Environmental Education Center
The Environmental Education Center (EEC)
The Environmental Education Center of the ELCJHL is located in Beit Jala right next to Talitha Kumi. Though the ministry of the center began in 1986 with a broad educational project, this project formally became an educational ministry of the ELCJHL in 1998.
The central mission of the EEC is to embody environmental stewardship through three main methods:
The first is education.
Throughout the year, the EEC conducts over 32 workshops with around 8 schools in the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas. These workshops cover topics essential to becoming an environmental citizen: climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, waste, and more. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEC has been a source of community education regarding safety protocols, decreasing spread, and staying healthy.
The second is action.
The EEC believes that in-classroom education is best complemented by tangible forms of education that can solidify concepts in students’ minds. For many years, the EEC has facilitated bi-annual waste clean-up campaigns, harvest campaigns, planting campaigns, and guided hiking trips for students. Environmental clubs in each school under the guidance of the EEC have also started up school compost systems and greenhouses, in addition to peer-led environmental awareness campaigns and waste clean-up.
The EEC also hosts multiple community-wide events each year to engage everyone in environmental advocacy. The most notorious of these is the annual Olive Harvest Festival, which celebrates the hard work of farmers during the olive harvest season. The EEC works with the Municipality of Bethlehem to host a market for farmers to sell their harvest, and students perform dances, songs, and poetry to commemorate the importance of the olive harvest to Palestinian culture.
One international event hosted by the EEC is the annual Palestinian Environmental Conference. This conference attracts environmentalists from around the world to come hear and share environmental research, collaborate on environmental projects, and scheme as a global community how to better care for our Earth.
The EEC additionally hosts a bi-annual Bird Week. As the EEC is the home of the Talitha Kumi Bird Ringing and Monitoring Station, the EEC’s team of bird researchers come together twice a year to share their research and projects with the community. Students and adults alike love to come see the different types of bird that use the unique positioning of Palestine as a resting point between the Europe-African migration line.
The third is empowerment.
The Environmental Education Center’s education and activism is not the end of the story, rather it is designed to build a community of environmental citizens that are equipped to both advocate and act for their environment. It is the mission of the center to build a community that is adept at knowing and caring for the unique Palestinian environmental situation, in all of its many complexities.
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Beit Jala, Palestine (on the Talitha Kumi Campus)
Phone: +972 2 276 5574