Gileboom is mentioned as an ecolodge in Ramsar in Lonely Planet guide book.
As Collins English Dictionary defined: ecolodge (ˈiːkəʊˌlɒdʒ ) is a tourist accommodation facility designed to have minimal impact on the environment, often constructed as part of an environmental project.
Eco Lodges are rapidly gaining in popularity as travelers look to help preserve the environment and contribute to the local economies, while minimizing their impact on natural environments and local populations. Traditional accommodation, hotels, hostels, and small inns, often leave a small, but collectively large, footprint on the earth environmentally. With the creation of eco lodge and green travel, travelers are now given the option to positively contribute to their environments while simultaneously experience the richness and beauty of nature. [pygmy-elephan]
The following picture shows the trend of searching ‘ecolodge’ keyword in google from Jan 2004 till Jul 2018, as you can see, it has positive gradient these years.
What are the criteria for an ecolodge?
According to Hitesh Mehta, an eco lodge is an “accommodation facility that satisfies at least five of the criteria listed below, three of which must embody the main principles of ecotourism.”
Those main principles are:
- Conservation of neighboring lands
- Benefits to Local Communities
- Interpretation to both local populations and guests.
Hitesh Mehta’s ten eco lodge Criteria
- Helps in the conservation of the surrounding flora and fauna.
- Tries to work with the local community
- Offers educational interpretive programs to both its employees and tourists about the surrounding natural and cultural environments
- Uses alternative, sustainable means of water acquisition and reduces water consumption
- Provides for careful handling and disposal of solid waste and sewage
- Meets its energy needs through passive design and renewable energy resources
- Uses traditional building technology and materials wherever possible and combines these with their modern counterparts
- During construction has minimal impact on the natural environment
- Blends with local physical and cultural environment through careful attention to form, landscaping and color, as well as the use of local traditional architecture
- Contributes to sustainable local community development through education programs and research
What are Gileboom activities to eligible ecolodge in Ramsar criteria?
Gileboom is located in a village named Ghasem-Abad, 20 kilometers west of Ramsar; it is surrounded with Caspian hyrcanian mixed forest and has a view of the Caspian Sea. With this variation of nature environments around; to be an eco lodge, Gileboom should preserve criteria’s of ecolodge.
1.Helps in the conservation of the surrounding flora and fauna.
- Gileboom offers a wide range of activities (walking, hiking, trekking) from Rudsar to Tonekabon where contains Ramsar, in each of them we have a unique interpretation of surrounding flora and fauna, to introduce the variety of plants growing in our region and animals living there with the aim of conservation of them.
- We produced a booklet of flora and fauna of Qasem Abad village as an awareness program.
- We present main animals in danger of Iran dolls -with the cooperation of an NGO working under SGP programs of UNDP- such as Caspian seal, Flamingos, Neurergus kaiseri
2.Tries to work with the local community
- As an ecolodge in Ramsar ,Gileboom has programs for cleaning the environment such as the cleansing of rural alleys which is done regularly
- Carpentry, thatch working, bringing and dropping stones are kinds of building and maintaining programs in Gileboom which are done with the help of local people employment
- Javaher-Dasht Safari program which is done by local drivers
- Gileboom activity programs such as visiting home-based workshops for felting, pottery, visiting tea factory, Chadorshab weaving are organized in cooperation with the local community with the aim of preserving the local art and culture and reinforcing the sustainable development of the region.
3.Offers educational interpretive programs to both its employees and tourists about the surrounding natural and cultural environments
- When tourists arrive and have their room, we gather together, drinking natural tea and telling them the story of founding Gileboom ecolodge, introducing eastern Guilan culture, the criterion we follow as an ecolodge.
- We have specific interpretation in all hiking and trekking programs for the tourists who attend in order to introduce surrounding natural environment.
- Gileboom set up cultural programs based on traditional rituals of eastern Guilan, one of them is Tir masinza that originates in Tirgan ancient feast and is held to celebrate the protection of water, it is held on Oct. 4th each year.
4.Uses alternative, sustainable means of water acquisition and reduces water consumption
- As one of the sustainable means of water acquisition, Gileboom ecolodge established rainwater harvesting system to conserve water when it’s rainy and use it as gardening, masonry works, showering, and WC. The capacity of rainwater reservoir is more than 12000 liters
- We separate blackwater and greywater and recycle it in mechanical and biological ways. For more information please check this.
5.Provides for careful handling and disposal of solid waste and sewage
- Gileboom activities includes: separation of waste from the source (rooms and the kitchen), holding children recycled crafts exhibition, composting organic waste (100%), using empty bottles for sealing and silencing in the corner of gables, cutting plasters into strings and using them in combination with straw and mud for thatch working, planting Ligustrum Vulgare in recycled plastic and metal containers, upcycling out of service kitchen dresser to a tea table. For more information about our activities please check this.
6.Meets its energy needs through passive design and renewable energy resources
There are some plans for these criteria which are under construction.
7.Uses traditional building technology and materials wherever possible and combines these with their modern counterparts
- Thatch working of the facade of the main building, eco-Kolbe and dining room
- Setting up Konduj (the warehouse of rice stem) as a tree house in Gileboom yard
8.During construction has minimal impact on the natural environment
- We tried to renovate a house rather than construct a new one for Gileboom house to keep the ground without occupying the nature. During the renovation we considered the indigenous architecture and native materials.
9.Blends with local physical and cultural environment through careful attention to form, landscaping and color, as well as the use of local traditional architecture
- Decorating the house bottom with straw and felt, Using Gamej-a clay pot used in Gilan Province- in terrace
- Considering the local architecture in setting up Konduj (the warehouse of rice stem) as a tree house in Gileboom yard, the ecolodge in Ramsar.
- Using blue color for windows and light-brown for fences, and the compatibility of the color of mud walls with that of fences
- Introducing three elements of Guilani animals; Warza (Guilani bull), snake, and white roster by hanging the puppet of them as a symbol
- Planting native trees such as White Poplar (Maple), Persian Ironwood (Asoundar), and Wild Medlar (Anbu) to returning the coverage of ecosystem and supplying the shadows of trees.
10.Contributes to sustainable local community development through education programs and research
- Gileboom is an ecolodge in Ramsar which Presents a book about the protection of the earth as a gift
- Entering into an agreement with two small supermarkets of the village to gather plastic bottles from the rural children and give them an ice-cream in return.
- Filling the plastic bottles with rainwater
- Planting native trees with the help of kids, guests, and people of the village