Three schools from Karmiel - Misgav with their counterparts from Pittsburgh are working together to develop Jewish environmental awareness. The "Eco-Connection" program is run by the Sviva Israel Association and Karmiel - Misgav - Pittsburgh P2G of the Jewish Agency.
The idea behind the program is to generate a Jewish oriented environmental awareness and connect students from partner schools, "Nitzanim" Elementary School and "HaReut" Elementary, both in Karmiel, with their peers from the Pittsburgh Community Day School and the Torah Le'shma Congregation Religious School, also in Pittsburgh. Learning is conducted in experiential workshops that blend state of the art pedagogical tools with the Internet, particularly the Eco-Campus web site, under the close direction and oversight of the classes' teachers.
As a beginning of the school year activity, the Israeli students planted a tree in the school yard to honor their American peers.
Throughout the year, the students study about their global connection and prepare friendship bracelets for their friends in Pittsburgh. They also construct avatars and upload posts to a joint blog that they share in their virtual school. Furthermore, as part of an effort to encourage the safe use of the Internet, they are exposed to issues pertaining to online safety, security, respect for others and slander.
Within the project's framework, students measure their own ecological footprint, comparing them with that of their partner school and make all kinds of discoveries such as the fact that Israeli students are better at resource conservation, less wasteful and therefore, their ecological footprint (the natural resources that people consume and the waste they produce) is lower by some 35% than the American school.
During the school year the students conduct two video conference sessions (the first is held in honor of Tu Be'Shvat and the next one just before Israel Independence Day) in which the students have an opportunity to connect with their partners from abroad. To see a whole classroom of Israeli students standing opposite their counterparts in Pittsburgh, singing together "Hatikva", the Israeli national anthem, bring a unique significance to the lyrics!