The Edremit Wetland Conservation is a non-profit effort dedicated to the conservation of an endangered wetland in Dalyan-Edremit, located in northwest of Turkey.

While Turkey has one of the largest percentages of wetlands in the world with 70 distinct wetland sites, these areas are in danger of shrinking or disappearing altogether. The Edremit-Dalyan coastal wetlands area is one such endangered area. As the community's tourism industry and housing needs grow, the wetlands are being filled for new constructions. Mining activities, used geothermal waters, and wastewater from olive mills which is the traditional industry of the area, are polluting the surrounding waters. The total ecosystem in Edremit area is being threatened by these factors. The wetland sits just a few hundred feet from the beautiful Akcay beaches which attract over a million tourists every summer. Edremit also annually hosts the Zeytinli Rock Festival every August bringing in thousands of people from around the country and even across Europe. Kazdağı, the ancient Mount Ida, is also nearby in the area known in ancient times as the Troad ("land of Troy"). Surrounded with legends and history, Kazdağı (1774 meters, 5820 feet) today is a center of attraction for growing “eco-tourism,” an approach based on enjoying the nature without adversely affecting it. Kazdağı, offers access to endemic plant and animal species as well as different recreational activities including hiking, mountain biking and horse riding. The area is also a popular destination for health tourism due to high oxygen levels and geothermal water springs with water rich in natural vitamin and minerals. Numerous hotels offer variety of services to allow their visitors to utilize these natural resources available in the Edremit area.

Edremit area is already a popular tourist destination, with many hotels not far from these very wetlands. Filling in the wetlands for more building room has been proposed not only for housing but also for tourism purposes. However, building more hotels might not benefit the tourism industry of the region when it destroys something that can be a destination for visitors from around the world. The addition of community walking paths alone makes the area into a wetland park that tourists can enjoy. The possibility of water sports and fitness activities only increases the probability of tourists visiting. As of today, Turkey does not have a wetland park anywhere in their country, with the development of our park it would generate a large amount of traffic to the area, thus benefiting the local businesses and hotels.

By building the water research facility, the wetlands have another attraction for tourists to engage with. Eco-tourism is already a draw in the area, with secluded hotels, scenic hikes, and hunting retreats gaining in popularity. The water research institute and wetlands park will only add to the region's eco-tourism industry. Families looking for educational and interactive destinations as well as nature-lovers will be interested in visiting the facility. It will also bring these visitors out from nearby mountainous and forested areas and closer to many of the local businesses. When tourists are in the area to visit the wetlands, they will eat, shop, and enjoy the other attractions nearby, increasing economic growth opportunities.

In the center of the wetland is a Water Treatment Facility that is currently operational, but since 2001 it has been shut down and has been dumping an excessive amount of untreated waste into the sea each day. Edremit's water treatment facility is working at capacity, yet agriculture and mining runoff along with used geothermal waters from local hotels are still sometimes being drained through a nearby canal into the sea, causing unpleasant sight and odor in the area. Filtering this water through the wetlands using a process of bioremediation allows greater capacity at the treatment plant for Edremit's growing population and tourism industry. It also provides a reserve of clean, fresh water that can be reused by the community and as irrigation at local farms. The area has still not fully recovered from this disaster and the wetland and surrounding city is in need of this incredibly important biome. The government is building housing developments and hotels are expanding into the wetland and the perimeter is shrinking yearly; eventually there will be no wetland left.

Conserving the Edremit wetland and establishing a wetland park will be a complementary component to ecological richness of the region and will offer a unique touristic attraction while being a center for community and public education about environmental sustainability and protection.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Bachelor of Science Program

Edremit Wetland Conservation and Park Project is being jointly developed by the students of Minneapolis College of Art and Design and volunteer partners from Turkey. The Bachelor’s of Science degree at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, located in Minneapolis, MN, is a unique program which allows working with partners from around the world to help sustain and renew the environment and cultures. The partners collaborate with Minneapolis College of Art and Design students and each class every year works with the partners until the projects are completed.

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design BS Program chose to take on Edremit Wetland project in 2010 and since then, the students gathered a vast amount of information on Turkey and the wetlands and developed the main frame of the project with Turkish partners. In Fall 2014, the students decided to communicate the project and increase awareness about it by developing this website and also reaching out to local volunteer supporters in Turkey by sending them project information and expressing gratitude for their contributions. The aim was to build a relationship and connect the volunteers in the United States with the supporters in Turkey with the common goal of conservation of the endangered wetland in Edremit, Turkey. The project will continue to grow with contributions from the MCAD students and volunteers in the next coming years.

To see some more of the projects our class is working on globally click on the links below.

Project Safety Nets

West Senegal, Africa
A nonprofit organization that sources funding to help purchase mosquito nets in Senegal, West Africa.

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Pre-Emptive Peace

Global Project
Our goal is to provide opportunities using the Global Compass; The Academy, C-Network, Transformal Zone, and Global Citizen, to improve, in a self sustainable way, cultures that range from poverty to full infrastructure.

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We are working with a non-profit organization to preserve the Wixárika Mundus culture through their artwork and water sustainability.

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