Army for the Protection of Nature

Introduction

The Army for the Protection of Nature is a partnership between SPNI and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The project challenges IDF commanders to develop meaningful initiatives to protect their country’s biodiversity while serving its people by impactful nature conservation and educational projects. The IDF controls about 50% of Israel’s rarest habitats and ecosystems by virtue of them being located in restricted security areas. These include loess plains, sandy dunes and Mediterranean deciduous forests.

Each year IDF commanders submit their ideas to a judging panel of senior IDF officers and environmental experts. They are judged on 3 criteria:

1. Commanders’ involvement

2. Soldiers’ involvement

3. Environmental impact

The Army for the Protection of Nature has been in operation since 2014, here's what we've achieved so far.

2014 Projects

Hubara Bustard
  • Blazing a hiking trail around Mt Hermon
  • Planting a garden for rare flowers  at the Havat HaShomer Base near Golani Junction which are tended by soldiers with difficult backgrounds
  • Refitting disused bunkers along the Jordanian Border for rare bats to roost in
  • Installing special pathways through the Egyptian border fence for animals to traverse through
  • Rehabilitating winter pools at the Beit Naballah Transport Hub
  • Introducing live fire exercise protocols to protect breeding short-toed eagles
  • Treating invasive species at Palmachim Air Force Base
  • Protecting loess plains and the rare Hubara Bustard at Hatzerim Air Force Training Base

 

2015 Projects

  • Preserving Israel’s last remaining Roman temple ruins along the Lebanon border
  • Reducing light pollution at the Mt Meron Air Force Base
  • Making nesting boxes from old ammunition boxes at the Nimrah Munitions Base
  • Building a living roof at the IDF’s radio station
  • Blazing a nature trail at the Negev’s Training Base
  • Providing water pools for sand grouse at the Shivta Artillery Training Base
  • Building a trail to see the Bulbusim at Har Tzin and maintaining natural drinking pools near Eilat
  • Installing nesting boxes for swifts at the IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv