In the month of June, Ramat Hanadiv hosted seventeen meteorologists involved in the study of climate, hydrology, agricultural meteorology, and the development of agricultural infrastructures. Participants in an international course on climate change and its effect on agriculture, they arrived in Israel under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry and the Meteorological Service.
An important component of the course demonstrates and emphasizes how Israel is coping with climate change, and this is the second year that Ramat Hanadiv has been on the official itinerary. The scientists' visit opened with a screening of the film, Beyond the Gardens, which shows the rather precarious start of modern Israeli agriculture in the late 1800's and early 1900's, and the almost insurmountable difficulties that confronted Jewish pioneers at the time. Rare photos and archival material show how the broad vision and involvement of Baron Edmond de Rothschild and his wife Adelheid contributed to agricultural development in our area in particular, and to Israel in general, and played a critical role in the transition to modern agricultural methods.
Continuing their visit, the guests made their way to the Ecological Footprint where they could see before them the importance of sustainability and the kind of gardening that fosters it. Alongside the Sustainable Garden, they had a chance to learn about Ramat Hanadiv's computerized meteorological station.
Perhaps the most important part of this intense day was the review of the research being conducted at Ramat Hanadiv on climate change and its effects on the ecosystem. Researchers from these fields summarized their studies and answered questions from other participants. One presentation featured the multi-spectral camera atop the research tower in Nahal Hanadiv. The camera, which takes pictures using light waves that the human eye can't see, helps reveal the internal condition of trees and shows, in real time, the processes they are undergoing, such as dehydration during periods of drought.
Despite their busy schedule, the guests insisted on seeing the Memorial Gardens and the crypt of the Rothschilds. They also heard about the horticultural methods used in the gardens, the various ways we cope with drought, and the development of gardening styles and technologies suited to Israel's particular climatic conditions. The visitors, who hailed from China, Kenya, Nigeria, Bosnia, the Czech Republic and other far-flung nations, expressed curiosity and amazement as they asked a multitude of questions. And at the end of the day, their opinions were unanimous -- they all had had a marvelous time.