(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Recently, Future Forester scholarships were presented at the Faculty Club of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot, as part of the Ronnie Appleby Academic Program for Forestry, Landscape Management and Sustainable Development. The ceremony was opened by David Brand, director of the KKL-JNF Forestry Department.Ms. Yael Shealtieli
The first speaker, Professor Ronnie Friedman, Dean of the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture, greeted the audience and explained how candidates for scholarships are chosen. He noted that today, "major changes are taking place in agriculture in terms of new developments and sustainability. The best way to support higher education is through scholarships. I would like to express my gratitude to the Applebys for recognizing the importance of this field and to KKL-JNF, which is responsible for the existence of this program."
Ms. Ira Haitin of KKL-JNF's Forestry Department spoke about the professional forestry track: "I was one of the first students to study at the Future Foresters Program and also to participate in the KKL-JNF summer work program, which is also supported by the Applebys. I have been working as a KKL-JNF forester for the past two years. I would like to thank the Applebys for their support during my studies and to KKL-JNF for giving me this opportunity." Ira also presented an in-depth description of her job and what she does on a daily basis.
Professor Haim Kigel, Division Coordinator of Forestry, Land Management and Sustainable Development at the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University, spoke about the Future Forestry Training Program: "The Future Foresters Program is one of kind in Israel. The scholarships are critical because they attract students to the program both for Bachelor and Master degrees. The summer work also provides the students with hands-on training. It is our job to do our utmost to provide the students with the best kind of education we can."
Dr. Jose Gruenzweig of the Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture talked about adaptation to climate change in the forest: "Climate change has now become a fact. We choose to accept that fact and work with it. In the future, we expect less and less precipitation, which means less water for the plants, a process that can already be seen by the carbon discharge in plants. We expect an increased amount of heat waves. Trends show that temperatures will rise 0.5°C per decade.
"I studied changes in Yatir Forest, Israel's largest forest, which is 40 years old and is primarily made up of Jerusalem pine. The forest suffers from drought and high temperatures as well as high evaporation. The roots have learned to stay dormant in the dry season and change very quickly when there is water. Yatir receives less precipitation than any other monitored forest. The forest knows how to uptake CO² like any other forest, but when there is a water shortage, the trees leave more carbon in the air but use the nitrogen much more efficiently."
Director General, praised the scholarships program and said that
KKL-JNF was trying to expand it to include doctorate students as well.
"It is fantastic to have the support of the Applebys for the Future
Foresters Program and the summer work with KKL-JNF. I would like to
point out that the forester, who spoke before, Ira Haitin
lit a torch at the official Independence Day Ceremony. Ira has achieved
many breakthroughs, as she is both an immigrant and a woman. I wish all
the students the best and I hope that one day we will see them working
The scholarships were presented to the recipients by Ms. Shealtieli, KKL-JNF's David Brand and Professor Ronnie Friedman. Calev Ailon
one of the students, spoke on behalf of the recipients: "For me and
many others, this is the best way to get hands-on experience. The
summer work is very important. It allows us to translate the
theoretical into the practical. The scholarships and this program are
an important way of supporting us and our studies. I would like to
express my gratitude to everyone involved for your support in the past,
and hope to see it continue into the future."
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