Negev with KKL-JNF 758.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Tourism students set out to visit KKL-JNF sites in southern Israel, where they were introduced to new and interesting excursion possibilities. Among the places they visited were the KKL-JNF nursery at Gilat, the Aryeh Pools, Beersheba River Park, Yatir Forest, the Cochin Jewish Heritage Center and Nevatim Reservoir.
“We were introduced to KKL-JNF projects and to the values they embody: Zionism, love of the countryside, and a connection with the land,” declared Shmulik Shefferman, who coordinates the tour-guiding course. “I have no doubt that both Israeli and foreign visitors will find a great deal to interest them at these remarkable sites.”
At the Gilat Nursery,
where KKL-JNF grows trees and saplings for planting in forests, parks and municipal gardens, the visitors met with nursery director Pablo Cherkesky, who described the various stages a plant goes through, from seed collection in the forest to growing in the nursery, until it is finally planted in a woodland or park.
Pablo went on to describe the challenges involved in growing saplings in the harsh climate of the Negev. Every year the nursery produces some six hundred thousand saplings belonging to hundreds of different species, both local and acclimated. Irrigation and temperature are regulated by an advanced computer system.
“There are things you can’t learn from a lecture in the classroom,” said Michal Hamisha of Kfar Sava. “There’s no substitute for the opportunity to see and smell the plants, visit the various sites and observe things for oneself.” Once the course is over, she intends to focus on guiding tour groups from China, as she spent seven years there and speaks Chinese. “I’m sure that sites like those we’re visiting today will be of great interest to Chinese groups,” she said. “Many Chinese people are involved in agriculture, and they’re interested in the sort of things that KKL-JNF deals with.”
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