Girl Scouts Troops of Amman Visit the SHE

IMG_9727

On December 6th, 2014, I visited the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark (SHE), located north of the Dead Sea, near Jordan’s eastern border. The EcoPark is part of EcoPeace Middle East’s (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East) Neighbors Path program, which provides walking trails, natural spaces and local ecotourism opportunities for Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli communities. Neighbors Paths are a key component of EcoPeace’s Good Water Neighbors program. Prior to my visit, I learned from SHE’s website that the park has three main objectives:

IMG_9764

 

  1. Highlight the importance of preserving ecological habitats in the Jordan River Valley
  2. Increase public awareness and interest among both the local and international community
  3. Promote sustainable development efforts in local communities

 

IMG_9729I was able to see all of these goals in action during my visit on a sunny weekend afternoon with the Girl Scouts Troops of Amman. The young girls are a diverse group – Jordanians, Americans and Europeans from international schools in Amman, and Iraqi refugees – and the EcoPark is a wonderful space in which to bring everyone together. The tour of the park was conducted in both Arabic and English, and provided a chance for the girls to learn about local plants and ecosystems and simply enjoy the fresh air, climb trees and run and play in the grassy open fields – pleasures that are difficult to experience in urban Amman. Visitors to the park also have an opportunity to see sustainable development models in practice, such as solar-powered hot water heaters and electricity generators, composting and recycling, and internal water purification systems. The park also encompasses the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh Dam (Ziqlab Dam), which was Jordan’s first dam, constructed in 1964.

 

After I enjoyed a walk with the Girl Scouts through the forested trails near EcoPeace’s Information Center and IMG_9733ecotourism lodges, I went to see the park’s newly installed 26-kilowatt solar panels, aptly positioned on a ridge behind the lodges with full exposure to the dazzling sun. These panels provide power to the information center and tourism lodges; they are carbon neutral, efficient, and sustainable. The panels are also a smart technology, built with solar trackers to adjust automatically to the position of the sun.

 

The rolling green hills, shady forest of tall pines, and sounds of birdsong are a sharp contrast to the barren land that the park once was. EcoPeace Middle East, along with the help and continued collaboration of local Bedouin communities, has transformed the region into an invaluable natural space for environmental education and natural resource conservation.

 

 This post is contributed by Olivia Gilmore, GWN intern at the Amman Office 

Advertisements

BATTIR REGISTERED AS A WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN DANGER

EcoPeace Middle East

June 21, 2014

n1

 EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is very glad to report that after many years of relentless work towards protecting the beautiful terraced landscape of Battir, yesterday afternoon UNESCO registered Battir as a World Heritage site in danger.

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director at FoEME says: “at this difficult moment of continued violence in the region, Battir remains a ray of hope for cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians towards a better future.”

Nader Khateeb, FoEME’s Palestinian Director added: “FoEME now awaits the decision of the High Court of Israel as to whether the court will prevent the building of the Separation Barrier and accept FoEME’s petition that there are alternative means to maintain security without destroying what is officially, as of yesterday, a site of World Heritage to all of humanity”.

FoEME congratulates the Battir Village Council, our “Good Water Neighbor” communities, local Palestinian…

View original post 49 more words

Workshop on Implementing the Arab Peace Initiative at the Jordanian – Palestinian Level

EcoPeace Middle East

006

Amman, Jo

007On Saturday, the 14th of June, 2014 representatives from Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” attended a workshop on implementing the Arab Peace Initiative at the Jordanian- Palestinian level. The event that was organized by United Religious Initiative – MENA, a non-profit organization that aims at encouraging interfaith cooperation and inter-cultural understanding, in cooperation with The Center for Democracy and Community Development based in East-Jerusalem, falls under the program ‘Building sustainable Peace through the API: Regional Civil Society Initiative’ in line with the EU Partnership for Peace program.

View original post 338 more words

A PORTRAIT OF A RIVER

EcoPeace Middle East

jr

In 1845, Lieutenant William Francis Lynch of the United States and Confederate State Navies sailed on behalf of the US Hydrographic Office in an expedition to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. Later, he wrote a book dubbed “Narrative of the United States’ Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea” where he described his “attempt to explore a distant river and its wondrous reservoirs” (v) and spoke of his dissent from Lake Tiberias to the Dead Sea through the meandering Jordan River.

View original post 2,211 more words

International Collaboration for the Rehabilitation of the Jordan River Tour

EcoPeace Middle East

021

EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East organized and led an ambassadors tour to the Jordan Valley on Saturday the 7th of June, 2014. The purpose of the tour was to bring attention to the problems facing the Valley including Solid Waste Management, Sanitation, Agriculture and Farming Practices.  FoEME, in this regard has produced a  regional master plan for the Lower Jordan River and identified a set of interventions that aim at advancing peace, prosperity and sustainability in the Lower Jordan River Valley.

View original post 281 more words

Faithbased Tours to Rehabilitate the Jordan River, An Ongoing Success

EcoPeace Middle East


mosque_of_abu_ubaidah

On the 6th of May, 2014 representatives from FoEME led a Muslim tour to the Jordan Valley. The tour is a part of the faithbased campaign launched by FoEME that targets religious leaders from the three Abrahamic faiths to raise awareness to the degradation of the Jordan River and the need  for its rehabilitation.

View original post 229 more words

Popes Visit to the Jordan River

EcoPeace Middle East




photo 2 (17)

Amman, Jo

On the occasion of the first visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land and Jordan starting on the 24th of May, Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” would like to bring attention to the shared significance of the Jordan River to all faiths in the region, and the need to garner support to rehabilitate the river from its current polluted state. 

View original post 218 more words