Since 2020 has been a difficult year for everybody, the Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PBIS) started an educational series for children titled “New Year, New Fun” which aims to relieve some of the pandemic stress and connect children with nature.
The year began with a “Find it, Stick it” scavenger hunt on 15 January 2021. The kids were given the task of hunting for different types of plants and flowers in the Palestine Museum of Natural History (PMNH) garden using their senses. For example, one of the plants was sage. The kids needed to smell and feel its texture to ensure that the leaf they found was indeed sage. As a treat, the kids then hunted for some yummy organic snacks like beautiful pea pods, colorful carrots, and some Humaid (Soursob).
The weekly events emphasized different educational aspects. So far, the children have learned to identify different flora and fauna samples, some planting tips, the science of entomology, and how to preserve museum specimens. Moreover, they practiced making playdough using natural dyes and natural scents, using microscopes and magnifying glasses to view specimens, learning about the different birds of Palestine, and making bird feeders. Also, our latest activities involved visiting local natural habitats like Cremisan. This week, we will be touring our ethnography exhibit, and we will learn how to handle some of the agricultural tools used by our ancestors.
Some of the events were canceled or held online due to COVID-19 lockdowns and the snow. However, despite all the odds, eleven educational events have been held since the beginning of the year. We have had a total of 191 attendances (with the age range of 2.5 – 15 years, but mainly focusing on the age group 6-12 years). Of these 191 participants, 99 have attended for the very first time. We plan to hold more exciting educational events and to reach a larger portion of Palestinian kids. There are many interesting and astounding things to observe within our country’s nature, and we look forward to being able to do that with this young and curious generation.
These events were made possible by the generous donations from Ms. Elena Probst, the interested parents of the participating children in the events, and the selfless help of our volunteers as well as the PMNH team.