ZEISS supports nature conservation and education in Israel

Established in 1953, The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) is Israel’s leading environmental non-profit organization. For over 60 years SPNI has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Israel’s natural resources, environment, natural assets and unique landscape.

In October, ZEISS and SPNI signed a partnership. Three of Israel’s most important Birdwatching Centres will now represent ZEISS products helping to support the local employees and volunteers in their research projects, but also visitors to experience nature from a different perspective.

Israel is located in one of the most strategic places for migratory birds.

The only land bridge that connects Europe, Asia, and Africa was indeed a corridor of many nations through history, but at the same time it’s the main flyway that birds use on their intercontinental migration, which keeps them safe from hunger and cold.

Eilat is located not only in the middle of this bird super highway, but is also located just on the northern end of the great Sahara Desert which the birds need to cross. At this crucial spot, the International Birding and Research Center in Eilat is providing these birds with the habitats that will fuel their journey and the protection that will insure the safety of this flyway for years to come.

“Here in Eilat, with a large team of volunteers from the local community and from all over the world, we perform bird conservation, intensive monitoring and research”, says Noam Weiss, the Head of the International Birdwatching and Research Center (IBRCE) in Eilat. “Also, we have made the sanctuary accessible for bird watchers and nature lovers, as well as to the local community that enjoys bird-related environmental education activities and eco-tourism”, continues Weiss.

The Eilat Bird Watching center operates an educational program, produces scientific research and studies, hosts birdwatching tours and also hosts the annual Eilat Birds Festival.

“ZEISS helps us to get closer to what we love: closer to the birds we strive to conserve and to our goal, to keep one of the globally important flyways of migratory birds safe."

Noam Weiss

300 Km away, the Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO) is a place where a love for birds is created. The JBO is located in the center of the holy city between the Supreme Court and the Parliament with an impressive urban garden that serves birds, as well as the diverse community of the city. It also houses the Israel national bird-ringing center. Together with the active ringing station, it serves as an ideal tool for conservation studies and research that monitor bird populations. Birds Migration patterns in Israel are studied throughout the various seasons. Data is collected and analyzed in a comprehensive database.

Visitors can stop by for an eco-experience. Bird watching and a presentation about bird migration in Israel is available for tourists visiting as groups or individuals.
The JBO provides Israeli students, particularly children living in Jerusalem and other urban areas, with a unique opportunity to experience the environment first-hand. Student activities include “close encounters” with ringed birds, birdwatching tours, a birdwatching club, lectures about birdlife, nature conservation, and presentations of current research being conducted at the JBO.

The third hot spot in this Area, Located in Sde Boker in the Negev Desert, is called the Ramat HaNegev Birding center. The Ramat HaNegev Birding center specializes in desert birds and wildlife. The center operates several monitoring protects for key desert species and offers year round birding tours. The proceeds of the birding tours directly benefit bird conservation.

With those three important locations the goal is to support nature conservation and education in one of the world’s most important areas for birds.

“It is all about connecting people to nature. Because nature can be wild and often shy, ZEISS is the natural partner for us. ZEISS’ state of the art optics make us feel closer to our goal and give our communities the means to appreciate and see the true beauty of nature, and make it something to connect to, to love, and to fight for."

Dan Alon, Director of the Israeli Ornithological Center