New Sign Installed at the Vickar Scenic Lookout

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

KKL-JNF is dedicated to protecting nature and to informal education for all ages. The new sign with information about pelicans at the Vickar Scenic Lookout that was initiated by local nursery schools is a perfect expression of both goals.

MaKoreh B’Kfar
July 7, 2017

Something Happens at the Vickar Scenic Lookout

At an extraordinary ceremony that took place at the Vickar Scenic Lookout at the Mishmar Hasharon water reservoir, which was attended by children from the Alon, Ela, Erez and Agas nursery schools from the nearby moshavim Olash and Be’erotayim, a new sign with information about the common pelican, which was initiated and designed by the nursery schools, was installed at the scenic lookout. The information on the sign was written with the assistance of Chief KKL-JNF Ornithologist Yaron Charka, who spoke with the nursery school children during the year on the topic of pelicans.

According to Yaron Charka, the entire global migrating population of common pelicans passes over the Israel, and the Vickar Scenic Lookout is one of the pelicans’ eating stops. He said that every autumn, thousands of pelicans come to the scenic lookout along with thousands of people who come to watch them. The people include nursery school children from the nearby moshavim of Olash and Be’erotayim, who fell in love with the pelicans and decided to install a sign with information about them, in order to enrich visitors’ knowledge.

An adult pelican eats about one kilogram of fish daily, and the fishing is done in flocks. In the past, the pelicans used to stop at the Hefer Valley swamps during their annual voyage to Africa to “fill up” and to store energy for the remainder of their long journey. Today, the pelicans can enjoy two “filling” stations: one in the Hula Valley and the other at the Mishmar Hasharon water reservoir. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority, together with the Fishing Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, populate the reservoir with fish exclusively intended for the pelicans.

The Vickar Scenic Lookout at the Mishmar Hasharon water reservoir is a beautiful spot at which to view water birds. Together with Afikei Mayim, KKL-JNF built the scenic lookout as part of its activities related to birdwatching in Israel, which is called “KKL-JNF Wings – KKL-JNF’s Nationwide Birdwatching Network”. The Vickar Scenic Lookout towers above the Mishmar Hasharon reservoir, one of the water reservoirs built by KKL-JNF in the Emek Hefer region. The reservoir collects floodwaters from the Alexander River and is also used to store water for other reservoirs and to fill them. Around the reservoir, a scenic garden was planted, including a lawn and flowers that attract butterflies and insects. The garden includes an accessible path that climbs up to the scenic lookout, which is named for Larry and Tova Vickar, friends of KKL-JNF from Canada, whose generous contribution made building the lookout possible.