The American University of Beirut celebrated the Botanical Garden annual spring event: Bird Sanctuary, in a ceremony that gathered academies and members of the Lebanese Bird Coalition, and Assad Serhal the managing director of SPNL-Society for the Protection of the Nature in Lebanon.
As proposed by SPNL, AUB Botanical Garden is being managed by Dr. Salma Talhouk. Today AUB is a refuge for nature and for birds. Using a green space as a botanical garden is a new concept. In green spaces, plants form a background that contributes to our wellbeing. In botanical gardens learning about plants help us connect with nature. AUB botanical garden offers informal learning about the environment.
The AUB campus was officially declared a bird sanctuary on December 10, 2003, during a ceremony held by the Environment Club at West Hall’s Auditorium. AUB which incorporates a unique, natural environment, was declared a permanent Botanic Garden on May the 4th, 2016, by President Fadlo R. Khuri.
AUB use the campus to showcase sustainability and environmental resilience. Because cities need botanical gardens AUB shared expertise and helped transform green spaces into botanical gardens AUB created a regional plant database. Every plant is connected to AUB database.
Dr. Ghassan-Ramadan Jaradi,SPNL expert in ornithology, highlighted in many studies the significance of the AUB campus for birds.
According to Dr. Jaradi, the demographic pressure that destroyed backyards drastically reduced the number of green areas in Beirut, de facto making AUB a refuge for birds. AUB Bird Sanctuary promises to radiate onto the surrounding urban settlement and spread the bird population to the countryside. Another reason why the campus is important for birds is its location on a cape, serving as a stop for many migrating birds.
Jaradi identified the categories to which the AUB birds belong: resident breeders that are present all year round, migrant breeders which breed only during the summer and spring seasons, wintering, and migrating species. Dr. Jaradi said that increasing the number of birds by providing nesting places will de-saturate the region and decrease the humans to birds ratio prevalent on campus.