Parque del Agua: Innovative eco-ideas in Zaragoza
Parque del Agua recently received its recertification by Green Globe attaining an outstanding compliance score of 88%.
Alberto Ipas, Managing Director at the park said, “Parque del Agua is the first Urban Park to achieve Green Globe certification and we are very proud of it. Walking in the park is free for everybody and there are also plenty of other activities to engage in that are beneficial for one’s health and wellbeing.”
Various paths, roads and tracks wind through the property where adults and children can run or walk. Every year Parque del Agua organizes several open races where thousands of people join the walking and running competitions. Competitors can choose from two circuits, a 5km or a 10 km course. Over the last five years there has been a 20% increase in the number of competitors taking part in running events.
Watersports are another fun activity at the park. Canals are excellent waterways in which to begin cannoning or kayaking as there are no currents, the water is not deep and conditions are not affected by the wind. Many children start practicing at the canals and once their confidence is up, they attempt sailing on the open waters of the river. Since offering this attraction the number of people enjoying water activities on the river has doubled.
Parque del Agua is constantly improving its sustainable operations and relies on a symbiotic balance to maintain eco-systems. An island of 7,000 m2 dedicated to bird conservation has been created in the middle of the park and only visitors with bird monitors are permitted inside. Wild native birds are encouraged to make their homes in nests established where they will not be disturbed by human activity. The birds have access to food and they also eradicate insects such as wasps, mosquitoes or flies. As a result, there has been a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. The initiative has proved successful and the number of wild birds living at the park has doubled over time.
Parque del Agua is an urban park located inside a city of 700,000 inhabitants. Four times a year, a flock of five hundred sheep are brought in to take advantage of the tall grass that grows on vacant land within the park, next to the river. The sheep stay for one month and eat tons of grass that helps prevent the incidence of fires occurring in summer. The sheep manure also fertilizes the land. This means the use of pesticides, chemical products and ground maintenance is unnecessary in these areas thereby resulting in substantial savings. Mr. Ipas appeared on several national news programs in Spain last year to promote this successful sustainable idea to the public.
The vegetable garden is another innovative social and environmental initiative that gives back to the community. The park has allocated 5,000 m2 of land to cultivate the production of typical local vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, onions, carrots, cucumber and natural herbs. Many children observe the vegetables growing and once a week vegetables are donated to local residents. Last year a total of 2,000 kilograms of eco-vegetables were given away.
“The garden is like an open vegetable museum where the children benefit by learning how their food is produced. In addition, it’s wonderful knowing that the vegetables are eaten rather than going to waste,” concluded Mr. Ipas.
See Parque del Agua’s sustainable strategies for further information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNU0oZtfzc8&feature=youtu.be
About Green Globe Certification
Green Globe is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe is based in California, USA and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe is an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). For information, please visit www.greenglobe.com
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