The Albanian Youth for Environmental Education (AYFEED) project was developed at the Urban and Regional Planning Department and at the GeoPlan Center of the University of Florida during Spring of 2012. This project was proposed by Dr. Juna Papajorgji who was instrumental in its conception, development, and implementation. Dr. Paul Zwick, Director of the GeoPlan Center, and Dr. Kristin Larsen, Chair of the Urban and Regional Planning Department at the University of Florida, were impeccably supportive of the idea and provided all the neccessary resources to help make it a reality. Hannah Willingham, Graduate Research Assistant at the GeoPlan Center, played a vital role in the development of the project.
Many thanks go to our partners. The GISCorps of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), who provided teaching support from Dr. Jennifer Rechel of the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in Riverside, California. The Mediterranean Association for the Protection of Sea Turtles (MEDASSET) who generously offered staff and material resources, and professional advice. The Green Mapping System, who kindly and generously provided considerable in-kind help and resources, in addition to professional council. The My Community, Our Earth program, which is a coalition of many organizations supporting sustainability, provided us support in various very important forms. And lastly, and by no means the least, ESRI’s education team, and ESRI’s global team generously and abundantly shared their time, knowledge, and connections, providing much invaluable context and leads to resources during the development of this project.
This project would have remained an idea had it not been for the determination and tireless efforts of the “Martin and Mirash Ivanaj Foundation.” Drita Ivanaj, the president of the foundation, and John N. Lenzi the vice president, galvanized decision makers in Albania and provided part of its funding. They obtained valuable support from the following individuals and organizations: William E. Ryerson, first U.S. Ambassador to Albania (ret.), Avni Mustafa National Albanian American Council (N.A.A.C), Genc Pollo, Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Albania, Skënder Uku, Secretary of the Department of Education and Science of the Republic of Albania, Elda Kristo, Director of the school “Dëshmorët e Lirisë,” Mihallaq Qirjo, National Director, Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe.For questions and suggestions, please contact: Dr. Juna Papajorgji, Project Investigator, University of Florida, GeoPlan Center, 352.335.7580, juna[at]ufl.edu