KKL-JNF recently inaugurated a new tree-planting center at the Kennedy Memorial in Aminadav Forest, for tourists visiting Israel. At the new Plant-a-Tree Center, visitors can enjoy the unique experience of planting a sapling in the Holy Land thus participating in the fight against global warming.
The tree-planting center is located in Jerusalem's spectacular mountain landscape which enhances the entire planting experience and provides a starting point for short walks in the surroundings after the tree planting.
In the plaza below the Kennedy Memorial KKL-JNF has developed a visitors' center where tourists can obtain information about the site and its walking tours. KKL-JNF foresters receive groups or individuals for meaningful and often emotional tree-planting ceremonies. KKL-JNF also presents each planter with a special certificate. Access roads, parking for private vehicles and tour coaches as well as rest rooms and water fountains have also been established at the new center for the benefit of visitors.
Aminadav Forest is located in the Shalmon-Sorek ranges, one of the loveliest mountain belts surrounding Jerusalem. The forest, extending across 7,000 dunam, constitutes the largest open space available to residents of the capital. The forest abounds with natural springs and some of the loveliest agricultural terraces in the country, remnants of former bustanim or wild fruit orchards and ancient wine and olive oil presses. With the support of Friends worldwide, KKL-JNF has developed numerous spacious forest recreation areas equipped with sporting and active recreation facilities. Bicycle routes pitched at different levels of difficulty, sign-posted orienteering trails and routes accessible to the disabled, have also been developed in the forest.
Atop a solitary peak in Aminadav Forest stands the prominent Kennedy Memorial, established with the support of Friends of JNF America to commemorate American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy who was assassinated in 1963. From here, a splendid view is obtained across the Jerusalem Mountains to Mount Hebron and in the opposite direction over the coastal plains.
During a recent visit to the tree planting site, we met Kate and Travis Roshford from Australia who came here to plant "a tree of hope" before medical treatment in Israel. After reciting the Planter's Prayer and emotionally planting their sapling with loving hands Kate said: "I intend to come back together with Travis and our three children, hike down this trail and show them our trees. I want to see my trees grow healthy and strong, which is what I wish for myself."
VIP's from all over the world are also among the planters at the center. Recently, the President of the German States Council of Education Ministers planted an olive tree sapling here during and official visit he paid to Israel. "As someone who grew up in East Germany, it is especially meaningful for me to be here in 2009, planting a tree near the Kennedy Memorial. It gives me a sense of closure. I am amazed by what you have accomplished in Israel and I very much look forward to future dialogue. Planting a tree here today gives me the feeling that I have a place in Israel," the German visitor said.
Additional points of interest in the area include Hirbet Sa'adim archaeological remains, the monastery of John the Baptist, Sataf, Tel Tzuva, Pilot Mountain Reserve, US Independence Park and the Holocaust Memorial Forest.
At Lavi Forest Tree Planting Center
The other KKL-JNF tree planting center is located in Lavi Forest north of the Golani junction. Many pilgrims visit this center and plant a tree with their own hands, during their tour of Christian pilgrim sites in the north of the country.
KKL-JNF's Lavi Forest stretches across some 3,000 dunam, developed with help of Friends worldwide, with rest and recreation areas throughout the woodland, including special facilities for the disabled. The forest, comprising conifers, pines, eucalyptus, olives, carobs and fig trees, is located at a major intersection in Lower Galilee and its large active recreation area provides a refreshing stopover for many visitors en route to and from Galilee. Additional places of interest and pastime in the forest include an archaeological recreation area, Olive Recreation Area, South Africa Recreation Area, the Field Education Center, KKL-JNF regional tree nursery and the Plant-A-Tree-With-Your-Own-Hands Center.
For more information, please visit our website at www.kkl.org.il/eng or e-mail email@example.com