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Plant Focus

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Quercus douglasii is an endemic California oak tree, affectionately called “the blue oak”.

The Israeli Oak Association

Background

While attending the International Oak Society Conference in Davis, Calif., last October, I was planning my annual oak seminar for 2019, a tradition I initiated in 2013. Upon my return home to Israel, I consulted friends about the possibility of forming IOA (The Israeli Oak Association). All of them reacted with great excitement and approved this idea.

Six of us gathered on November 24, 2018 in Kiryat Tivon:

  • Dr. Omri Boneh, north district manager at the Jewish National Fund
  • Dr. Idan Kofler, research fellow at Shamir institute, Haifa University
  • Professor Yair Lifshitz, Haifa Institute of Technology
  • Amir Trifman, industrial manager
  • Ardyn Halter, artist
  • Ezra Barnea, oak grower, oak collector, and oak lover

A few weeks later Professor Nurit Lissovsky, landscape architect at Haifa Institute of Technology and Offer Bindel, an oak grower an oak lover, joined the group.

We chose "Aloney Israel" (The Oaks of Israel) as the official Hebrew name for The Israeli Oak Association.

It was registered on April 4, 2019 and allocated the ID number #580679934.

Nordia Mt Tabor Oak
Quercus ithaburensis, Nordia, Israel, girth: 322 cm

Mission

IOA’s mission is to raise and improve the status of the oak trees in Israel

Goals

IOA’s main goals are:

- Branding of oak trees

  • Designate the oak tree as the Israeli National Tree
  • Establish an Oak Holiday in October when the acorns ripen
  • Create the Israeli Oak Trail
  • Form relationships with the IOS and other international oak organizations

- Dissemination of knowledge about oaks

  • Run an annual conference
  • Create a website and use digital media
  • Publish a magazine, articles, and oak-related literature
  • Support and finance oak research
  • Train and teach relevant sectors of the community
  • Map and survey all the oaks in the territory through the Israeli Oak Registry (IOR)

- Protection and preservation of oaks

  • Create a network of trustees to monitor, preserve, and protect oak trees in their natural habitat and in populated communities
  • Encourage planting of oak trees in the public and private landscape
  • Encourage the reforestation of oak trees in the wild

Announcement Ceremony

The Association was announced April 2, 2019 in the Ramat Hanadiv Auditorium at a ceremony attended by 85 participants, including foresters, agronomists, representatives from the Society of Protection of Nature and other civil groups, tree growers, arborists, stakeholders, and oak lovers.

  • Dr. Uzi Paz delivered the keynote address: "Once upon a Time There Was an Oak Forest"
  • Dr. Omri Boneh presented a large-scale oak planting by the JNF
  • Dr. Yael Navon presented the oak research in Ramat Hanadiv park
  • Ezra Barnea presented IOR, the Israeli Oak Registry project
  • A video greeting from Shaun Haddock, President of the International Oak Society, was shown

Our next activities include recruiting members, setting up 1-year and 5-year programs, and creating a financial plan.

Videos from the ceremony can be seen here (in Hebrew)