educational program for the students. Part of the program stories, plays, and posters were performed, demonstrating the status of the two PAs and highlighting the various plant and animal species which could be found in the forests.




Several local organizations participated in the two open days, namely representatives from the local neighboring communities including the Mayor of Beit Ummar, the Heads of the Jalqamus and Um At tut local councils, the Head of forests and rangelands directorates at the Ministry of Agriculture in both the Jenin and Hebron governorates, the Head of school educational activities at the Ministry of Education and Higher education in the Jenin Governorate, and a paramedic from the Red Crescent, amongst others.
At the end of both days, the team distributed awareness leaflets to the participants which ARIJ had prepared to introduce the Palestinian forested areas in general and the two targeted protected areas in particular. These leaflets included a land use land cover map for the two PAs, the names of some plants and animals which inhabit the two PAs, and some instructions on how to behave inside a protected area.


There was substantial local and official interest in this environmental activity, and ARIJ will now be looking to implement more activities in this field. Future projects will hopefully include covering larger parts of the protected areas in Palestine and introducing PAs as natural sites for visitors in order  to encourage an association with nature and protect this national natural wealth.