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    Dez Protected Area in southern Iran

    Dezfol - Dez Protected Area in southern Iran


    The Dez protected area, spreading over 16,000 hectares is located on the two sides of the Dez River. Some 5,000 hectares of the Dez protected area is a wild life refuge. The Dez wild life refuge is considered the most important habitat of the Iranian yellow deer. Various other animal species abound in the area. The Dez River basin has been the site of some great civilizations in history. The Elamite king, Ontash, had built a place 50 kms from Shoush city. This building is better known as Dorantash and includes Ziggurat, which functioned as a temple. Khuzestan Province possesses special climatic conditions due to its location on the slopes of the Zagros mountain chains.

    Iran's major river, Karoun, has its source in the Zagros. Other important rivers that flow through Khuzestan such as Maroun, Dez, Karkheh and Hendijan, also rise in the Zagros Mountains.

    Sediments from these water resources have turned Khuzestan into flat green plain rich in agriculture. The fertile soil of this area provides excellent cultivation for sugarcane, citrus fruits, and dates. The water resources in the area are the reason for dense forests in several parts of Khuzestan, particularly around the Dez and Karkheh rivers. In view of this, these areas are considered as protected.

    Dez River is fed by two main tributaries, the Sezar and Bakhtiari streams that flow into Khuzestan from the neighbouring Lorestan Province. Dez River, in its meandering course to join the River Karoun, north of Ahwaz, flows past the cities of Dezfoul, Shoushtar, and Shoush. The huge Dez hydroelectric dam is built on the Dez River.

    The region's vegetation is made up of various types of tropical and semi-tropical plants. This type of vegetation includes different types of trees and various plants. Due to abundant water and dense forests, the Dez area has a rich variety of birds, both migratory and local, in addition to various reptiles. The streams have several species of fishes.

    The Dez Dam is a large hydroelectric dam built in Iran in 1963.

    The dam is on the Dez River, the closest city being Dezful the only way to access the dam in the Northwestern province of Khuzestan. It is 214 metres high, making it one of the highest in the world, and has a reservoir capacity of 3,340 million cubic meters.

    At the time of construction, the Dez Dam was Iran's biggest development project. From Andimeshk it is 15 minutes easy drive. It is also possible to visit powerhouse which is located at the left of the dam in the mountains. The powerhouse has eight vertical Francis turbines.

    The current problem with this dam is annual loss of reservoir capacity due to the erosion of soil in upstream areas. The water from the reservoir irrigates 160 square km.

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    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.