Auja’s Environmental Education Center is a focal point for environmental awareness on the importance of the Jordan Valley by teaching visitors and students about the geology, fauna, flora, water resources and cultural heritage of Wadi Auja and the Jordan Valley as a whole.
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EcoPeace was involved in the creation and development of the Auja EcoCenter. Today, the three story building includes a conference room, workshop rooms, an exhibit area, a cafeteria, a guesthouse and a rooftop bird watching area. The guesthouse is also designed to encourage Auja residents, by concrete example, of the potential to initiate other eco-tourism type projects in the community as a means of diversifying incomes of residents who are today wholly dependent on agriculture.
The Auja Spring, desert walks, cultural heritage, bird watching and in the future, access to the River Jordan, represent presently untapped entrepreneurial potential for Auja village residents.
Since 2010 the Auja Environmental Education Center, consisting on a small 12 dunums plot of land north of Jericho in Palestine, was a unique initiative of EcoPeace Middle East, geared to help rehabilitate the Jordan River Valley by raising public awareness of shared water and environmental concerns, promoting cross-border cooperation for solving environmental problems, and developing eco-tourism.
The EcoCenter serves environmental sustainability through integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs, reversing the loss of environmental resources and reducing the loss of biodiversity. It has become a focal point for intensive environmental awareness through the development of environmental “education groves” focusing on the geology, fauna, flora, water resources and cultural heritage of the Jordan Valley.
The EcoCenter focus on empowering local community development in three sectors: youth, adults, and municipal government. The Auja Spring, desert walks, cultural heritage, bird watching and in the future access to the River Jordan represent presently untapped entrepreneurial potential for Auja village residents. Walking trails, biking and other adventure activities into the surrounding desert areas provide the only opportunity of its kind for Palestinians to experience wilderness in an educational setting. The local communities will further benefit from the EcoCenter by selling services and goods, such as locally grown products; honey, pomegranates and olives.
The Ecocenter is an important ecological habitat in the middle of a degraded environment; it are also a powerful tool for environmental education and serves as a tangible symbol for peace and as a support system for bringing communities and beneficiaries of the Jordan Valley together, while respecting the natural environment and cultural heritage of the area. It has become a model for sustainable practice in the Jordan Valley, attracting members of other municipalities, NGOs, the international community, donors, researchers and students.