The EEC began with as an educational project launched by the ELCJHL Schools and Bir Zeit University in 1986. Education for Awareness and Involvement (EAI) was a cooperative project to integrate themes of civic responsibility and environmental issues into the existing school curriculum. The program emphasized political and social norms, while encouraging students to become involved in various activities that would improve their communities.
The activities formed the basis for Children for the Protection of Nature in Palestine (CPNP), in 1992. This organization formalized and strengthened the ELCJHL’s commitment to environmental education. The CPNP program worked within the ELCJHL schools and other local public, private, and UN-administered schools and without office facilities or grounds. It introduced young people to their Palestinian natural heritage and biodiversity by envisioning them as future stewards and caretakers of the Palestinian environment. It taught them conservation measures and environmentally-conscious lifestyles. In 1998, the CPNP moved into office facilities on the spacious campus of the Talitha Kumi School in Beit Jala and became a formal educational program of the ELCJHL.
A permanent office space and a large area of natural land allowed the CPNP to broaden its educational offerings. A botanical garden featured local plants from both biblical and modern times. A Palestinian natural history museum, an interactive environmental exhibition, and a ringing and monitoring station for studying bird migration trends were soon also established. The list of groups served by the program included teachers, women, and local graduate students.
In order to reflect the program’s growing vision and offerings, the CPNP was renamed the Environmental Education Center in 2002. Educating the next generation of Palestinian citizens and leaders is still central to the EEC’s mission as a leading provider of environmental and educational facilities. We are a key resource for information on nature conservation for a Palestinian students and researchers.