A.M. Qattan Foundation organises ‘Exploration Trails and Expeditions: Our Stories with Land and Nature’ symposium
Ramallah – (A.M. Qattan Foundation)
On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, A.M. Qattan Foundation organised a seminar entitled ‘Exploration Trails and Expeditions: Our Stories with Land and Nature’ to conclude Science Days Palestine 2019, organised by the Science Studio / Educational Research and Development Program (ERDP) at the Foundation.
During the symposium, participants shared their stories during their expeditions and explorations they led with the public, and discussed the diverse cultural experiences they have gained, how it influenced the experiences of itinerants with them, the challenges they face during the expedition, and introduced the audience to their different paths and criteria for their selection.
Mai Abdeen of Rozana Association spoke about the their strategic objectives, which focused on the reconstruction of old towns, rural development and reliance on tourism as a developmental, economic, social and cultural tool. The expeditions were one form of this development.
Fatima Idris, representative of EcoPhilics, presented the group's environmental goal, noting that the group is working on expeditions to clean areas of plastic waste that it finds in nature along routes taken, and educate participants on the importance of preserving the environment from these waste.
PalTerhal, as described by the founders of the company, Wael al-Haj and Nisreen Shaheen, is based on the conviction that Palestine has tourist areas and sites that are a destination for all segments of Palestinian society, for the purpose of relaxation, adventure and sports.
On the other hand, a touring group, Tijwal Safar, takes up the slogan of Khalil Sakakini: "Get to know Palestine on foot". According to the group's founder Samer al-Sharif, the routes taken by Tijwal created a social fabric and numerous relationships among Palestinian hikers.
Finally, Saleh Abdel Jawad and Samia Batma talked about the idea of their group, Shat’ha, which seeks to transform the discovery of Palestine and walks in nature into a systematic, weekly practice, not for an individual, group, or institution, but as a national community that fosters a collective spirit.
In conclusion, several ideas and recommendations were presented during the discussion period, most notably that the experience of the expeditions should be transferred to schools, with an official request from the Ministry of Education, to promote a culture of exploring and preserving Palestinian nature among students. In addition to a proposal submitted to the groups to adopt al-Uqdah Valley - where AMQF recently organised several routes within the Science Days Palestine - to be one of the approved areas in the groups expeditions, to protect it from the threat of urban sprawl.
Science Days Palestine is organised by a number of organisations including A.M. Qattan Foundation, Goethe Institute, the French Institute, Ramallah Municipality and Al-Nayzak Organisation. AMQF participates in organising festivals in schools, kindergartens and public places in Palestine. This year, the Foundation organised its festival, for the first time, in its new cultural building from 8 to 13 November 2019.