A new birdwatching centre in Israel

July 30, 2015 by Ahuva Bar-Lev
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In the middle of the noisy metropolis in central Israel known as Gush Dan, a unique gem of nature is now being created, which will introduce visitors to the world of birds… thanks to the support of JNF Australia.

The creation of the birdwatching center at the Rosh Tzipor Forest in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park is under way, and the tractors and trucks are working in the area intensively to complete the preliminary earthworks. The area is known as the Dan Bloc.

A JNF spokesman told J-Wire: “This project was funded by Melbourne’s Besen family.”

“This is one of the most interesting sites being developed at present in the field of urban ecology and nature,” said landscape architect Lev Waxman. The site, which is currently being developed, will include a manmade lake covering 6 dunams (1.5 acres), green wetlands covering 4 dunams (1 acre), a winter pond, three large observation structures for visitors, two smaller scenic lookouts and two open classrooms for instruction.

Channels resembling brooks, with water flowing in fast currents, and wider channels resembling streams, with slower currents, will attract birds of different species to the location. The combination of existing vegetation and new vegetation will provide a variety of habitats. Special areas will be designated for nesting areas, and for capturing birds for research purposes. Benches and exquisite landscaping will render a visit here into a pleasant green experience not only for birds but also for people.

aDiscussing the development

Discussing the development

About two years ago, when the project was in its first stage, initial earthworks were carried out, and trees were moved to other places in the Yarkon Park so that they would not interfere with the digging. The project was delayed when it was understood that its cost would exceed the original estimates, but fortunately, about two months ago, in early June, work was resumed after the funding issues were resolved.

“The contractor whose bid was accepted is completing the final earthworks at the present time and digging trenches for the sliding walls and the structural walls, in order to enable the waterproofing of the lake,” said KKL-JNF engineer Boris Niazov, who also stressed that all the digging is being done with supervision by the Israel Antiquities Authority, in case archeological findings are discovered at the site.

Electric power lines are being installed, and a water pipeline 500 meters long has already received all the necessary permits and will start being installed within the next few days. Regular tap water will be supplied at first, but when the Geulat HaYarkon (Saving the Yarkon) project for purifying the water in the Yarkon river is finished, purified effluents will be conducted to the site.

Waiting for the birds

Waiting for the birds

The team leading the project – which includes KKL-JNF professionals, Yarkon Park representatives, the planning architect, and the contractor and his engineers – gets together on site every week in order to supervise the progress of the work at close hand.

“The earthworks should be finished within about two months, according to my assessment. All of the work is scheduled to be completed within about two years, and then we will be able to open the site for visitors,” said Niazov, the engineer.

“When it is finished, the birdwatching center will be an educational center for ecology and birdwatching, for Gush Dan and for all of Israel,” concluded Waxman, the planning architect.

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