Final Preparations at the Rosh Tzippor Birdwatching Center.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
On May 28, exactly 10 days before the scheduled opening of the new Rosh Tzippor Birdwatching Center in Tel Aviv, JNF Australia supporter Marc Besen arrived to view the final preparations. He was greeted by KKL-JNF Deputy Head of the Central Region Yechiel Cohen, and Tali Azulai of KKL-JNF’s Australian Desk. Besen, who is one of the sponsors of the park, said that he was happy to be here again after his visit in October, when he unveiled the recognition plaque in his name, and opened the central water valve to begin filling the pond.
The new avian observatory, called Rosh Tzippor in Hebrew, or Bird Head in English, is in the Yarkon Park in the heart of the Tel Aviv metropolis, and sprawls over some 8 acres of trees, greenery and wetland. The site, which is situated alongside the junction of the Yarkon and Ayalon streams, was once home to a rich variety of vegetation, birds and other wildlife. Environmentalists say that it has great potential to be rejuvenated to its former state.
Yarkon Park Ecologist Liav Shalev explained that the Birdwatching Center was built in a way to facilitate the attraction of birds naturally.
“The park was designed so that the different bird species will be able to find the spots that suit them. There is ample food and places for shelter. We will not introduce birds artificially, but we have spread out an “invitation” for them to come. The idea is not to interfere, and to allow nature to do its thing. Look around and you will see that we already have new residents.”
KKL-JNF’s Yehiel Cohen said that the park was complicated to plan because of the large bodies of water that it encompasses.
“Now that it is completed, the project will be monitored around the clock. There are two water filtration systems running side by side, one biological and the other mechanical. We have to maintain water quality in the pond and to make sure that people who live nearby will not be plagued by mosquitoes. On the other hand we will need to prevent vandalism and keep youngsters from using the site for parties and bonfires.”
Besen, who speaks Hebrew after having lived in Israel between 1943 and 1947, said that he is extremely pleased that there will be strict supervision of the water quality in the pond. He said that Australian Jewry is still very sensitive to this issue as a result of the 1997 bridge collapse, when 4 Australian athletes who were competing in the Maccabiah Games in Israel were killed when they fell into the deadly contaminated waters of the Yarkon River.
“That was one of the reasons why I decided to embark on this project. I am very happy at what I see here today. I believe it is going to be a very effective area of beauty, education and recreation.”
More on the visit to the Rosh Tzippor Bird Park