(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
This week, KKL-JNF inaugurated the Winter Pond in the Shafir Regional Council, which was rehabilitated and improved with the assistance of friends of KKL-JNF in Scotland. The ceremony was attended by KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler, Regional Council Chairman Asher Abergil, representatives from the organizations involved in the project, and local schoolchildren.
The pool is in the heart of a beautiful park, which covers an area of 50 dunams (12 acres) and includes a pier, a covered observation deck, which also serves as an ecology classroom, an open theatre, benches shaded by old and new trees, and trails for hikes and bikes. Soon it will also include a playground for children.
“The sound of frogs croaking used to be an integral part of life all over Israel, in urban as well as rural areas,” said KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler. “These sounds are almost unheard nowadays, because we have destroyed the habitats of frogs and many other wildlife species with our own hands.” Stenzler thanked the friends of KKL-JNF in Scotland, whose support made this important project possible. He also noted that KKL-JNF is involved in many other projects in the region, including the Hodaya Recreation Area and the Carmon Waste Facility.
The head of the Shafir Regional Council, Asher Abergil, who was one of the initiators of the project, noted the connection of water to the festival of Shavuot, which took place a few days before the ceremony. “Water is especially valued in our tradition. King David said, ‘He shall be as a tree planted on streams of water.’”
The Regional Council Chairman said that the Shafir schoolchildren used to cut school, climb over the fence, and float on the water in rafts. “Today we have a wooden bridge from the school to the Winter Pond, and the children go there for ecology lessons, which take place right on the edge of the water.”
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