From: Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging News, More from this Affiliate
Published October 11, 2007 02:08 PM

Iowa’s Earthpark: Rain Forest, Green Hotel And More

NEW YORK—Maxon Holdings LLC (Maxon), a leading energy and environmental development company, announced a partnership with Earthpark, North America’s first center for science literacy and the environment. Maxon will provide $10 million of in-kind financial and technical support toward the completion and opening of Earthpark, scheduled to open on Earth Day, 2011. Maxon will give this support through its infrastructure asset financing operations, part of the company’s asset optimization business. Maxon’s contribution will facilitate ongoing support and involvement with educational and research efforts in the areas of global sustainability and restorative living practices.

Earthpark also announced at the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative in New York that it plans to utilize eBay Giving Works over the next several years. eBay Giving Works is a program that empowers the global eBay community to connect with the charitable causes they care about, to support innovative education and research efforts. eBay plans to offer one-of-a-kind experiences for people to bid on, and hopes eBay sellers will join by listing their own items on eBay to support Earthpark.

Earthpark is a 240-acre site that will be an icon of ecological literacy and learning to improve the lives of people, species and the environment throughout the world. This unique learning campus will demonstrate sustainable and restorative solutions to the myriad ecological threats facing humanity, using state-of-the-art educational tools and online communication with schools, communities and governments worldwide. Earthpark will include four acres of tropical rainforest, a 600,000-gallon aquarium and more than 1,000 species of plants and small animals in a re-created ecosystem. There also will be a canopy experience to immerse visitors in a unique and symbolic learning environment along with changing exhibits and galleries highlighting various ecosystems.

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Green Hotel Included in Plan

Situated next to 15,000-acre Lake Red Rock near Pella, Iowa, the campus will have prairies, woodlands, trails and campsites coexisting with research labs, a green hotel, retail space, and a green utility infrastructure powered in part by alternative and renewable energy sources. Earthpark will host the first green building simulator in league with the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, it will provide accredited science curricula and interactive, green messaging delivered to 1 million on-site visitors annually and millions more around the world electronically.

“Maxon is truly honored and energized to be part of this remarkable project,” says Marc O’Connor, president and CEO of Maxon Holdings. “Earthpark will be a model of efficient and sustainable development, and an educational cornerstone that will be the driving force for environmentally conscious development worldwide.”

“These exciting collaborations with eBay and Maxon reinforce the immense global reach that Earthpark will have in its goal to sustain and restore the natural world and our rapidly diminishing precious resources,” says Ted Townsend, founder of Earthpark. “We are working with other innovative companies to join us in helping Earthpark improve our world through its novel scientific and educational efforts.”

Townsend, founder and president of Townsend Vision, has created three complementary educational and social programs designed to meet the myriad challenges facing the 21st century. Earthpark, Great Ape Trust of Iowa and the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy resulted from his lifelong interest in conservation, sustainability and restoration. Each program is grounded in science and infuses Townsend’s passion to facilitate respectful collaborations with other cultures.

Go to Earthpark.

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