Hagit Forest – the Israel Electric Corporation’s Contribution to the Environment

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 2:03 PM

KKL-JNF and the Israel Electric Corporation inaugurate the Hagit Forest, next to the Corporation’s green-energy power station. The forest is dedicated to customers who have opted to receive their bills by e-mail, in order to help conserve the environment.

 
This week, KKL-JNF and the Israel Electric Corporation inaugurated the Hagit Forest, which stands adjacent to the Corporation’s green-energy power station that produces electricity from natural gas. Hagit Forest is dedicated to Electric Corporation customers who have opted to receive their bills by e-mail, in order to help conserve the environment. In the past three months over 80,000 subscribers have adopted this new billing arrangement, which saves 14.4 tons of paper (= 240 trees) per year, and the money thus saved will be used by the Electric Corporation to fund the forest. Corporation customers participating in the e-bill project receive e-Yarok, KKL-JNF’s electronic newsletter containing articles on nature, the environment, hiking trails and places to visit.
 


Cutting of the ribbon. Photo: Yoav Devir

 
KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler and Electric Corporation CEO Eli Glickman participated in the Hagit Forest inauguration ceremony. Efi Stenzler defined the Corporation’s e-bill project as “a model of successful cooperation and a major contribution to the environment,” and added, “The Electric Corporation has given its customers the opportunity to be active partners in planting a forest in the Land of Israel.”
 


A section of the Hagit Forest, with the power station in the background. Photo: Yoav Devir

“This joint project is the creative product of people with vision,” said Glickman. “Apart from reducing the number of trees that will be cut down, we are also contributing to the planting of new trees and the establishment of a living forest that the public can enjoy. This is another example of the Electric Corporation’s concern for the good of the State in all its aspects, not just those related to electricity production. We are determined to become a green corporation and we are investing huge sums in comprehensive environmental activities.”
 
Dr. Omri Boneh, Director of KKL-JNF’s Northern Region, described the work that has been undertaken in Hagit Forest so far: a 3-kilometer walking trail and a 7-kilometer bicycle path have been created, and the entrance to the forest has been equipped with a parking area, picnic tables and a map.
 
Completion of the project is scheduled to take another five years, during which 25 kilometers of walking and cycling trails will be added, together with lookout points and picnic areas. The forest will cover an area of 3,000 dunam (approx 750 acres) adjacent to the Ein Tut interchange on Highway 6, and will comprise around 15,000 woodland trees belonging to a variety of local species including carob, pistacia and Tabor oak.
 


Israel Electric Company workers celebrate. Photo: Yoav Devir

Mature trees from a number of sites countrywide will be transplanted into the new forest, together with a selection of well-developed saplings. As the area is used for grazing, the saplings will be placed inside protective sleeves to prevent animals from nibbling them. In the initial stages the saplings will be irrigated with reclaimed water from the nearby power station.
 
To symbolize the cooperation between their two organizations, the heads of KKL-JNF and the Electric Corporation planted a tree together. Asher Dahan, Senior Vice President of the Corporation, read the Planter’s Prayer and remarked that while electricity production provides vital quality of life, it can harm the environment. “We are doing everything possible to limit this harm, and we take care to recompense the environment in a number of different ways, such as this project,” he said.
 


L-R: Asher Dahan reads the Planter's Prayer; Eli Glickman, Omri Boneh and Efi Stenzler plant the tree. Photo: Yoav Devir

 

Chico Zion, the Corporation’s Marketing Communications Director and one of the project’s initiators, told those present: “We were looking for a way to express our appreciation for those customers who have opted out of printed billing, in hopes of encouraging more people to adopt this arrangement. KKL-JNF is a green organization that is generally admired, and this is what makes the connection between us so natural."

 


First bike ride along the Hagit Forest bicycle path. Photo: Yoav Devir

“The forest will be here for many years to come, and it will convey an important message to our customers: your savings benefit nature directly,” said Israel Movshovitz, Israel Electric Corporation’s marketing director.
 
Michael Ben Abu, Director of KKL-JNF’s Israel Fundraising Department, who presided over the ceremony, told the assembled company: “The forest reflects a love of mankind and nature, for the benefit of our own generation and the generations to come.”
 
A group of cyclists took part in the final stage of the event and inaugurated the new cycle path with their wheels. This project benefits not just the environment, but also the walking and cycling public who now have easy access to some enchanting natural beauty spots.