- On September 13th, the new Academic Team including Cathie Granit the new Program Director, Barbara Finkel the new Campus Life Director, Dane Cooper, the new Academic Coordinator, Brenda Hausler, the new Admissions Coordinator as well as the Dr. Elli Groner, the Academic Director and Michelle Shachar, Director of PELS, kicked off the opening of the Academic year with a faculty meeting. The meeting reviewed the achievements of last year as well as the expectations for the coming year, the new developments in the relationship with BGU, admissions (about 35 students expected in the fall semester) and the start of construction of new dorms.
- The next day, 35 members of staff and a few family members, went on a two day staff seminar. The following report was provided by Michael Edmeston, the new Administrative Intern who replaced Tamar Norkin:
- Staff Trip September 14th - 15th, 2010
- Early Tuesday morning the Arava staff gathered at the kibbutz bus station and began a two day tour of interesting ecological projects taking places across the country. The theme of the tour was ‘sustainable food production’. Included in the itinerary were four selected projects: Bio Bees Biological systems located at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu in; Emek Netofa a model for cooperative farming in the Bet Netofa Valley; EcoOcean Marine Research and Education operating in the Red Sea and; Hava and Adam an ecological farm near the city of Modi’in in central Israel.
- Bio-Bees Biological Systems: On arrival at Bio-Bees the group was introduced to the concept rearing beneficial insects and mites as a means for pest control in the agricultural industry. Here we were presented with what can be best described as a nature documentary that utilized the best in 1980’s horror film sound-effects to enlighten the public as to how this concepts works. As a progressive and ecologically thinking company, their objective is to provide the agricultural industry with an chemical-free alternative to protect crops against the invasion of destructive pests. After a brief tour of the kibbutz’s other environmental projects (such as the installation of owl houses in agricultural fields) we made our way to a seemingly enchanted picnic area located on the kibbutz where we enjoyed delicious home prepared bread, pastries and cakes combined with other typical Mediterranean cuisine such as hummus, pickled and fresh vegetables and dolmades.
Hugging Trees at Kibbutz Sde Eliayhu
- Al Batuf Valley (Emek Bet Netufa): After reluctantly packing up our lunch, we left Bio-Bees and headed further north towards Galilee and specifically the Bet Netofa Valley. On reaching the ascent overlooking the Valley area we were greeted by Laithi Gnaime, an Arava Institute alumnus, who explained to us his work and vision in developing the valley into model for sustainable and organic farming. The overarching aim of his project is to increase the Valley’s sustainability, independence, and economic viability. The main vehicles for this are the encouragement of traditional and organic agricultural methods, the establishment of an agricultural cooperative to educate, organize, and market the products of this agriculture, and the cultivation of the Valley as a destination for eco-tourist travel.
Preparing the meal from freshly picked vegitable garden