The Unit was founded in 1980 by scientists and other people with knowledge and background in education. Being pioneering endeavor the unit's first task was to form the concept of Environmental Education. It was, in a sense, the formulation of educational theory on the basis of the knowledge accumlated in the Midrasha.
The desert ecology serves as a model for the study of the basic principles of other natural ecological systems. The desert ecosystem, with the long range conservation of its surroundings, serves as a model for studying the temporal changes in the environment. The process of developing a teaching program includes: writing, exepriments, evaluation, research and summary of obtained data.
The unit publishes the teaching program as well as other publications concerned with the ecology of the desert and the Negev. A case in point is the journal "Environments". This journal is issued twice a year in cooperation with the Israel National Academy of Science, the Committee on Environmental Problems. In addition articles and papers are published on the desert and the Negev, the Bedouins and their way of life, desert agriculture, etc.