Posted by: EcoPeace Middle East | June 19, 2011

FoEME’s Youth Water Trustees Celebrate Google Earth Launch of Community GIS

On June 13th and 14th 2011, FoEME’s Tel Aviv office hosted an event at the Science Museum in Jerusalem while FoEME’s Bethlehem office hosted an event at our Auja Environmental Center to celebrate the hard work of FoEME’s Youth Water Trustees!

For the last year FoEME’s Youth Water Trustees of the “Good Water Neighbors” project in Jordan, Israel and Palestine have worked with their teachers and local FoEME field staff to map their local water resources and hazard sites using Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. Check out the Community GIS project on FoEME’s Water Trustees Google Map!

The “Good Water Neighbors” project spreads awareness about the shared water problems of Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians. Water trustees are students who learn about their shared environmental heritage and volunteer to share what they have learned with their communities. Thanks to the Water Trustees, there is now a great tool that can be accessed from around the world to raise awareness of the action that is needed to rehabilitate the region’s shared water resources.

At Auja and Jerusalem, following a warm welcome by representative from the their communities and donor organizations including the European Union, United States Agency for International Development and the Belgium Foreign Ministry Peace Building Desk , each of the Water Trustees received a certificate recognizing their contributions to protect their local water resources and to spread awareness of the environmental hazards that exist. After the ceremony, Water Trustees in Auja were treated to a Dabke performance, a traditional Palestinian dance, by several of the students and in Jerusalem by  live music!

Prior to the ceremony in Jerusalem, Water Trustees participated in a poster session sharing stories of their communities’ environmental problems and toured the museum’s exhibit “Touching Water.”

In Auja, the event was far from over after the award ceremony ended.  The Water Trustees slept over at the Auja center’s guest house heading out early the next morning to put their environmental knowledge to action. Out in the middle of the eco center yard nearly all of the boys were crowded around several boys who were stamping their feet in a large pile of mud and hay.  The group had just learned about environmentally sustainable mud buildings and now they were each eagerly awaiting the chance to mix the mud to make the bricks. Next they took palm tree leaves, which are often thrown out as an agricultural waste product, and used them to create a beautiful and sustainable fence line around the center.

This post was contributed by Chelsea McDaniel, FoEME Intern in Bethlehem and Joshua Zuckerman, FoEME Intern in Tel Aviv.

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