(photo credit: )
Straight from the airport the group of future ambassadors for JNF Canada arrived to join hundreds of Israeli schoolchildren and employees of various companies, in cleaning up Tel Hadid - a beautiful stretch of nature in the Ben-Shemen forest. It has now become a tradition that the KKL-JNF forests all over Israel are cleaned up by the general public as part of the international "Clean Up The World Day."
Hagai Kuperman, 26, and Adam Hummel 24, from Toronto seemed very energetic. "It feels great, we had a couple of hours sleep on the plane and we literally 'hit the ground running'. It is important for us to join Israelis on this international day of clean up. This way we feel we are being productive." "Cleaning up is important," added Hagai, "but I think that even more so, it raises awareness. I hope that others will follow the example!"
Eric Mackenzie, a community coordinator in the Airbase in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, thinks that "If everyone chips in around the world it will certainly make a difference and making a difference here in Israel is more rewarding to me than in Canada. It's amazing to be here in the sun! When I left Canada this morning, there was snow on the ground.'' Eric added that "it was also very interesting to learne from the young KKL-JNF guides how long it takes for various types of garbage to decompose."
"This is the first group to come from Canada on an ambassador mission" said Jessica Lawson Stein, of KKL-JNF Canadian desk, Jerusalem. "It's a pilot project - a group of thirteen came over to learn about KKL-JNF and our work, to become ambassadors to tell those in Canada about KKL-JNF. The group will be here for a week, traveling across Israel, seeing our projects and learning how to pass on the good words."
Aviva Reifler KKL-JNF Education shlicha to Canada added that "this is a very special, varied, carefully chosen group of people that includes pensioners and students from all over Canada, who will learn to become our spokespersons in their communities."
KKL-JNF operates a wide variety of activities in Canada, mostly in the fields of education, community work, community events and fund-raising. Dorry Korn, from Toronto, a yoga teacher and grandmother of thirteen, is in love. "I am so excited. I love Canada but I also truly love Israel. My heart and soul are here! I am here to learn as much as I can about KKL-JNF to take home and bring to my community my enthusiasm together with information about Israel. Our aims are that many more people will come to Israel, support it, help keep it beautiful and make it blossom."
For retired dentist, Melvin Charendoff from Toronto this activity brings back memories. "Being a garbage-picker reminds me when I was a kid cleaning up the exhibition grounds in Toronto. People are people - they just seem to throw away what they do not need and it's more or less the same garbage they leave behind everywhere. I am here to learn what KKL-JNF does and then to return and talk to people in Toronto, to let them know what is being done here so that they too will take part in KKL-JNF activities and support them."
Haggai, KKL-JNF forester, is busy handing out green, biodegradable garbage bags to the volunteers and ensuring that they know what to do. "Entire schools have shown up today to help. High-tech companies have closed their offices and have come to clean up. Even the ambassador group, all the way from Canada, has joined us here!" He added that "this afternoon we are expecting all the individuals to join the efforts. This Clean Up day really makes a difference to the look of the forest. By tomorrow it will be far more pleasant for us, as well as safer for the animals living in this beautiful area. Hopefully, this day will bring us towards a cleaner and more beautiful world altogether."
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