Contact: Ariel Vered • JNF Communications Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 227 • firstname.lastname@example.org
January 17, 2011 – New York, NY – 2011 is turning out to be a big year for trees!
The United Nations recently designated this year “International Year of the Forest." Jewish National Fund (JNF) is celebrating its 109th birthday. And this week, we celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year for Trees on January 20. Visit www.jnf.org/trees to plant a tree in honor of Tu Bishvat.
A celebration of spring’s rebirth and renewal, over the years the holiday has become about planting trees in Israel, making it JNF's holiday. Perhaps no other organization is as strongly associated with a holiday as Jewish National Fund is with Tu Bishvat.
Today, Jewish people everywhere plant trees in Israel to celebrate the holiday. This year, in keeping with tradition, during the week of Tu Bishvat, tens of thousands of schoolchildren, immigrants, soldiers, and Israelis, young and old, will go out and plant trees all over Israel.
But not necessarily in the Carmel Forest.
On December 2, Israel experienced the worst fire of its history, turning the lush green landscape to black. Forty-four people lost their lives, an estimated 5.4 million trees were burned in the fire, hundreds of homes were destroyed or severely damaged, and thousands of animals were killed. The area of destruction, natural woodlands and planted forests, is equal to a third of the entire Carmel Forest reserve or 7,000 football fields. As the magnitude of the fire became clear, JNF launched Operation Carmel Renewal, an emergency fundraising campaign to repair the vast environmental damage to the Carmel and provide firefighters with much-needed equipment and supplies.
While a desire to replant immediately is an understandable reaction to such widespread destruction, rehabilitating the Carmel will involve much more than simply planting new trees. The process will be guided by natural regeneration, with human intervention carefully planned and coordinated.
Alongside natural regeneration, limited areas will be prepared for eventual planting of indigenous trees once the state of the forest is thoroughly evaluated. New plantings will mostly be focused around recreation areas, allowing the public to gradually return to and enjoy the Carmel’s unique landscape.
The UN’s announcement of 2011 as the Year of the Forests aims to raise awareness on sustainable management of the world’s forests, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. Sustainably developing the land of Israel for its people through afforestation and environmental research and development is an integral part of JNF’s mission. JNF national forest development work creates “green lungs” around congested towns and cities throughout Israel, and provides recreation and respite for all Israelis.
For more information, contact Ariel Vered at 212-879-9305 ext. 227 or avered@ jnf.org
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.