Trisha Shetty

AUB Nature Conservation Center

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Founded  2002
Location  Beirut, Lebanon
Founder  AUB faculty members
AUB Nature Conservation Center
Motto  For people to become guardians of their Nature
Methods  Tree planting, Seed Collection, Concerts, Youth Activities, Research, Competitions, Citizen Science
Mission  Biodiversity research, Education and Outreach

AUB - Nature Conservation Center (NCC) formerly known as IBSAR, is an academic research center, founded in 2002 under the office of the Provost at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon. It is an open and innovative platform for multidisciplinary projects that promote nature conservation. The center’s members consist of highly distinguished faculty from different disciplines. It also collaborates occasionally with the Nature Conservation Center Student Club.

Contents

Mission

The Center's mission is to use research, education, community outreach and knowledge dissemination in order to spread awareness about nature and create new practices for its sustainable development, as well as reinvent individuals' relationships with it and promote viable eco-solutions for environmental challenges. By promoting the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of nature through an open innovative and collaborative platform, NCC’s primary vision is to make people the guardians of their nature.

Programs

NCC is a member of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Green Map Organization. The Center's activities are divided intro programs, which each comprise a set of projects serving nature in a different manner. The programs are as follows:

  • Medicinal Research and Drug Discovery: NCC being first and foremost an academic center, one of its priorities is to promote research and discoveries of new practices that aid its mission. In this regard, it has overseen many studies of endemic plants and their medicinal properties which have consequently shown promising medicinal uses and allowed NCC to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies for their further development.
  • Integrative Health: As part of its mission, NCC seeks to provide an outlet for knowledge dissemination and research in rising eco-friendly fields. In this context, the Center has put together its first interdisciplinary program, tackling the topic of Integrative Health in the frame of a Master's degree catering to candidates from different backgrounds.
  • Community Development - Baldati Bi'ati: As part of its goal to make people the guardians of their nature, NCC strives to reach out to as many members of the Lebanese community as possible. Accordingly, it has fostered different sustainable development projects over the years, each targeting a different demographic. These include four projects, such as Towns and Maps, a project which invites village communities to collectively form committees to create interactive maps and sustainable plans for their villages through a participatory approach (Baldati Bi'ati or the Biodiversity Village Award. In addition, Youth and Children is a project which caters to school students (School Guide for Extra-Curricular Nature-Related Activities and Media Forests), while Community-Based Reforestation and Forests and Woodlands are two projects that take into consideration the greening of different areas through various activities.
  • Eco-Entrepreneurship: In keeping with its mission of promoting the conservation of our biodiversity and sustainable use of nature, NCC fosters award programs to encourage and reward eco-friendly initiatives. These include the annual International Biodiversity Day At AUB (IBDAA), a poster forum which allows students to present innovative green ideas, products, business plans, etc. In addition, the Center's other Eco-entrepreneurship award is the Samir & Claude Abillama Eco-Entrepreneurship Award, which offers up-and-coming green-minded entrepreneurs the chance to gain valuable business-growing experience, as well as the chance to win $20,000.
  • Waste Management: NCC is currently working with several different villages to optimize solid waste management practices. Effectively, the Center was actively involved in a call to action that invited the AUB community to form what became known as the AUB Solid Waste Management Task Force, in order to tackle the behavioral, technical, health-related, and environmental aspects of the crisis from a scientific perspective. The Task Force and NCC’s work evolved through a number of workshops and conferences to evaluate local knowledge regarding waste management, document individual questions and concerns, and share the Roadmap prepared by them as a guideline to sustainable municipal solid waste management. NCC also held a final conference to discuss the alarming findings of an air quality study and to launch the Guide to Municipal Solid Waste Management, an accessible and detailed manual intended to inform different stakeholders about the different options and risks involved in Lebanese waste management.
  • Student Engagement

    Another important facet of NCC is the role of students in its growth. In fact, its volunteers, interns, work-study students, as well as the aforementioned student club, have contributed immensely to its growth, especially in terms of outreach. Furthermore, Masters' candidates who conduct their research under NCC, as well as PhD candidates who work with NCC enrich its scientific dimension invaluably. To interact with these individuals and recruit new members, the Center organizes activities such as the Stock the Wood concerts, based on the flower power theme of the Woodstock festival of 1969 and biannual debates entitled "Ta3a Ne7ké" (which means "let's talk" in Arabic), which discuss important controversial nature-related topics.

    Financial Support

    To achieve its mission and vision, NCC primarily relies on donations and grants from local, foreign, private and public sector partners, in addition to funds allocated to it by the University.

    References

    AUB Nature Conservation Center Wikipedia


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