Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Walk in the Park

Life in Israeli is full of variety. Yesterday was no exception. It was the completion of several months of planning for the annual sponsored Walk which, for the last 5 years, my wife and I have organized.

What for? you ask. Well here in Haifa there is a special ed school dealing with children who have all sorts of learning problems,

The children at the Center suffer from a wide range of learning disabilities such as: dyslexia, dysgraphia, A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder), hyperactivity, perceptual handicaps, etc. Since learning disabil
ities occur in many forms: visual, auditory, motor control, communication, logic etc. effective correction must include a total approach to the educational, physiological, psychological and medical needs of the individual child

The treatment at the Center is holistic, an approach that looks upon the total child not only his specific learning disability. The multi-disciplinary staff of over 20 therapists and teaching specialists provide a uniquely tailored program for each child.

So where did we walk? You ask. Well, in Zichron Yaacov some 30 mins south of Haifa, there is the most amazing park, Park Ramat Hanadiv
http://www.ramat-hanadiv.org.il/lobby.aspx?boneId=334 covering 1125 acres. We were received with great enthusiasm by the staff , who were extremely cooperative also during the planning stage

The Park offers a four-way study-action plan, ongoing until today:

1) The Research Approach for understanding the basic knowledge about the ecosystem and its processes.
2) Archeological Excavations and unveiling of ancient sites throughout the park.
3) Preparing the park for day hikes: A set of trails was created, leading to the main points of interest. All trails are circular - beginning and ending at the Visitors Pavilion.
4) Active Management: The Nature Park management seeks to conserve and nurture diverse habitats to support rich and attractive biodiversity.
The hiking trails traverse archaeological sites, lookout points, a spring and wishing well, and a rich variety of flora that bloom in spring as well as in winter. Self-guided tours of the Memorial Gardens ,containing Baron and Baroness Rothschild's crypt, intended for the disabled with explanations in Braille.

In spite of hot and sultry weather, we managed to complete one of the two trails planned. We then retired to the “Green” pavilion to learn about
1. Planning a sustainable environmentally friendly site, minimizing damage to the environment during the process of construction.
2. Saving water and ensuring efficient consumption.
3. Enhanced exploitation of energy in the building and use of renewable energy sources.
4. Conserving materials and sources – e.g. recycling construction materials in order to reduce the consumption and quarrying of new materials.
5. The internal environment in the building – such as specifications for producing a more comfortable environment for those living in the building.
A picnic lunch followed (thankfully the weather had cooled down) where participants received their certificates of participation and thanks from a grateful staff of the Haifa Center

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