Natural history, conservation, and politics meet

Posted on May 25, 2019

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 124:24

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh writes on May 25 in the Palestinian Christians newsletter:

Today we concluded a week of public activities related to biodiversity (we even got live coverage on Palestine TV). We had lectures and workshops on faunal and human diversity and how to protect those. We had hands-on work in preparation of specimens for biodiversity studies. Coincidentally it was also the last week in the semester for my classes; I teach Biodiversity at Birzeit and Research methodology at Bethlehem University (both master level).

As if to highlight the International Day of Biodiversity on 22 May, we had one of the hottest days on record for that day (41 C in Bethlehem). On that day and on May 23rd, over 500 fires happened here. The fire was on all three sides of the (very dry) botanical garden at PMNH ( While we and our plants and animals were safe (by quick action of staff and volunteers), this only highlights the effect of human activities and climate change and certainly motivates us for harder work.

For us at the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability, every day and every week is focused on biodiversity conservation (via research, education, and actions on the ground). Our work is more in demand than ever. We are working on several publications this coming week, on field work, and on a proposal (in addition to all the routine work around the museum exhibits and the garden. We welcome visitors and volunteers.

Below: Video shows Israel settlers started West Bank fires, contradicting army statement

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