Academia in the field
Ecology must be experienced by the feet, not just by the head. This is the motto of a unique academic course, the first of its kind, which took place last week at Ramat Hanadiv.
Thirty graduate students from all over the country gathered at Ramat Hanadiv last week for a unique course, the first of its kind, which deals entirely with the practical aspect of ecology. The course is the result of collaboration between Ramat Hanadiv, the Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University, and the Israel Taxonomy Initiative.
This is a course dedicated entirely to applied ecology – it deals with the practical aspect of the science of ecology and considers conflicts, challenges and facts in the field of the “real world”. Applied ecology considers topics such as nature conservation in Israel, rehabilitation of disturbed ecosystems, open landscape management, human influences on ecosystems and treatment of individual species. Emphasis was placed on methods of vegetation monitoring and surveillance of animals in the field, such as surveillance cameras, excreta, footprints, and various traps, as well as collection of scientific data by the public. In addition, application of remote sensing in ecology and working with scientific databases in the “cloud” were also studied in the course.
The course lasted for five full days packed with lectures, fieldwork, data analysis and discussions on various ecological conflicts and issues.
Course instructors included leading Israeli researchers, who deal with applied ecology on a daily basis, including: researchers from the Nature and Parks Authority, JNF-KKL, urban ecologists and the professional team at Ramat Hanadiv. A special lecture was given by Prof. Assman from Germany, who came to Israel for a few days.
Students who summed up the course emphasized the importance of the practical training and experience for enriching their academic study. “You provided a wonderful example of the notion that if we want to create something it is all in our hands”… “I learned that the basis is people! And the importance of education and community awareness of environmental issues”… “I think that Ramat Hanadiv needs to turn itself into an interuniversity institution that coordinates and disseminates knowledge throughout the entire year”. These are just some of the feedback comments that were received at the end of the course.