Nature Israel

The American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (ASPNI), known as Nature Israel, is the American fundraising arm of The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), the leader in protecting Israel’s environment. Nature Israel was established in 1983 by a dedicated group of philanthropists in the United States to support SPNI’s mission. We are committed to the highest standards of stewardship of donor funds. You can view our financial statements here.

Meet Nature Israel’s Board

Nature Israel is led by a passionate and dedicated Board of Directors from around the United States. Each member believes in the importance of supporting and expanding  this vital work.

Jonathan Silverstein

Board Chair

“SPNI is the best kept secret in global environmentalism. My love for nature and Israel is just the beginning. Making a globally recognized leader in environmental protection and nature based conservation will be a big part of my life’s work.”

Shawn Sweeney

Vice Chair

“Israel is such a crucial stopover on the African-Eurasian flyway, it is my honor to serve with my fellow colleagues on Nature Israel.”

Lisa Ching

Treasurer/Finance Chair

Dan Pava

Development Chair

“I support SPNI because it has served as the leader in addressing Israel’s environmental challenges, preserving its landscapes, and creating a culture of sustainable development among generations of Israelis across the social and political spectrum.”

Alan Schanzer

Marketing Chair

“There is almost nothing more important than protecting our planet for all of our children. Nature Israel looks at protecting the environment holistically and cooperatively with other people and nations across the globe. I couldn't think of a better way to focus my energy than to do a little bit for an organization that tackles big global issues.”

Leon Sokol

Governance Chair and Co-Chair Emeritus

“I have been involved with Nature Israel for 30 years because it is the leader in the Middle East to protect nature and the environment.”

Rebecca Smith

Nominating Chair

“I like to think of Israel as part of the cradle of civilization, from where all humankind descends. Over the last 70 years, SPNI has done as much to preserve and conserve this land and its species as others have to preserve its historical and religious sites. SPNI challenges me to work across faiths, borders and policy to contribute in some small way to help preserve Israel's biodiversity. The land of Israel is the one thing we have to unite all who love it.“

Rabbi Paul Citrin

Board Member

“Now, more than ever, Israel needs our support through Nature Israel and NGOs which stand for the health and democracy of Israel.”

Danielle Nyman

Donor Relations

“Imagine being able to plant a tree in Jerusalem to honor a friend… Or providing food and water for tens of thousands of migratory birds… Tikun olam in practice. תיקון עולם”

Russell Rothman

Co-Chair Emeritus

“I fell in love with Israel and nature almost 50 years ago when I began my PhD research in the Arava studying wolves. The love affair continues today through my work with the ASPNI.”

Rabbi Max Weiss

Board Member

“Jewish life demands of me that I take care of the environment for its own sake and for the sake of future generations. The work of SPNI connects Jewish living to environmental consciousness in a meaningful way.”

Ira May (z``l)

Board Member Emeritus

“As a professional geologist I have always been a lover of nature and the earth. My love of Israel’s nature developed during the many wonderful hikes I took with SPNI while I was in college in Jerusalem. I am hoping to give back for all the wonderful trips I took starting at the Russian Compound office of SPNI.”

Nature Israel Staff

Rachel Canar



“As a lifelong environmentalist and nature lover, who is both American and Israeli, this role is a dream come true for me. I invite you to join me in making Nature Israel a green beacon for developing solutions to climate change and securing a future for our children and for nature.”

Jessica Lewis



“Nature Israel is a tremendously integral organization in fighting climate change through innovation and hands-on projects. It is an honor to be of help in such a transformative and virtuous process; through Nature Israel I have the opportunity to fulfill the responsibility I have to my generation and, hopefully, the generations that come after.”

Maya Norton



“From generation to generation, stewardship of the land of Israel represents a sacred responsibility– to nurture, protect, and renew. At the nexus of three continents, we are called to protect biodiversity and build climate resiliency beyond borders and in collaboration with each other. This is the heart of Nature Israel’s life-giving work.”

Robin Gordon



“On my first trip to Israel in 1993 I was blown away by the majesty of the land, the dedicated SPNI staff, the flowers, the birds, the full moon. It was springtime and I was hooked.”

Join Our Board, Committee, or Volunteer


Love the environment? Love Israel? Looking for an opportunity to make a difference? This could be the perfect place for you.