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Community Involvemnet

Community engagement
In Yenchao, agriculture and tourism are now the two main sectors of economy. Agriculturally, soils in this badland originated from mud volcanoes with slight gray quality, containing sodium (sulfates) and magnesium oxide are suitable for guavas, jujubes and grapefruits. Guava trees take up 1600 ha and can be harvested in the whole year. Jujubes are a specialty of Yenchao in winter. Grapefruits, guavas and sweet jujubes (dates) are regarded as the three treasures of Yenchao.

Local participation and community networking is important for Geoparks. In the Yenchao Geopark, the Yuanjiao Humanist Association and some local village community associations are vital institutions active in promoting local beauty spot and networking with other geoparks. People combine community economy and badland characteristics to boost local development. Guavas and Jujubes are important cash crops and local cultural symbols. The activity of visiting the Funin- Jujube-Fields has become a core promotion activity for the community.
The Jingshan community also promotes its natural landscapes, traditional buildings, and cultural and agricultural economy through well planned activities, using traditional methods to make bricks, walls and even mountainous foot path for people who work in the badland fields. Jingshan is a place of hospitality and team spirit. The organization known as Granny’s Rice Cake Team is zealous in promoting local recipes that use local produce. With its communal power, Jinshan has become the rear garden of Yenchao and Kaohsiung City. The best and most amazing of all these activities is that they make the best use of the elderly’s wisdom and techniques to pass down virtues and values to the young generation.
The Yanchao Yuanjiao Humanist Association promotes rural culture and history and has opened a new window to the discovery of the unique environments for Yenchao. The association combines the cultural assets and natural beauties so that people are proud and willing to keep safe the local environment. Arranging activities related to the unique local culture helps people to understand their own culture and to conserve it.
Local communities can seek cooperation from many local organizations. When local people work together they create a novel community of networking to learn from one another. Examples are ample in the Yenchao Geopark community. The Yuanjiao Humanist Association, and the Jingshan Community association has proved to be vital institutions to achieve this. The locals from the Yenchao Bad Land and Mud Volcano Geopark portray themselves as the good people from the bad land. Viewing the barren land represented by the geopark’s badland, one would have to ponder that yes indeed they are good people from the bad land. As the silt of the mud volcanoes can be detrimental to agriculture for their fine particles and thus the draining of water is difficult. But with the local wisdom of irrigation system and pond system to prevent fine silts drain directly into the fields, the agriculture is developed well with wisdoms.

Regarding to tourism and environmental education, all major sites at Yenchao has convenient accessibility to enhance its potential. Landscape and environmental interpretation are a thriving activity as the local cultural association takes the lead in educating local community members to become capable interpreters. The combined development of tourism and environmental education is the center of the landscape economy, where the local interpreters develop excellent interpreting materials and monitor the area’s changing landscape (Lin & Su, 2019).

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Jujubes are a specialty of Yanchao in winter

Source: Lin, J. C., Su, S. C. (2019). Geoparks of Taiwan. Their development and Prospects for a Sustainable Future