Prof. Yossi Leshem led a regional campaign to get farmers to stop using chemical pesticides. From 2006 to 2012, he lobbied students, teachers and farmers to build 3,100 nesting boxes in prime Israeli agricultural areas. The boxes were designed to encourage barn owls, kestrel and rodents to take up residence and serve as pest control agents. The program grew to include 200 farmers in Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, and a much publicized story of regional cooperation.
Prof. Yossi Leshem worked at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the leading NGO in Israel, for 25 years, as a guide, as Director of a Field Study Center, as Head of the Nature Protection Department, Initiator and Director of the Israel Raptor Information Center between 1980-1991, and as the Executive Director of the SPNI between 1991-1995.
He is Senior Researcher in the Department of Zoology in the Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University and is the founder and Director of the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun, Israel, established by TAU and the Society.
Prof. Leshem has been involved in many aspects of nature conservation, with the emphasis on bird research for 38 years. Since 1984 his research for his doctorate, which was conducted with the cooperation of the Israeli Air Force and the Ministry of Science, has resulted in a decrease of 76% in the number of collisions with aircraft caused by birds, and has saved 790 million dollars, not to mention the numbers of lives, both human and avian. Today, he serves as Lt. Col. (Ret) in the Israeli Air Force and continues this research. In 2005, he won the prestigious Mike Kuhring Prize for achievements of high significance for an improved flight safety concerning the bird problems of aviation, and for his mission to connect safety with nature conservation via education that gave bird strike prevention worldwide appreciation.
Prof. Leshem is involved in a variety of activities in bird migration research, in educational activities that take place in over 250 schools in Israel part of cooperation with the Palestinians and the Jordanians, and has developed an educational and scientific site.