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Israelis are known for their love of nature. However, for 10% of the Israeli population, a casual walk in the countryside is not a possibility. People with physical, mental and emotional disabilities find it difficult to enjoy out-of-door activities due to lack of physical accessibility or explanations suitable to their individual needs. The majority spend their time within the four walls of institutions, with few extracurricular activities to enrich their lives.

In response to the overwhelming need to expose all people to the wonders of nature, LOTEM, Integrated Nature Studies has created programming which enables special needs populations to take part in specially designed activities every year. These include men, women and children who are visually and hearing impaired, physically and mentally challenged, emotionally disturbed, and at risk of physical or emotional abuse. LOTEM’s participants are made up of groups of all ages – from children in special kindergartens to residents of homes for the aged. Our participants are Jews, Christians, Moslems and Druze, as well as integrated groups which have been organized according to need rather than religion or race. LOTEM serves all socio-economic groups. Participants come from schools, assisted living apartments, and institutions located across the country – from northern border villages to small development towns. By opening its doors to all special needs populations, LOTEM enables approximately 5,000 visitors each year to enjoy the glories of nature in a suitable and accessible environment.

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