History of the EcoPark
Last Minute Rescue
The Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark (SHE) was founded as a pilot project to finally end the pollution and disregard for the Ziglag Dam Lake and surrounding land in the Jordan River Valley. Exploitation, overgrazing, and erosion had hurt the natural resources tremendously. In the early 2000s, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) mapped the area identifying environmental threats, and was given 11 hectares (110 dunums) of land by the Jordan Valley Authority.
Under the hands of FoEME, this area in the north of the Jordan River Valley and part of the Tabket Fahel (Pella) community started to flourish.
Successful years of the project have increased the area and gave it its name: Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark. Since 2005, the area has been cleaned of garbage and protected from livestock. These measures helped the land to begin to regenerate naturally.
In addition, FoEME staff, rangers from the Ministry of Agriculture, students, and members of the nearby communities, especially the Sheikh Hussein community, planted thousands of trees in SHE.
This restoration has been effective. Rainwater is collected in large quantities, land erosion is being fought, and loss of biological diversity has been reduced.
The Jordan River Valley — a central location for people and nature
The Jordan River Valley, home to the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark, is located in the Great African Rift Valley. It includes the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, touches the Fertile Crescent, and it has long been believed to have been the birthplace of human activities from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Located above the dam, you can see a wonderful view of the entire Jordan River Valley and SHE.
The unique conditions of the area allowed hunter-gatherer societies to develop technologies for agriculture, allowing them to not rely on the roving deer. The first known urban dwellings and the first cities appeared in the Great African Rift Valley.
The Jordan River Valley has a long and rich history. It tells the story of the rise and fall of many historical periods from prehistoric to biblical to the Crusades to the Ottoman empire. Conquerors of the area include prehistoric peoples, Greco-Roman, Nabataean, Christian, Byzantine, Arabs and Muslims, and the Ottoman Empire.
The valley has played an essential role in the three Abrahamic religions. Pilgrimage sites like Mount Nebo, the baptism site of Jesus, and the burial places of many companions of the Prophet Muhammad lure visitors from around the world.