The copious amount of rain that's already poured down on Ramat Hanadiv (151 mm. since the start of the season) has brought out the first lovely flowers of autumn: saffron crocuses (Colchicum stevenii), hyacinth squills (Scilla hyacinthoides), and native narcissus (Narcissus tazetta). Various wild animals, too, are celebrating the arrival of the rainy season with renewed activity. These signs of autumn, combined with the pleasant weather, gives us the perfect window of opportunity for some serious learning experiences in Ramat Hanadiv's Nature Park.
The LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) educational program, now in its seventh year, involves a diverse population of pupils from a dozen primary and middle schools in the greater Ramat Hanadiv area. This year, the program is concentrating on developing research skills by using the data collected and organizing cooperative efforts among participating schools. These began in November with tours on the subject of ecological monitoring, introducing pupils to the monitoring program and the ecological research being pursued at Ramat Hanadiv. They were exposed to the different research methods used for plants and animals, and got some field experience taking samples and doing monitoring in the Nature Park. Even more exciting were the exchange visits and shared activities among pupils in two schools: Keshet Democratic School in Zichron Ya'akov, and the El-Farouk School in Furadis. These encounters quickly demonstrated how curiosity, love of nature, and fun activities can cross boundaries among children.