Gardens in the desert … at school

The Israeli town of Dimona in the heart of the Negev is relying on ecological solutions to improve the living conditions of its inhabitants – a novel initiative involving a number of players, including the schools.

Environment and Biodiversity

Israel Dimona, Israel

Amon Fishbain

20,000 euro to the Selection Committee at 2006/07/04

Project leader

Sustainable Development for the Negev

"Over and above its obvious environmental benefits, this project will create jobs for the population of Dimona. It will help strengthen the children's attachment to their town and may prevent them making the decision to leave it once they reach adulthood."
Amon Fishbain

Scorching temperatures most of the year, annual rainfall close to zero: the Negev desert in southern Israel is very hot and very dry. Both water and vegetation are scarce. In Dimona, the third-largest town in the region, known for its proximity to Israel's first nuclear research center, the paved streets are constantly invaded by sand from the desert and green spaces are rare. The town is poor, with little activity and not much in the way of good-quality infrastructure.

Biological farming and outdoor lessons

Well aware of the poor living conditions of a large section of the population, the town's mayor launched an ambitious program in March 2005 to win ISO 14001 certification, in partnership with the non-profit organization Sustainable Development for the Neguev . The initiatives currently being developed are creation of green spaces, waste sorting, improving water quality, promoting clean energies and teaching children to respect the environment.
To achieve this last objective, the organization decided to set up children's gardens in the four schools - Beguin, Nave, Itshak Sade and Shilo – as a place of recreation and learning for the children.
In each garden, five clearly distinct spaces will be developed: a botanical garden where the children will cultivate fruit trees and the flora of the Negev using biological methods; a space dedicated to animals and insects, with laying hens and burrows for ground squirrels; a space set aside for artistic creation and a space for producing compost to facilitate cultivation of rare plants. The fifth space consists of a small outdoor classroom surrounded by logs where teachers can give lessons on environmental conservation.

Convinced of the intelligence and relevance of these different ideas, the Veolia foundation decided to support the project, which will substantially enhance Dimona schoolchildren's living conditions.

L'orthographe anglaise du désert (et de la région) est Negev. Je note que l'association utilise dans son nom l'orthographe "Neguev", que j'ai laissé, tout en utilisant l'orthographe correcte ailleurs.