Environmental Awareness for children in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, Lebanon
In collaboration with the USAID-funded Lebanon Reforestation Initiative, Green Passport activity was held and completed within four days (August 1 till 4), where 50 children including Lebanese, Syrian refugees and children with special needs, from different Shouf villages, visited four different villages in the Shouf Corridor (Barouk, Ain Zhalta, Niha and Maaser El Shouf) and learned about the importance of preserving forests, water and wildlife (especially birds), cultural heritage and economic uses of forests such as biomass production. The children have shown great interest in the subjects and asked many question, they planted different seeds using recycled bottles, through which they learned the importance of soil and water, and their relation, and importance of sorting wastes and reuse the recyclable materials.
Overall, the four days have shown a great response from children when tackling environmental issues, with a clear understanding from them of the concept of Eco-System, Biodiversity, Cultural Heritage and Human-Nature relation and all the elements concerning it.
The activities allowed them to discover the biosphere reserve and to raise their environmental awareness for they will have direct impact on changing behaviors and attitudes and on influencing their parents, relatives and communities.
Moreover, on July 3, during Jabalna Festival, a special area was dedicated to children, where they learned about the importance of environmentally sound and socially beneficial forestation in Shouf Biosphere Reserve. They were educated about the high economic value species, among which the Origanum syriacum, and each child planted a seedling and took it with them. The children showed great enthusiasm, asked different questions and enjoyed planting.