SPNI was founded in 1953 by a small group of teachers, scientists and kibbutzniks who were attempting to save the Hula Wetlands. Although the draining of the Hula swamps could not be stopped at the time, the Government finally acknowledged the validity of the protesters' claims 40 years later when, in the mid-1990s, part of the Hula valley was re-flooded and returned to its original state.
Sixty years later, SPNI is still blazing the trail for nature and the environment in Israel. As the oldest, largest and most beloved environmental organization in Israel today, SPNI is more determined than ever to guard Israel's scant open spaces, protect its coasts and beaches, and promote sustainable development in order to preserve the country's natural resources for future generations. Tens of thousands of households are members of the SPNI, and hundreds of thousands of individuals participate in the organization's myriad activities each year, including thousands of children and young people who regularly participate in the organization's nature and orienteering courses.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) works to protect the open spaces and preserve the biodiversity of the land of Israel through environmental activism, education and eco-tourism.
SPNI's Environmental Protection Department: works with government authorities and various organizations through a variety of channels on the local and national levels. Urban planners work with municipalities to promote sustainable solutions. Our Mammal Department and the Israel Ornithological Center work to protect the variety of animal and bird species living in Israel, effecting global biodiversity. Together, these efforts create balance in future development and secure our environment.
SPNI's Education Department: engages Israeli youth in schools, summer camps, training programs and youth groups, teaching them about the variety of wildlife, the natural habitats and unique ecosystems in Israel, creating a lifelong bond with natural Israel. Our education programs affect the lives of thousands of Israeli children each year, fostering leaders for tomorrow who are connected and dedicated to their homeland and its precious natural legacy.
SPNI's Tourism Department: offers eco-tourism experiences throughout the country. SPNI brings together communities, blazed and maintains over 14,000 km (9,000 miles) of trails including the 1,009 km (627 mile) Israel National Trail and provides guided tours to hikers, birders and nature lovers throughout Israel for residents and eco-tourists alike. By creating a love for Israel's nature we unite to protect and preserve this Holy Land for generations to come.
Drilling in the Golan Hights - SPNI is campaigning to prevent experimental oil drilling from being carried out in the Golan Heights by Afek Oil and Gas. In an area prone to earthquakes SPNI, local residents and environmental experts, are deeply concerned about the risk of a leak which could contaminate the Sea of Galilee and Israel's other main water sources
Eilat Railway - The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is working to Save the Negev, by protecting six nature reserves from the destructive and disastrous plans proposed for a rail line to Eilat.
Fish Responsibly - Partnering with fishermen and other conservation groups, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel has created a puble campaign to reform fishing laws in the Mediterranean. Our Fish Responsibly campaign aims to improve the marine life and eco-systems along the coast.
Protecting Israel's Ecoystems - Israel’s rich and unique nature provides many important ecosystem services for its citizens; from existential needs such as oxygen for important, to important services such as pest control and intangible benefits such as relaxation– nature, and a healthy biodiversity is vital for society’s survival. Israel may be small but is blessed with more than 20 distinct types of ecosystem. Of these about half are found within IDF restricted areas and a further 20% are protected in nature reserves. Protecting Israel’s ecosystems and open spaces their size as well as contiguousness is one of SPNI’s key goals.
Promoting Sustainable Planning - Open spaces in Israel are dwindling due to the unyielding threat of development. By 2020 Israel is expected to be the most densely developed country in the OECD. Israel is facing intense pressure to utilize its land reserves to house this increased population. If done unintelligently this would lead to the exploitation and destruction of Israel’s dwindling and precious open spaces, harming nature and erasing the landscape and heritage that links the Jewish people to their biblical homeland.
Water for Nature - In recent years, SPNI's EPD has targeted water issues by bringing the water campaign to a national focus through the combined energies of every SPNI employee and volunteer. Water issues in Israel are vast, spanning from residential, industrial and agricultural water conservation, implemented via public awareness and lobbying campaigns, to sustainable planning recommendations for how water is allotted in Israel by the National Water Authority - as everything trickles down from there, ultimately impacting not only the Kinneret and the Dead Sea, but the entire system of rivers and streams in Israel.
Energy - Until recently Israel’s energy production was largely based on coal-fueled power stations, which have a high environmental impact mainly through atmospheric emissions contributing to air pollution and global warming. With the recent discoveries of natural gas in Israel’s economic waters there is now an opportunity to revolutionize Israel’s energy industry by replacing coal with natural gas while fulfilling Israel’s international commitments to increase the amount of renewable energy used. New energy policy and infrastructure development has to be crafted and regulated properly to protect Israel’s nature and unique biodiversity.
Marine Environment - The Mediterranean coast is arguably the country's greatest recreation and tourist asset. However, the unfettered building of marinas, coustal housing, and private beaches greatly limit accessibility to the public. Additionally, development of the gas and oil industries coupled with decades of over-fishing has dramatically harmed the marine habitat. SPNI is working at ever level to keep Israel's beaches clean, ecologically healthy, and accessible to all.
Birdlife - the Israel Ornithological Center of SPNI - Israel lies at a bottleneck along one of the world's most important migration flyways. Twice a year, 500 million birds are funneled over Israel; most are on their way back and forth from their nesting grounds in Europe and Asia to their wintering grounds in Africa.
Mammal Conservation - SPNI is one of the central organizations monitoring mammal species in Israel. We strive to reduce conflict between humans and wild animals through research, education and conservation. Working together with our partners including the Ministry for Environmental Protection, Nature and Park Authority, Universities and zoos we carry out cutting edge research and develop new techniques and approaches to protect Israel’s wild, native mammals.
Environmental Education - SPNI nurtures young people's connection to their own communities, heritage and the Land, thus raising a sentinel generation that will appreciate, love and protect Israel's natural treasures. SPNI has always looked to the children as the stewards of the future, and the reason is clear. Children's life habits are formed at an early age. If we successfully reach out to them during this formative period, a very high percentage will embrace an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. By focusing on children, and sparking their appreciation and understanding of the environment, we are creating the proise of a sustainable Israel. SPNI educational programming reaches tens of thousands of students nationwide, in a wide range of communities, in both formal and informal education programs.
Urban Communities - SPNI's Urban Branches are also known as "Kehilot" (Communities in Hebrew) as they bring local communities together toward shared environmental goals. A revolutionary concept, each Kehila develops itself within the framwork of the needs of each individual community. Though every community has specific concerns and needs crucial to its sustainable future, SPNI’s urban branches share the same primary objectives.
As mentioned in some of our main projects' goals Israel is an essential pathway for a large variety of wildlife and we at The Society for the Protection of Nature make sure that the animals that come from all the countries surrounding Israel (the Network) arrive to their destinations and return to their original starting point safe and sound thus helping the Network preserve it's natural heritage.
We would like to join the ALF Network in the hope to work together in achieving our mission to protect the nature and preserve the natural habitats of animals and plants around the world.