Modi’in, nestled halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is a young and rapidly growing city, sitting on a main ecological corridor. As a result, the plans for development, and even harmful expansion threaten this very ecological corridor, which fosters the presence of a rich biodiversity and provides an open passage to wild animals. SPNI’s efforts in Modi’in are particularly critical and relevant now while the hills and archaeological sites surrounding it are still the region’s main source of open natural landscapes.
The Modi’in Kehila has since identified a number of open spaces within the city that they are pushing to preserve and integrate into a network of urban nature sites. These areas will provide respite for the city’s residents while preserving the local habitat and its unique heritage. The Kehila is now working to amend the city’s Master Plan under these guidelines.
SPNI’s professional and public activities have led to a significant change amongst all the stakeholders. As of September 2008, Modi’in Community representatives have been included in the Ministry of Housing and Construction Steering Committee for the City. This involvement enables SPNI to have significant input, at an early stage, on any future development plans for Modi’in.
The Modi’in Kehila’s outreach activities include:
♦ SPNI's Modi'in community is involved in every aspect of environmental education, from prgrams in schools and kindergartens to extracurricular activities and afterschool programs.
♦ Orienteering, SPNI's youth movement, are involved with a wide array of environmental issues. From fourth grade to 12th grade, these children and teenagers absorb, through learning and social action, the importance of the environment and involvement in the community. The same students who reach 10th-12th grades serve as 'madrichim' (counselors) for younger participants. In addition, orienteering groups also blaze trails and maintain already existing nature trails in open spaces around the city.
♦ Public activities focus on events like free nature tours for area residents in cooperation with community volunteers; inservice days that focus on nature and development plans; community archeological digs. Orienteering groups take an active role in public events.
♦ SPNI Modi'in also organizes an annual environmental course, aimed at involving the community in learning about their environment and how to get involved in maintaining and improving their quality of life.
♦ Participation in local planning committees- SPNI Modi'in's environmental planner follows development plans for Modi'in and its surroundings in order to maintain an SPNI presence in planning committees, which in turn holds planners accountable to a higher environmental standard.
Major Initiatives and Successes
♦ Campaign to prevent new construction in the city’s southern hills, an area with special ecological significance and archeological sites.
♦ Titora Hill Campaign: Aiming to save the hill, which offers accessible nature and archeological sites, from new construction. SPNI is working with the local authority to have the area designated as a protected open space.
♦ Campaigning to prevent the irresponsible expansion of Road No. 4 (destroying large parts of the Ben Shemen Forest)
Address: 29 Irusim, Re'ut
Phone: +972- (0) 8-971-7686