Sunday, February 18, 2018 12:49 PM
Cyclamen are a protected wildflower in Israel.
Before the bulldozers rolled into the area earmarked for the construction of a new neighborhood to the south of Israel’s northerly city of Katzrin, KKL-JNF launched a campaign to save the cyclamen that grow wild at the site. Schoolchildren and other residents of the area came along to help, and within about four hours they collected hundreds of bulbs.
In mid-February KKL-JNF Hula Valley and Golan Heights Forester Efi Naim, in his capacity as local forestry officer, was making the rounds of the area to the south of Katzrin – formerly the site of a KKL-JNF forest – prior to the start of infrastructure work on a new neighborhood. As he toured his bailiwick, he noticed a cyclamen-covered hillock that was about to be destroyed by the bulldozers. Cyclamen are a protected wildflower in Israel. Realizing at once that swift action was necessary to save the plants, he managed to delay the start of the levelling work by several hours.
On the morning of February 11th, the Save the Cyclamen operation was launched and it continued for a number of hours until the afternoon. Efi Naim and other KKL-JNF staff members brought along all the necessary tools – hoes, picks and spades – and with the help of schoolchildren, members of the local community center, staff and students from the Katzrin Farm for Agriculture and Environmental Studies and other local residents, hundreds of cyclamen bulbs were carefully dug from the ground and collected.
Most of the bulbs will be replanted in the city’s public parks, others were presented to the Katzrin Farm, local residents took some for themselves and each of the schoolchildren was awarded a bulb to take home.
“This was a very important operation environmentally. If that hill had been destroyed, it would have been a very regrettable missed opportunity,” said Efi Naim.
He added: “It was also a highly educational experience. Schoolchildren came along to help, and for several hours they dug cyclamen bulbs from the ground and gave them a chance to continue living and growing. It’s something that will stay with them all their lives. The youngsters worked with enormous enthusiasm, and I’ve no doubt that those that took part in today’s rescue operation will grow up to be people who will love nature and do their very best to conserve it.”