By Ron Stang, Special to the Jewish News

Photography by Ron Stang

Dozens of children and their parents turned out on a bitterly cold day at a suburban Windsor nursery to celebrate Tu B’Shevat.

The event featured talks and workshops on planting olive trees, animal rescue and making bird feeders out of bagels. There was also plenty of food on hand in the indoor greenhouse to warm the bodies and add to the event’s spirit.

The nursery, The Bloomin’ Gardener, supplied staff and seedlings so the children could plant and take home olive trees.

“We’ve always done a Tu B’Shevat event but we try and change it up every year — but last year we went to The Bloomin’ Gardener and they were so gracious and they invited us to come back,” said Sarah Shklov, office manager for the Windsor office of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which sponsors the gathering.

“They aren’t members of the community but they’re very interested in supporting us, and so it’s been great to be able to do this, here.”

Children got to watch a demonstration by Erie Wildlife Rescue, a local organization that rescues injured animals, rehabilitates them and sets them free again.

“Even though we’ve been in the community for 40 years a lot of people still don’t know we exist, so we just are explaining what we do with the animals, how we rescue, rehabilitate and release them into the wild,” Erie Wildlife’s Natasha Shepherd says.

Kids watched raptly and shot up their arms to answer questions about different types of animals and suggested how to tell if an animal is injured.

Shklov said Tu B’Shevat, which celebrates trees, ecology and another year in the cycle of tree growth — very symbolic for JNF’s campaign to plant millions of trees in Israel over the organization’s 70-year history — is an ideal children’s event.

“This is an opportunity for the kids from the Shaar school to meet with the kids from the Reform synagogue so it’s a good time to have a joint event that we can celebrate,” she says.

A buffet featuring foods containing the seven seasonings or fruits of Israel was also available, with ingredients that included wheat, barley, figs, pomegranates, and dates.

“They’re representative of the fruits of Israel, which we celebrate on Tu B’Shevat,” Rabbi Lynn Goldstein at Temple Beth El says.