New JNF project inaugurated in Israel

October 14, 2015 by Ahuva Bar-Lev
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A new two-classroom building at the Misgav Regional Sustainability Education Centre built with donations from the estate of Stephen and Rita Gerstl and from Brad and Beverly Garlick from Sydney, has been inaugurated

Brad and Beverley Garlick, JNF's Ron Shani and Zeev Kedem and former JNF Australia CEO Rob Schneider

Brad and Beverley Garlick, JNF’s Ron Shani and Zeev Kedem and former JNF Australia CEO Rob Schneider   Photo: Tania Susskind

“Misgav can serve as an example for the entire Middle East of how Jews and Arabs can live, work and learn about sustainability together. You are showing us how to do it.” KKL-JNF Resources Director Ze’ev Kedem was speaking about the importance of co-existence between Arabs and Jews at the dedication ceremony of a new classroom at the Misgav Regional Sustainability Education Center.

The ceremony took place in the presence of donors Brad and Beverly Garlick from Sydney, Australia, senior officials of the Misgav Regional Council, KKL-JNF representatives and local residents.
The classroom is part of the Stephen and Rita Gerstl Misgav Regional Sustainability Education Center, one of the most significant environmental projects in Israel. The center was developed to serve the community, local schoolchildren, as well as outside visitors. Gilad Ostrovsky, head of the sustainability department of the Misgav Regional Council, took the guests on a tour of the ecological garden, which was developed by the local children, who were guided by professionals in the field. This area of the center is already an active and vibrant learning environment where local residents (Jewish and Arab) and visitors meet in environmental leadership development programs and engage in interactive workshops on sustainability. The landscaping includes pathways, supporting walls, designated workshop areas, drainage systems, mini wetlands to treat and control rainwater runoff, electricity infrastructure, seating areas and more.
Mr. Ron Shani, mayor of the Misgav Regional Council, noted that every piece of the new structure “was made from recycled materials, so that both children and adults can see what can be accomplished with them. I want to thank Brad and Beverly, whose donation helped turned this dream into a reality. Both Jews and Arabs are served by Misgav’s educational system, and the new classrooms will give us an opportunity to organize joint activities for Arab and Jewish children. Until now, we could only work in the garden in the summer, but now, thanks to the new classrooms, we’ll also be able to spend time here during the winter. Thank you for your kind gift, and thank you for caring and for coming here to dedicate the new structure.”
As Architect Gabi Gal noted, the new classrooms, which accommodate about 30 people, were built using green construction techniques. One of the major elements of the project is the rainwater harvesting system that was installed on the roof of the classrooms to collect rainwater and reuse it to irrigate the sustainable garden at the site during the rainless summer months.
Brad Garlick thanked everyone for participating in the ceremony and mentioned that it was six years ago when Rob Schneider, the former CEO of JNF Australia, came to him with the idea. “The truth is that the credit for this project goes to my wife Beverly, who is very committed to anything connected with co-existence and the environment. I want to thank everyone at KKL-JNF for building the classroom in such a perfect manner.”
Beverly added that in fact, “I’m active in everything related to sustainability and ecology. The classroom appealed to me because of its environmental aspects and because it’s non-denominational.”
Mohammed Abu-Dauf, Deputy Mayor of the Misgav Regional Council, said that the nursery school in his village, Damaida, received the President’s Green Nursery School prize six years ago. “When children are educated about sustainability, they then teach their parents about it, and things really change for the better,” he said.

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