Community Relations

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 we 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.

Supervising scientific research projects for high school students

This year, 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.

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.

Civil science has many benefits: Scientists receive vital help in collecting and analyzing data, and at the same time the public plays an active role in fascinating research, while gaining knowledge and tools and contributing to the advancement of science. 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 aim of this course is to raise awareness about marine and environmental values. As part of the course, students identify and research a problem at the national level, propose socio-educational solutions, and implement them in the field. During the course, a variety of lectures, workshops, and field trips are provided in such subjects as the environment, education, social and community issues, and training skills. Students also gain experience in project management, time management, and educational skills.

As part of a recent course, students built a website called “A Window to the Mediterranean Sea”, designed for anyone interested in the sea and coastline, the animals who live there, and the processes that shape those landscapes. We hope that a visit to the site will allow science and sea lovers to broaden their scientific horizons, and discover the most up-to-date information about Israel’s shoreline, sea, and the wildlife that lives there. The website includes links to articles about scientific innovations, lectures, recommendations for outings and marine activities, real-time information about events taking place on the coast, and contact with the team of students and researchers who will be happy to answer any questions.

The course was organized by Dr. Daniel Sher and Dr. Tsvia Gildor as part of the University of Haifa’s flagship program to foster collaborations between the university and high school students.

The Archaeology of Materials Course: From the Field to the Laboratory and the Workshop

The main goal of this 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 led by Prof. Sariel Shalev and Dr. Tal Kan-Cipor-Meron. 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 day is an opportunity for us to take part in an inspiring project, give back to the community, and help out a large number of people.