Become a Volunteer at The Palestine Museum of Natural History (PMNH) and its Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability (PIBS) work. We have many volunteer opportunities that will enhance your skills and allow you to be part of a team that is dynamic and energetic and making a difference locally.
Experience There are many activities in which to volunteer at the Museum. Outdoor activities can include working in the botanic garden related to gardening and maintenance of various permaculture projects. Opportunities to volunteer also exist in these areas: biodiversity research, taxonomy of different animal and plant groups, collection management, maintaining living ecosystems, administrative areas, fundraising, media work, education, publicity, working with children, art, and exhibits related to our mission as noted above.
Many benefits accrue to volunteering, including learning new skills, meeting new people, learning about the situation in Bethlehem (under Israeli occupation), interactions with people of various faiths, chance to expand knowledge of this part of the fertile crescent (where agriculture first developed), visit fascinating places like the birthplace of Jesus and the oldest continuously inhabited town on earth (Jericho) and many more. You will also delve into deep-rooted Palestinian culture, its rich cuisine and historical monuments (including world heritage sites like Battir), and learn more about regional conflict. You can also explore the exotic Palestinian biodiversity through ecotourism as well as discovering the contrasts in geological setting. You can explore areas from the lowest point on earth (the Dead sea) in the Jordan valley to high mountains with Mediterranean forests.
Accommodation There is a modest apartment available for volunteers (shared with other volunteers). There are two other bedrooms in Dr. Qumsiyeh’s home (so maximum accommodating eight volunteers at a time). Minimum volunteering time to partake of benefits like lodging and accommodation is 3 weeks.
Travel Most people coming to visit get through when they declare at Lod (“Ben Gurion”) Airport that they are tourists coming to visit the holy sites, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem. If asked where you will be staying mention hostels in Jerusalem. From the airport you can take a Sherut (shared service taxis) to Jerusalem. From Jerusalem to Bethlehem, take bus 231 or 234 from Damascus gate. If the 231bus, you get to the last stop, Bab Zqaq, and take a taxi to the museum (15 shekels). If the 234 bus, get off at the last stop at the wall, cross over through the wall and then simply walk to the museum (see map at palestinenature.org/visit) or again take a taxi. Taxi drivers are usually happy to call using their phone to get directions to where we are (in the Karkafa area of Bethlehem). But again agree to the price before you get into the taxi.
We have many volunteer opportunities that will enhance your skills and allow you to interact with others internationals and locals. We are thinking globally and acting locally. Below are examples of areas previous volunteers have worked in and to which you can contribute according to your interest.
1) Participate in research project. See our current and past research projects here https://www.palestinenature.org/research/
2) Garden and ecosystem structures: Design of living animal and plant areas to support natural habitats. We also are working on a community garden, a children exploration playground, and we do have functioning permaculture facilities that need maintenance (including aquaponics, hydroponics, etc). Fun activities include planting and harvesting, feeding animals and working with children.
3) Education/behavioral change: Develope education system in schools to increase children’s curiosity and the way they are thinking about the nature around themselves. Develope and train children about recycling/ up-cycling. And develope SMART science exhibitions for students in the museum.
4) Cultural Heritage: We have a big project to preserve, value, and sustain Palestinian cultural heritage relating to nature and agriculture. This includes both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Many volunteers are needed for cataloging, data entry and much more.
5) Fundraising and sustainable income planning: Write grant proposal, hold fundraising events, brainstorm about projects for our own sustainability (income generating projects and implement them etc.)
6) Administration: Establish partner relationship between PIBS/PMNH and other organizations and museums around the world, and make sure that all tasks relating to running such a project are well done.
7) Media and IT work: Write stories about the Museum and our work including the volunteers and their research, translate it into many languages and publish it in the western and eastern media including social media. Make documentaries and animation movies for children. Build and develope database for the collection and researches at the Museum in order to have an online library in the future.
8) Field work: Join us in field trips to study and document natural history in Palestine.
9) Preparation of material for research and exhibit: There are many opportunities here from cataloging to preservation to pinning insects to taxidermy of vertebrates to model building, graphic design, etc.
10) Tour guiding and hospitality: Thousands of visitors are already coming and we expect more so volunteer to help host and take care of those.
“Dear Dr. Mazin, Jessie, Reena, Khawla, Elias, MMohammad, Darian, the Turtles, the Peacock, The Scorpions, and the other Amazing PMNH creatures: Thank you Thank you Thank you for providing me with such wonderful home for the past month. I have been constanty amazed by the dedication and passion that you apply for everything that you do here. This museum is one of the most welcoming spaces that I have ever encounteed. Every moment is an oopportunit to llearn so many things. Every individual from visitor to volunteer to staff is absolutely treated with the respect and kindness that he preach. PMNH is a special place,….” Julie