The significance of the marine environment is at the center of all our research programs, serving as a common value not only for our students and teaching staff, but for all the people living in proximity of the sea. As part of the vision of the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, we believe that the entire community has the capacity to promote, develop, and preserve the marine surroundings as a sustainable environment.
In a variety of programs, we’re striving to connect the local community with the environment via:
- Volunteer activities
- Technology projects with high schools
- Exhibitions, lectures, and courses designed to raise awareness of the values of the sea environment.
Contact us to hear more about these projects and create collaborative efforts that will contribute to our shared environment and community.
Supervising high school mechatronics students
The engineering team of the Marine Technologies Laboratory, led by Sharon Farber, are working with students in the mechatronics program at the Carmel Zevulun High School in Kibbutz Yagur, from 10th grade through the completion of their final matriculation project in the 12th grade. The most recent graduating class, which they worked with for three years, won first place in the national robotics and engineering competition. The system they developed focused on deep-sea exploration using an underwater glider robot.
The students who represented the school program in the competition, Dor Mendel and Omri Tzvik, also won first place in the Israeli Olympiyeda science and technology competition, where they demonstrated their proficiency in various engineering and mathematical topics.
Raising public awareness about sound pollution in our seas and oceans
An exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Haifa designed to cultivate people’s love for the sea includes a display called “Listen to the Sea”, created in collaboration with Dr. Roee Diamant of the Hatter Department of Marine Technologies.
The exhibit focuses on the effects of ship noises on marine animals, and includes the sounds of dolphins, whales, seals, and ships, as well as a visual representation of the sounds in the display.
Participating in the marine environment curriculum at a Netanya middle school
Representatives from the Charney School are taking part in a study program about the maritime environment organized by the EcoOcean organization at the Haim Gouri Secondary School in Netanya. The program includes meetings with students on local beaches to encourage activism and carry out marine-based activities, while training the teaching staff. The study program follows a call for proposals for such activities by the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection, together with the Netanya Municipality’s Environmental Protection Division and Secondary Education Division. EcoOcean’s educational activities also take place aboard the Mediterranean Explorer research vessel, one of the most advanced such ships along the coastlines of the Mediterranean Sea. As part of the programming, students learned about the work of the diving team and the research equipment on board, including the remotely operated underwater robot, the Rosetta array of Niskin bottles, and the plankton trawl net. Staff members from the Charney School of Marine Sciences, help students learn how to plan and implement marine research by demonstrating how research projects are actually carried out in the field.
Supervising scientific research projects for high school students
Two groups of high school students joined a research project in the Sedimentology and Environmental Laboratory led by Dr. Revital Bookman. The curious students researched heavy metal environmental contamination (by such elements as lead and mercury) in sediment deposits in winter seasonal ponds and natural spring pools along Israel’s coastal plain. The project examined disparities between the different environments as well as longitudinal changes in the accumulation of pollutants over time by carrying out geochemical measurements of mud cores.
Understanding the patterns and sources of pollution is critical to proper environmental management of wetland environments on the coastal plain. These unique environments are endangered around the world because their ecosystems are in danger of extinction.
The “Geotop” research project is carried out in collaboration with the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. The students present their independent research study as part of their matriculation exams.
Facilitating the marine sciences study track at an Ashdod high school
The Charney School is helping to facilitate the marine sciences study track at the Mekif Gimel Comprehensive High School in Ashdod.
The Ashdod Municipal Sports Authority and the Ashdod Education Administration, in collaboration with the Center for Marine Education, have devised a unique curriculum designed to encourage as many students as possible to study seamanship and marine sciences, based on the economic, environmental, and cultural potential of the sea. The University of Haifa, through the Charney School of Marine Sciences, is providing 15 study units of the scientific-technological study track. As part of the study track program, classes are held at the International Research Laboratory in Ashdod under the guidance of an M.Sc. student researcher from the School of Marine Sciences. The goal of the study program is to develop environmental and global awareness among the students, increase their interest in science, and establish a citywide team of outstanding students—the future scientists of the city of Ashdod. The hope is for these students to integrate into any of the city’s future plans connected with the Marine Predator Research Institute, currently being established in the city.
The People’s Jellyfish Project (meduzot.co.il)
This is a joint civil science project of the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences and researchers from the laboratory of Prof. Dror Angel of the school’s Department of Maritime Civilizations. As part of the project, researchers and members of the general public collaborate to carry out real-time monitoring of the location of jellyfish along the Israeli coastline. The initiative includes both a website platform and a mobile app for submitting jellyfish sightings. The reports produce an up-to-date jellyfish distribution map. The project is funded by the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences and via a collaborative effort with the Haifa Municipality.
Through interesting and easy-to-access information updates on the site and in the app, public lectures, and other data sharing on the virtual platforms, the project continues to expand the information provided to the general public about the role of jellyfish in the marine environment. Also as part of the project, researchers strive to deepen environmental awareness by providing lectures and workshops at schools and community centers. At these events, project leaders promote environmental education while informing the next generation of scientists about the world of academia, research, and the professions of the future: environment, marine ecology, and the sciences.
The Sea, Society, Education and Leadership Course
The course is organized by Dr. Daniel Sher and Dr. Tsvia Gildor from the Marine Biology Dep., as part of the University of Haifa’s flagship program to foster collaborations between the university and high school students. The aim of the course is to promote a stronger affinity in marine topics between academia and the general society. The course program designed to provide the students with the appropriate toolbox needed for promoting solutions for marine environmental issues using educational tools. Lectures, full-day workshops, and field trips given by experts in various marine fields, aim to provide the course students with an in-depth understanding of major challenges facing the marine environment, to teach them the basics of community education and outreach, and to develop teaching skills. Throughout the course the students develop an educational program and present it to middle-class children from a school catering primarily to low income families in Haifa.
The Archaeology of Materials Course
The course is organized by Prof. Sariel Shalev and Dr. Tal Kan-Cipor-Meron, as part of the University of Haifa’s flagship program to foster collaborations between the university and high school students.
The main goal of the course is to provide students with the basics of researching ancient technologies, such as past food-producing technologies and different tool production methods, which are studied in the Analytical Laboratory for Archaeological Materials. The course introduces traditional technologies of Israel, from which ancient technologies and what is left of the archaeological finds can be studied. Here students practice researching and documenting traditional crafts with the help of the local community by instructing pupils in schools to collect information, materials, and tools from their families concerning ancient crafts. The information, materials, and tools gathered are studied with the students at the university’s materials lab using scientific methods and can shed light on the more ancient archaeological technologies. All this information and study is returned to the community through the pupils and students’ research projects for future use to preserve the local heritage, such as through the creation of a local museum or other means.
Volunteer activities as part of Good Deeds Day
Good Deeds Day is the annual flagship project of the “Ruach Tova” (“Good Spirit”) volunteering organization, which has been held since 2007 with the aim of encouraging the spirit of volunteerism and mutual responsibility in Israeli society. Over the years, the school’s staff has volunteered for various types of volunteer activities on this day, such as helping the needy in distressed neighborhoods in Haifa (painting stairwells, helping to cultivate a garden in a residential building, etc.), cleaning Haifa’s beaches, and more.
The scientific understanding of the marine system and the sharing of scientific knowledge with the entire community are essential for the intelligent and sustainable use of marine resources.
The School’s annual conference on Mediterranean Sea Research was dedicated this year to a combination of marine research, science education, and art. This combination can help make improve access to marine research (and science in general) for the general public.
The conference lectures were translated into Hebrew, Arabic and English, as well as sign language.
School Seminar : How we make the world a better place
Our faculty and students are working on many levels to connect the community with the environment and increase public awareness of the values of marine and environmental protection.
These areas were the focus of the School’s seminar this year. We invite you to watch the three very inspiring initial sessions of the seminar, which addressed the following topics:
Giving back: Outreach activities that promote public awareness of the ocean
Activities that connect scientists to the public to promote science and human well-being
Rewarding achievements – science that makes us proud