The Sharhabil bin Hassneh Eco Park was established as a model for preserving ecologically important habitats within the Jordan Valley, increasing public awareness about the natural importance of the area and promoting sustainable development efforts in the basin.
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The Sharhabil Bin Hassneh Eco Park project is embedded in EcoPeace’s larger program of rehabilitating the Jordan River Valley.
Part of rehabilitating the Jordan River is ensuring that the Lower Jordan River is no longer treated as a backyard dumping ground by tourists and residents.
The EcoPark serves as a support system for bringing communities and beneficiaries of the Jordan Valley together in a manner that respects the natural environment and cultural heritage of the area.
Visit the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark‘s website…
In the early 2000s, EcoPeace mapped the area identifying environmental threats, and was given 11 hectares (110 donums) of land by the Jordan Valley Authority, which includes the Ziqlab Dam. The SHE EcoPark in Jordan was officially founded in 2004 as a pilot project starting its transformation from a dusty bare land in the hills of north-western Jordan into a tree-filled, ecological habitat grown to cover 216 donums of land. The Ecological Park Concept has been developed on the basis of successful plans developed for previous projects and the consultation of the local community and representatives. Its ambitious goals include the protection of the Jordan River Valley and its natural habitat, increasing knowledge and interest in the environment locally, regionally and nationally and creating a healthier living options especially to the local community and improving spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing of visitors of the SHE EcoPark.
The EcoPark provides visitors and residents of the Jordan Valley close access to the unique local ecosystem, biodiversity and native species of the region, while simultaneously addressing the environmental implications of development. The numbers of visitors are continually growing, reaching over 20,000 a year. With the development of Ecotourism and more groups coming to learn about the nature and environment, the local communities benefit from the EcoPark by selling services and goods, such as locally grown and made products like honey, pomegranates and olives. This synergy exemplifies sustainable business practices, which celebrate the rewards of continuous giving instead of just profit gain.
Following an eco-minded philosophy and for training purposes, the EcoPark relies on ecofacilities such as wooden eco-cabins, kitchens and toilets housed in recycled containers, greywater systems and water treatment. The outside areas are equipped with additional “learning stations”, each addressing aspects of the environment – water treatment and hygiene, wetland conservation, organic farming, composting and green buildings. These ecotourism facilities train and equip local residents to provide tourism services, generating job opportunities in the community and enhancing the financial sustainability of the EcoParks.
EcoPeace utilizes the Ecoparks to conduct regional activities with youth and adults from Jordan, Palestine and Israel. It offers activities such as hike or bike tours, camp fires, Bedouin lunches or a swing on the zipline. During workshops and hands-on, innovative trainings, participants experience and understand a regional vision of environmental interdependency, challenge stereotypes about the “other” across the border, get introduced to the concept of peaceful environmental cooperation and learn about environmental friendly practices. The Eco Park serves as a system for bringing communities and beneficiaries of the Jordan Valley together in a manner that respects the natural environment and cultural heritage of the area.
The Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark is considered a leading model for preserving ecologically important habitats In Jordan. It offers country living at its best whilst providing ecological benefit back to our land. Since its establishment, wildlife on the park has been flourishing, and the land slowly restores itself from centuries of overgrazing and use. The Park enabled many locals, school groups and tourists to enjoy the beauty of nature in the Jordan Valley and thanks to its ecotourism approach, the EcoPark is further on its way to being fully sustainable.