Green Order – the Mechinot Aid the Restoration of the Israeli Forests

Trainees of the mechinot – Israel's educational institutes for pre-military training and civilian involvement – joined KKL-JNF to restore and preserve the Israeli forests.

Hundreds of trainees came to the Lahav, Malachim, Sataf and Carmel forests, and aided in nurturing and cleaning them. Noya Elbaz, a trainee at the Aderet Mechina, said, "This is a very significant project, beyond the educational and practical experience that we go through, you know that you are doing something for the environment and the country."

The participating mechinot are Mechinat Amichai, responsible for the Lahav Forest, Mechinat Aderet, responsible for the Malachim Forest, Mechinat Yesodot, responsible for the Sataf Forest and Mechinat Kerem, responsible for the Carmel Mountains.

Training is led by a KKL-JNF forester, who leads the trainees once a week through the chosen forests, as well as field activity of the trainees, in order to bring in the surrounding towns as well. These sessions are often attended by KKL-JNF forestry and planning professionals, who enrich the knowledge of the trainees on forest issues.

As part of the project, the trainees act as a leadership group titled "Forest Patrol" while learning of forest management and connecting, along with the nearby towns, to the forest and to the values of protecting natural sites and developing environmental responsibility.

This is the eights year of the special collaboration between the mechinot council and the KKL-JNF education division, which aims at promoting the educational values shared by KKL-JNF and the mechinot – loving and building the country. The connection between KKL-JNF activities and the environmental contribution of the mechinot trainees is natural and necessary, in light of the many years of collaboration and the ambition of developing Israeli leadership in the near future. Beyond the Zionist value, the program also provides aid to trainees from disadvantaged areas and accompanies them. Other than forest restoration, the trainees also go through field and patrol training, which prepare them for their military service.

פעילות מכינת עמיחי ביער להב. צילום: באדיבות קק"לMechinat Amichai activity at the Lahav Forest. Photograph: KKL-JNF

As part of this project, the mechinot council and KKL-JNF seek to strengthen Zionist activity in the KKL-JNF forests among trainees from all over the country. In its soil development, forestry and Zionist educational activities, KKL-JNF plays an important part in protecting natural areas and developing them. KKL-JNF afforestation project, which takes the sustainable development approach, is meant to ensure the quality of life and the environment for all the social sectors in Israel, in the current and future generations.

KKL-JNF Chair Ifat Ovadia Luski: "We are proud to lead the Forest Protectors project as one of our flagship projects, which brings together values of Zionism, soil development and love for the country. The forest areas shape the variety of the country's landscapes, and they play a crucial role in maintaining the ecological system. Protecting these areas contributes to the quality of life, and to our national strength. KKL-JNF and the mechinot collaborate in a wide variety of fields, and we are glad that they take part in protecting and maintaining the forests. Together, we will protect the Israeli forests."

Noya Elbaz, a trainee at Mechinat Aderet, spoke of the project: "within the 'Forest Patrol Project' of KKL-JNF, we have adopted a forest in which a group of several mechnia trainees volunteer to do what is needed to take care of the forest, preserve it and leave our own mark."

"This is a very significant project, beyond the educational and practical experience that we go through, you know that you are doing something for the environment and the country, with the results relevant for many years to come.We learn a lot about vegetation, and new ways to maintain the forest. The people are very nice, and there is always a guide with us. I'm glad that we adopted the forest, and recommends it to all the other mechinot.