natural-habitat-adventures

Are You an Eco-Traveler? | 5 Steps to Plan Your Next Adventure

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 6th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living, Green Tech | tags: eco-friendly, eco-friendly trips, eco-friendly vacations, ecotourism, environmentalism, green-travel, guidebooks, natural-habitat-adventures, trip, vacation

Ecotourism. It’s a term travel marketers love, but what does it really mean?

Ecotourism involves more than just exploring nature or viewing wildlife, which on its own does not always contribute to the welfare of a place and its inhabitants.  Indeed, some destinations, such as the Galapagos Islands, are at risk of being ‘loved too much.’

At its heart, ecotourism involves “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people,” according to the International Ecotourism Society.

With this in mind, consider whether your travel plans include the following principles and practices that are central to ecotourism that makes a positive difference:

Should Animals on the Brink of Extinction Be Used to Promote Tourism?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 25th, 2013 | 9 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African elephants, animals, Antarctica, at-risk species, Belize, Canada, Churchill, climate change, Eco Travel, ecotourism, Egypt, endangered-species, environment, extinction, extinction tourism, Galápagos Islands, glaciers, global-warming, habitat destruction, Madagascar, Manitoba, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, poaching, polar-bears, rainforest, Tanzania, tourism, tourists, travel, travelers, UNESCO, wildlife, wolves, Yellowstone National Park

Greenland big ice

I have to admit it: last year, my traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, to see polar bears in the wild was motivated not only by a 10-year anniversary but by a fear that soon the animals could be gone. I go to see glaciers because I’m afraid we’re losing them. And this coming January, I’m returning to Yellowstone National Park to try to photograph our nation’s wolves before they almost completely disappear in the Lower 48 — again.

You could call me an “extinction tourist.”

I’m far from unique. In fact, today people are traveling in ever-greater numbers to see what they think could quickly vanish from the Earth. While just a few years ago travelers might have endeavored to tick off all seven continents or Africa’s Big Five wildlife species, today there’s a certain “cred” given to those who see the landscapes, animals and plants that are just managing to hang on. And tour providers are tapping into that desire with their marketing messages. “See [fill in your favorite endangered animals] before they’re gone!”

But should tourism companies use threatened species as marketing tools? Given our ability to tune out ads, does that minimize the dire circumstances that these animals and environments are now in and dilute the attention that conservation messages might have been able to muster?

Eating Whale Blubber in Greenland: Politely Partake or Politically Pass Up?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | October 25th, 2013 | 5 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: adventure, alaska, diet, eating locally, Eco Travel, environment, extinction, food, Green Living, Greenland, healthy-eating, International Whaling Commission, Inuit, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, nutrition, Siberia, subsistence hunting, threatened species, travel, whales, whaling, wildlife

Greenland

Throughout human history, the sharing and exchange of local food between people of different cultures has cemented social bonds and sealed agreements. Feasts often brought people from far-off places and varying ways of life together.

Today, whether you’re in a friend’s home or visiting a foreign land, partaking of your host’s served meal is considered polite — or, at least, that’s what I have been taught. So, when I recently traveled to Greenland and visited an Inuit community, I happily agreed to taste the traditional foods offered, including raw whale blubber, dried cod and simmered seal stew.

Wanting to share my adventure with friends, I posted a photo of myself eating the uncooked blubber on a social media site. To my surprise, I was met with strong disapproval by an acquaintance who works at an environmental organization.

When traveling, should you indulge in the traditional foods offered, even though eating them may not be “politically correct” in your own country?

6 African Safari Eco-Camps to Take Your Breath Away

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | April 5th, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: African safari, Botswana, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, camping, conservation, Eco Travel, ecotourism, elephants, endangered-species, Gorilla Forest Camp, Great Plains Conservation, green-travel, Himba tribe, Kalamu Star Bed Camp, Kalamu Walking Trail, Kenya, Leleshwa Camp, lions, Masai Mara game reserve, mountain gorillas, Namibia, National Geographic, natural-habitat-adventures, night sky, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, sea turtles, Serra Cafema, South Africa, stars, summer vacation, The Last Lions, Tigers, treehouses, Uganda, wildlife safari, Zambia, Zarafa Camp

Elephant at Zarafa Camp, Botswana

If you’re contemplating an African safari, no doubt it’s the extraordinary wildlife that’s top draw. But many safari camps and lodges are highlights in their own right. While most are not for the faint of budget, they are peerless when it comes to enhancing the “trip of a lifetime”!

As more safari operations “go green” by committing to environmental and community sustainability, the selection of alluring eco-minded camps and lodges continues to grow. Here are six that will have you online in a heartbeat to secure your deluxe tent beneath the stars — or at least daydreaming about it.

Chill Out! 5 Winter Travel Adventures to Celebrate the Cold

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 25th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel | tags: Absolut Ice Bar, alaska, Arctic Circle, aurora borealis, Canada, China, Churchill, cold weather, dog sledding, Eco Travel, eco-friendly travel, gray wolves, Greenland, Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, ice hotel, ice sculptures, IceHotel, Japan, Manitoba, natural-habitat-adventures, northern lights, Quebec Winter Carnival, Sapporo Snow Festival, snow sculptures, Swedish Lapland, winter travel, Yellowstone National Park

Dog SledWith a few exceptions, much of the U.S. has been experiencing an unseasonably warm and dry winter. While that may make some people happy, those of us who welcome snow, sweaters, skating and skiing are missing winter’s frosty grip.

If you’re feeling as blah as the brown landscape outside, consider a mid-winter adventure to colder climes. There’s nothing like nature beauteously transformed by an icy white veneer to lift even the most listless spirit. From dog sledding to tracking wolves, sleeping in an ice hotel and watching the Northern Lights, cold-weather travel is all kinds of cool!

Should There Be a National Tiger Registry?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | February 16th, 2011 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: America, Asia, backyard zoos, big-game parks, black market, breeding, cages, captive, captive wildlife, captivity, Chinese zodiac, conservation, database, endangered-species, environment, exotic animals, extinction, folk remedies, Global Tiger Initiative, Global Tiger Recovery Program, harm to wildlife, hunting, illegal, International Tiger Forum, International Year of the Tiger, laws, natural habitats, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, pets big cats, population, protecting wildlife, registry, regulations, Russian Federation, St. Petersburg, states, threatened, Tigers, trade, wild, wildlife, wildlife welfare, World Wildlife Fund

Tiger

There are more tigers in captivity (such as this one) than there are left in the wild. ©John T. Andrews

There are some statistics that you hear that knock your socks off, and you just can’t quite believe them. You think they’re concocted purely to get attention and for shock value. Here’s one I recently came across that fits that category: There are more tigers in American backyards than there are left in the wild throughout the world.

How could that be?! I wondered. After all, the tiger isn’t even indigenous to the United States! It turns out that there is very little regulation on keeping wild tigers here. And because their body parts are prized in Asian black markets for traditional medicines and folk remedies — and because they are popular subjects for photographers and as college mascots — trafficking in and owning tigers becomes a means of making money.

Eco-Travelers: Help World Wildlife Fund Protect the Planet

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 26th, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: 50th anniversary, animals, charity, conservation, donation, Eco Travel, ecology, endangered-species, energy, environment, extinction, facebook, fundraiser, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, pollution, preservation, renewable, resources, sustainable, threatened, travel, trips, water, World Wildlife Fund

Kodiak bear fishing for salmon

Anyone who has ever watched a brown bear fish, or an elephant wallow in a water hole, or a curious sea lion come face to face with a snorkeler, knows that one of the highlights of eco-travel is close encounters with wildlife in natural settings.

Resolved for 2011: Take a Nature Vacation

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 5th, 2011 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: biking, brain health, children, city, climate change, Crystal Cove State Park, diseases of indoor living, eco-tourism, exercise, family vacation, Fitness, focus, hiking, kids, Los Angeles, natural-habitat-adventures, nature, new year's resolution, noise, obama, obesity, outdoors, outside, parenting, protection, Richard Louv, sedentary, stress, urban life, walking, wilderness, wildlife

Trekking in Patagonia

I spent part of the holidays in Los Angeles this year, surrounded by a sea of asphalt and traffic sprawling for hundreds of square miles. Shuttling between relatives and friends on the maze of 14-lane freeways, I soon felt spiritually exhausted by the visual din of billboards, power lines, parking lots, storefronts, neon signs and cars blowing past at 80 mph.

Win a Trip Through the Great Green Travel Giveaway!

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | November 18th, 2010 | No Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Giving Back, Green Living | tags: Annapurna Range, charity, contest, donation, eco-friendly travel, ecotourism, free, fundraiser, Galapagos Islands cruise, Great Green Travel Giveaway, Inca Trail trek, Machu Picchu, natural-habitat-adventures, Nepal, Sustainable Travel International, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, trips, win

Blue Footed Booby

Blue-footed Booby in the Galapagos

How would you like to win a 7-night Galapagos Islands cruise for two aboard an Ecoventura yacht, recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly outfitters in the islands? Imagine anchoring in turquoise bays, zipping ashore in small rafts and lazing on sandy beaches, empty but for colonies of curious sea lions and nonchalant iguanas sunning on the lava shoreline. Blue-footed boobies nest along island trails while albatross and frigate birds soar overhead. The wonders beneath the waves are just as amazing, as you snorkel with penguins and sea turtles.

Ecotourism as It Should Be: Finding Inspiration in the Amazon Rainforest

Wendy Worrall Redal by Wendy Worrall Redal | January 20th, 2009 | 6 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: Amazon, eco-lodges, Ecuador, Napo Wildlife Center, natural-habitat-adventures, rainforest, wildlife, Yasuni National Park

nwc-dawn-from-deck“There, at the top of that tallest tree,” our guide says, pointing through a maze of vegetation. I catch a flash of red, then a rainbow of feathers, backlit by the sun, as the scarlet macaw takes flight. Its bright plumage is the only contrast against the verdant backdrop of the Amazon rainforest.