KKL-JNF Global Landscapes Seminar

KKL-JNF Global Landscapes Seminar

On Thursday, July 9, KKL-JNF organized a seminar on the topic of Global Landscapes at Expo 2015 in Milan, which was entitled "Best Practices in Multi-Purpose Land Use." Seminar speakers included professionals from Israel and representatives of Mincio Park in Mantua.

Over 80 people, most of them professionals, including municipal officials, representatives of parks, students and others, crowded the KKL-JNF compound in the Israel Pavilion at EXPO 2015 in Milan for a seminar on global landscapes management. Demand for participation was so high that registration had to be stopped due to lack of space in the auditorium. The seminar took place in cooperation with the Parco del Mincio- a park in the city of Mantua which is located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy; the Economic and Trade Mission of the Israeli Embassy; and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

Opening remarks were presented by KKL-JNF Southern Region Planning Director Anat Gold, who said that "As a planning professional, I cannot stress how important the global landscape approach is when planning national, regional, restoration and conservation projects. Over the years the world has learned that in order to create healthy ecosystems, which can also be enjoyed by humans, we must look beyond the trees to the entire forest.
"We must understand that it is only together that trees, landscapes, watersheds, rivers, and open spaces create parks and forests, and that only through the holistic view can we see the bigger picture. Only then can we take into account problems related to climate change such as forest fires, pest control and diseases, droughts and water management, in order to create beautiful, healthy parks for people to use and enjoy."

Ms. Natalie Gutman-Chen, Head of Economic and Trade Mission of the Israeli Embassy, presented the work of her office, which is located in Milan, to seminar participants. "We would like to create ties between Israeli companies and technologies and Italian companies. Mincio Park is an excellent example of how Israeli technologies and KKL-JNF's professional expertise can be useful in park rehabilitation."

In a lecture entitled "Principles of New Forest Management Policy in Israel", Hanoch Zoref, KKL-JNF District Forest Manager of the Jerusalem Mountains Forests, brought Martyrs Forest in the Judean Hills as an example of how KKL-JNF plans forest development in a methodic manner, choosing the right species of trees and determining forest size according to a forest master plan. "KKL-JNF's main goal is to give citizens a variety of forest services, including tourism, recreation and access to open spaces," he said.

Ms. Anat Gold spoke about how green lungs in Israel's Negev Desert were also agents of change, specifically citing the case of the Beersheba River Park. "KKL-JNF decided to transform what was formerly a terrible ecological hazard into a beautiful urban park that now includes spacious green lawns, a huge amphitheater, picnic areas and in the future, an artificial lake. New neighborhoods have sprung up around the park and it has been instrumental in changing the way the city of Beersheba is perceived both by local residents and also visitors."

Ms. Gloria De Vincenzi, Mincio Park Communication Coordinator, described the ecological problems and challenges that the park faces. "After seeing what KKL-JNF has accomplished in the Upper Galilee's Hula Lake Park, in river restoration and in other fields, we decided to cooperate with KKL-JNF in harnessing Israeli technologies for water quality improvement, wastewater treatment and more." Mr. Maurizio Pellizzer, the President of Mincio Park, said that one of the park's main goals was to increase collaboration with Israel and KKL-JNF in order to carry out projects that are critical to the park's future.

KKL-JNF Upper Galilee and Golan Heights Forest Supervisor Aviram Zuk related how the Hula Valley restoration project had morphed into Hula Lake Park, which he called "an environmental, ecological and economical success story."After seeing the PowerPoint presentation on Mincio Park, I realized that there is a lot in common to the park and Hula Lake Park. KKL-JNF looks forward to increased cooperation between us and the park authorities."

After Mariagrazia Falcone, the Press Office and PR Director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, described UNESCO sites in Israel, Mr. Aviram Zuk thanked the seminar participants and noted "the very positive atmosphere that we all enjoyed. Italy and Israel share many environmental and ecological challenges, and seminars like this prepare the ground for future collaboration between our two countries."