CROSSDEV in Lebanon celebrates graduation of 15 new eco-guides
After successfully completing the CROSSDEV training program for local eco-guides in Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve (Lebanon), 15 candidates attended the graduation ceremony that took place last September, at “The Budding Botanist” in Yahchouch village.
The day started with a guided tour in the newly refurbished info center, highlighting the importance of the herbarium in conservation and the purpose of the activity room. The group also visited Jabal Moussa’s native tree nurseries where wild and native trees are grown from seeds collected from the Biosphere Reserve.
Then senior and potential guides took a final evaluation test to assess their progress at the end of the training sessions. Then the test was graded and redistributed to discuss the outcome.
Having passed the final test, the new guides became aspirant guides. During this transitional phase (the practical learning), they must complete at least 5 hikes assisting senior guides and 5 supervised hikes leading people themselves on different trails; to improve their knowledge and skills. The aspirants become then qualified local guides and they will be able to guide people on hikes through the mountain.
As part of the program, I must walk on several hikes with senior and skilful guides in order to gain more experience…
Later, an agreement stating their main tasks and responsibilities was signed by the senior and aspirant guides; after being discussed by the ecotourism manager. A brief session recalling first-aid basics was followed by the distribution of first-aid kits.
At the end, all 15 candidates received two certificates of attendance: one of the “Eco-guide training” and the other of the “Wilderness First-Aid course”. The group gathered on the terrace, under the carob tree, and enjoyed a traditional quick lunch and sweets homemade with love by local women; while sharing stories and experiences.
On a personal level, this training program helped me acquire a wide knowledge that I aim to invest in the guiding operation. I was impressed by the professionalism and the high standards of the sessions. Most of all, I have spent unforgettable moments throughout the sessions and met amazing people, something I will be forever grateful for.
I am very thankful and happy that I had the chance to attend this training. Even though I am a senior guide a lot of information has been updated… which made me ready for any question and equipped with all the knowledge that the visitors would like to recognize about the reserve. The Lebanese Red cross and the 33North trainings were a must, they increased my confidence and made me ready for any incident during the journey.
I learned about trees and made new friends!!
The training for guides was very interesting… It helped me improve my skills in communication with visitors. Training sessions are very important every once in a while, even if we have experience…
Overall, the training program was a nice balance of theory and practice and was delivered to us with great expertise. I want to seize this opportunity to thank all the concerned for the efforts put in this valuable training. I really enjoyed it.