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By MYRON LOVE
The Jewish National Fund is bringing one of Israel’s leading environmental activists to Winnipeg as part of its annual Tu B’Shevat activities. 

Gedalia (Gidi) Bashan - will be in Winnipeg February 3 and February 4 (Tu Bi’Shevat)  to talk about afforestation in Israel, community forests and the Jerusalem green belt, preservation of biblical agriculture and bicycle trails – the latter an area where he is second to none in knowledge.
Bashan will begin his visit to Winnipeg at 2:00 P.M. on February 3, at the Shaftesbury Park Retirement Residence where he will be speaking about cycling trails in Israel
The next day, he will start the morning at the Gray Academy speaking to the Grade 6 class about the JNF’s history, current and future plans. The day’s Gray Academy celebrations will also have students participating in a dance for JNF - an original song and dance composed and sung by one Gidi Koren and an Israeli dance choreographed by Elad Shtamer, both especially commissioned by the JNF Education Department .
This event will mark both pieces’ premieres.  The Gray Academy students will be videotaped and the footage sent to the JNF Education Department, where it will be made into one video and played on Tu Bi’Shevat at the school.
In the afternoon, Bashan will address the Grade 5 and 6 students at Brock Corydon.
As most readers are undoubtedly aware, Tu B’Shevat is a celebration of the rebirth of the trees in Israel.  (Spring begins a little earlier in Israel than it does here.)  And Gidi Bashan has spent his working career in forestry.
In 2003, after earning a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Hebrew University and a Master’s degree in Geography and the History of Israel, Bashan was an Environmental Fellow. In 2006, he became an authorized Bike Trail planner and builder (through IMBA).  Since 1985, he has been with JNF serving as a Forest and Community Ranger for the Judean Hills and Low Lands region.   
Bashan was the first KKL (Keren Kayemet LeIsrael – the JNF’s Israeli name) bike trail builder and planner, involved in the Adulam trail. He also was responsible for the creation of the first “Arab bike trail”, around Ein Rafa village, involving local youth and riders in the planning and building.
   
Bashan is the co-founder of the KKL France Adulam Archeological and Environmental Park.
And he is an authorized guide for groups of youth and adult volunteers, teaching them about local geography, history and Biblical and traditional farming methods. Gidi encourages everyone to get involved and volunteer their time to protect and beautify Israel.
He is also the founder and manager of the Sataf project, which focuses on the re-development and preservation of traditional agriculture and the landscape in the Judean hills. He has been instrumental in leading the “Bustan Hashalom” (the Peace Garden) project in Sataf, teaching cooperation between participating Palestinian and Israeli youth in traditional agriculture techniques and methods
“The Peace Garden group has a special added value,” he is quoted as saying. “Here Jewish and Arab children who would not come into contact under any other circumstances cooperate with one another. And this is no one-off volunteer activity: the project continues all year long.”
For readers wanting more information about Gidi Bashan’s visit, to volunteer to help with the annual JNF Tu B’Shevat telethon Sunday, February 8,  or find out about other family-centred JNF Tu B’Shevat programs, call 204 947-0207 or go online at jnfwinnipeg.ca.

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