Israel’s forest ranger to the world turns 115

Posted on February 13th, 2017
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c

KKL-JNF doesn’t only plant trees; it also teaches other countries proven Israeli methods to deal with problems such as drought and climate change.

The words “Jewish National Fund” conjure images of blue-and-white charity boxes and the sight of celebrities,  diplomats and visitors from across the world planting trees in Israel.

Indeed, Keren Kayemet Le’Israel-Jewish National Fund  (KKL-JNF) has planted some 240 million trees in Israel since its founding in 1901. And it has undertaken massive projects in sustainability, conservation, education, tourism, agriculture, roads and reservoirs.

Yet few are aware of the organization’s growing impact on the environmental health of countries outside of Israel.

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The hoopoe bird is fighting off some incredibly nosy neighbors

Posted on February 6th, 2017
by Benyamin Cohen for FromtheGrapevine

Invasive parakeets – yes, invasive parakeets! – are causing trouble at hoopoe nests

The hoopoe bird doesn't have it easy. It's got to contend with a comical look and a funny-sounding name. But now it has another foe to fend off: invasive parakeets.

Chosen as the national bird of Israel in 2008 (besting the bulbul, warbler and finch for the honor), the beloved bird with the spectacular crown feathers is fighting for its survival. Ring-necked parakeets are jostling for space in Israel's trees, literally knocking hoopoes out of their nests.

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The New Year of the Trees: Ecological EdTech for Tu Bishvat

Posted on January 30th, 2017
By Yonah Kirschner, The Digital Learning Network

The holiday of Tu Bishvat begins this year on Friday evening, February 10th. As the Jewish holiday most closely connected to the environment and the natural world, Tu Bishvat provides a great opportunity for teachers to include earth and environmental science in their curriculum. This year, we were inspired by Jewish texts about the natural world. For each text, we’ve taken out a particular topic you can focus on in your classroom and provided educational technology resources that can help your students reach their learning goals. Our hope is that after using these tools and developing a stronger understanding of Earth, your students will have a more meaningful Tu Bishvat.

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Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israel’s oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables

Posted on January 23rd, 2017
by Lucy Wang for

An amazing farm has sprouted in an unlikely place—the rooftop of Israel’s oldest mall in the heart of Tel Aviv. Hidden between high-rises, “Green in the City” is a rooftop farm that produces 10,000 heads of leafy greens a month year-round using organic and hydroponic methods—no dirt required. This thriving example of urban agriculture is one of many surprising sustainable initiatives at the Dizengoff Center shopping mall, which includes bird habitats, a tree nursery, a rooftop apiary, and even a bat cave for native fruit bats to call home.

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Forget Coke and Pepsi, put cola-flavored leaves in drinks

Posted on January 16th, 2017
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c

A plant sold worldwide by Israel’s Hishtil Nurseries imparts a cola taste naturally.

Grow some Artemisia arbotanum – a.k.a. the “cola plant” – in your backyard, roof or terrace and you’ll have no need to buy caramel-colored drinks. Just pluck some leaves to flavor hot and cold beverages, and even salads, stews and stir-fries.

The cola plant is one of about 250 kinds of culinary herbal plants exported by Israel’s Hishtil Nurseries for sale in supermarkets, garden centers and DIY stores across Western Europe and North America.

“We are always searching for specialty varieties from collectors all over the world to bring another taste and look to the garden and the kitchen,” says Ofir Elasar, marketing and sales manager for Hishtil.

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