Rhino Origami Selfie Campaign Underway to Save Rhinos in Botswana

Wildlife filmmakers, conservationists and National Geographic Explorers–in–Residence Dereck & Beverly Joubert, who are at the forefront of this project, are getting into the spirit of the selfie campaign to raise money to relocate rhinos even from the wilderness in Botswana.
Wildlife filmmakers, conservationists and National Geographic Explorers–in–Residence Dereck & Beverly Joubert, who are at the forefront of this project, are getting into the spirit of the selfie campaign to raise money to relocate rhinos even from the wilderness in Botswana.

Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond have joined forces to translocate up to 100 rhinos from high poaching zones to safe havens within Botswana.

“It is a costly and challenging endeavor but we believe it is an urgent and necessary strategy to sustain this threatened species,” say Wildlife filmmakers, conservationists, CEO of Great Plains Conervation and National Geographic Explorers–in–Residence, Dereck & Beverly Jouber,

In order to raise the funds for the first 10 rhinos that will be moved early in 2015, they have created a crowd–funding campaign (http://www.trevolta.com/rhinos). Each donation earns you a gift, from wildlife films to fine art prints. A $1 donation earns a donor a rhino shaped origami template to create your own origami rhino.

“We are on a mission to create a global rhino origami army to raise awareness of the issues surrounding rhino poaching and the campaign.

Already photos have been coming in from around the world.”

Join in and post your origami rhino selfies from around the world, from Table Mountain in Cape Town to Times Square in New York and add the hashtag #RhinosWithoutBorders or #RhinoMove.

“The challenge is on and we’ll be on the lookout for the most extreme rhino selfies!

“So far the campaign has raised $184,187 but together we can continue to Make A Difference Now.”

To read CNN article on Rhinos Without Borders click here

https://www.facebook.com/GreatPlainsConservation

https://twitter.com/dereckbeverly

 

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Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports Seeks Volunteers

© 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
© 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, the largest nonprofit organization in Vermont to provide daily, year-round sports and recreation to people with disabilities, is seeking new volunteer ski and snowboard instructors for its winter programs at Sugarbush Resort in Warren, Bolton Valley in Bolton and Pico Mountain in Killington. This rewarding opportunity allows the community to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities seven days a week. Vermont Adaptive relies heavily on its more than 400 volunteers to provide and support more than 2,000 winter lessons to people with physical, cognitive and emotional or behavioral disabilities.

Volunteers are required to attend an off snow orientation at the mountain of choice in November as well as two days of on snow training in early December. Trainings are held on weekends. The off snow trainings are slated for: Saturday, Nov. 8 at Sugarbush, Saturday, Nov. 15 at Pico Mountain, and Sunday, Nov. 16 at Bolton Valley. Junior volunteers, ages 14 and up, also are welcome to attend training and volunteer.

Registration for off-snow training is required by signing up online. Guidelines and prerequisites can also be found online. For more details, visit http://www.vermontadaptive.org/volunteer_overview.php.

Volunteers will be taught about disability awareness, how to teach a ski or ride lesson as well as how to teach a specific type of lesson such as blind guiding, sit down skiing or working with participants with cognitive disabilities. Volunteers are expected to be a competent skier or rider prior to training. The program begins at all three locations on Dec. 26 and runs through the end of ski season at each mountain, typically the end of March or early April.

To sign up to volunteer visit http://www.vermontadaptive.org/volunteer_overview.php or contact Tom Alcorn, senior program coordinator at 802.353.7584 or south@vermontadaptive.org.
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Rafting Pioneer George Wendt Working to Save Grand Canyon from Proposed Development Projects

George Wendt and Martin Litton are trying to stop two development projects which they say threaten  aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.
George Wendt and Martin Litton are trying to stop two development projects which they say threaten aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.

George Wendt, founder and owner of river rafting company, O.A.R.S. has thrown down the gauntlet against developers who, he says, would threaten aquifers that feed the Colorado River in its course through the Grand Canyon.

At issue is the proposed Tusayan development that would add 2,200 homes and collateral services and amenities less than two miles from the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park.

And in another section of the Canyon, Wendt hopes that sufficient forces can be brought to bear against the creation of a gondola designed to transport upwards of 4,000 tourists daily from the rim to the river. This is known as the Grand Canyon Escalade project.

The National Park Service has already expressed serious concerns about the environmental impact these projects could have on the Grand Canyon.

“These two very real development projects are threatening to impact the canyon in a big way. Anyone who has intimately experienced the canyon’s amazing tranquility, or hopes to someday, should be very concerned,” Wendt warns. “We have definite feelings that both would be harmful to the long-term integrity of the Grand Canyon.”

The Tusayan development planned for the area just south of the main South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park would have many impacts, he believes. Companies who do business in this region and most visitors have expressed that the area is already almost full to capacity much of the year and that crowding in more people would negatively impact the experience of those who are presently coming to the canyon.

“More significantly, however, we share the feeling of the National Park System that there is not enough water in the Tusayan area to support further development without tapping into deep wells that almost certainly would divert water from the limited number of natural springs that feed the eco system of the Colorado River and its surrounding side canyons. For this reason, we are opposed to the major development presently contemplated for the Tusayan area,” Wendt continues.

The Escalade project would bring people down into the Canyon to river level at the confluence of the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River, he explains. “The construction of the gondola close to river level would be very impactful from a visual and wilderness perspective. Although the operators probably would try to prevent people from leaving the gondola terminus to go hiking, we worry that almost invariably the new access would lead to multiple additional impacts from hikers who found it irresistible to try to use this easy access point for extended hiking excursions into the fragile area. Native American groups consider the Little Colorado Confluence area sacred and they likely will also have strong concerns about the potential impact from a gondola into the Grand Canyon.”

“Buried within the Tusayan and tramway proposals is the belief that a tiny circle of entrepreneurs has the right to profit at the expense of everyone else by destroying a piece of the commonwealth — a landscape that is the birthright and the responsibility of every American,” wrote Kevin Fedarko in an Aug. 9, 2014, op-ed piece for the New York Times. (Fedarko is the author of The Emerald Mile, a riveting story about a legendary river run through the Grand Canyon.)

A contributor to O.A.R.S.’ legacy of wilderness preservation is Martin Litton whose Grand Canyon Dories company Wendt acquired in 1988. Litton at age 97 is a legendary environmental crusader who is largely credited for his success in defending the Grand Canyon from two proposed dams in the 1960’s.

Championing the rights of rivers is nothing new to Wendt, founder and owner of what may be the world’s best-known river rafting company, O.A.R.S. Over its 45-year history, O.A.R.S., one of the world’s best known river companies, has contributed more than $3 million toward the preservation of the environment and to conservation initiatives worldwide.

Wendt, an activist like Litton, has also joined various battles throughout the years to protect natural places that were threatened by dam building projects, including the fight to save the Grand Canyon, the Stanislaus and the Tuolumne Rivers in California and the Bio Bio River in Chile.

O.A.R.S. has been providing whitewater rafting vacations to some 500,000 guests since 1969. Over the decades the company has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventure, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines around the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries, including one-day and weekend escapes. In 2013, for the seventh consecutive year, Condé Nast Traveler recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler’s standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category. In 2013 Outside Magazine, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, named O.A.R.S. one of the top two outfitters in the world in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program.

For more information, trip availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014-2015 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email info@oars.com, or visit: www.oars.com.
Follow O.A.R.S.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/oars_rafting
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OARS.rafting
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/oarsweb
Blog: http://www.oars.com/blog/

 

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Eurail Pass holders save up to 40% on European ferry crossings with Grimaldi Lines Partnership

Grimaldi Lines and Eurail have augmented their partnership, offering Eurail Pass travelers even deeper discounts on ferry crossings between Spain, Greece, Sicily and Sardinia.

Eurail’s benefit partner Grimaldi Lines offers a 20% discount on ferry crossings and a 10% discount on accommodation supplements such as Pullman seats, berths and cabins to Eurail Pass travelers who purchase a Eurail Pass on or after this date. These discounts apply to standard as well as special fares such as advanced booking offers. The discounts are also applicable in the off-season, providing even more value for money by saving 40% when booking ship passages between September 15 and December 21, 2104. Eurail Pass travelers can make reservations and redeem these special discounts via Grimaldiˈs Contact Centers and at its points of sales in Italy and Spain. For more information, please visit www.grimaldi-lines.com.

In addition, Eurail travelers can find detailed information about the Grimaldi Lines discounts on the Rail Planner App. This free and off-line app is available from the App Store or Google Play, providing travelers with valuable information such as a complete list of Eurail Pass benefits by country, a European railway timetable and more. For further details, visit: http://www.eurailgroup.org/railplanner

Grimaldi Lines, owned by the Grimaldi Group, is one of Europe’s leading shipping companies, offering ferry services to the most popular tourism destinations in the Mediterranean region. Grimaldi Lines connections are synonymous with convenience, comfort and safety, while its Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona routes, servicing Sardinia and Spain, offer facilities and services similar to those of cruise ships.

Eurail offers four types of Eurail Passes as part of its product portfolio to those residing outside of Europe: the Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, Eurail Select Pass, Eurail Regional Pass and Eurail One Country Pass. Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized Sales Agents.  Please visit: www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

 

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Bromley works with Efficiency Vermont to Bring Energy Efficient Snowmaking Upgrades; Implement Snowmaking Energy Index

Bromley Mountain took advantage of incentives from Efficiency Vermont to introduce more efficient snowmaking system, and in partnership with Efficiency Vermont, plans to install the first Snowmaking Energy Index (SEI) in the US © 2014 Dave Leiberman/news-photos-features.com
Bromley Mountain took advantage of incentives from Efficiency Vermont to introduce a more efficient snowmaking system, and plans to install the first Snowmaking Energy Index in the US © 2014 Dave Leiberman/news-photos-features.com

This winter season, Bromley Mountain, Vermont, is adding 74 brand new high efficiency HKD tower guns, complete with hoses, and scrapping our 59 remaining energy-hog ground guns. The 100% efficient equipment eliminates the need to rent diesel powered air compressors (a first in Bromley snowmaking history!) and adds permanent tower gun coverage to four trails. One of the reasons Bromley was able to scrap the ground guns was Efficiency Vermont, which offered a new incentive for Vermont Ski Resorts (more on the statewide initiative here) last spring. “Get rid of all your inefficient guns, and receive really, really, REALLY good incentives to purchase new, state of the art high efficiency equipment.”

Other new and exciting happenings in the Bromley snowmaking world include: Collaborating with HKD to develop a new design for a portable tower gun. One side-effect to surrendering the ground guns is a loss of flexibility in gun placement for tricky spots, steep spots, spots the tower guns just don’t go. In order to maintain portable options, 6 of the new tower guns will be just 6’ tall, mounted on a stable tri-pod (instead of a sled, like other portable tower guns) with specially developed nozzles to allow moisture coming out of these shorter guns the appropriate “hang-time” necessary for making good quality snow with tower guns.

Is it possible to further maximize efficiency? In partnership with Efficiency Vermont, Vermont’s Sun Mountain plans to find out by installing the first Snowmaking Energy Index (SEI) in the United States this winter. This system will allow Bromley’s snowmakers to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of its snowmaking system in real time, giving its team the ability to adjust variables allowing for maximum output, best quality snow and lowest energy consumption possible at all times.

Bromley is also the first resort in Vermont to install an Intelli-Flow Controller, giving the option to increase snow output by maximizing available air from the compressors based on real time environmental factors. For greater detail on snowmaking improvements, check Bromley’s snowmaking blog.

Meanwhile, Bromley is making it easier to get into skiing and snowboarding

This season’s Start Fun, Start Free events have been set for December 21, 2014, January 19, 2015 and March 15, 2015, when up to 75 guests, ages 6 and up can enjoy a day on snow, free of charge. Registrants will receive an all-day Learning Zone lift ticket, an all-day Rental of ski or snowboard equipment, and instruction in the Learning Zone from 10:30am until noon. Call 802/824/5522 to pre-register.

Following the “free” theme, Bromley is introducing the Super Duper Ski Package, partnering its Kidsrule Mountain Camps program with Elan skis. This $599 package includes 6 Kidsrule lessons, a free pair of Elan Starr skis with Quick Trick bindings, a coupon for great deals on boots, poles and accessories, plus a Bromley Season Pass! (The Season Pass isn’t new… since Kidsrule’s inception in 2011/12, every child that completes 6 Kidsrule lessons receives a full Season Pass.) The package saves $223 on lessons alone, the free skis retail for about $220, plus the value of a season pass (check bromley.com for the current rates). Limited packages available; click here for full details.

Bromley Mountain is located at 3984 Vermont Route 11, Peru, Vermont, six miles east of Manchester. For information, visit bromley.com, 802-824-5522.

See:

BROMLEY MOUNTAIN, CELEBRATING 75th ANNIVERSARY, STILL PINNACLE OF ‘CLASSIC VERMONT’ SKIING FOR FAMILIES

 

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Fire Island National Seashore’s Wilderness Boardwalk Trail Restored; Events Mark 50th Anniversary of Wilderness Act

On Tuesday, September 2, the National Park Service and Congressman Timothy Bishop celebrated the recent restoration of Fire Island National Seashore’s wilderness boardwalk trail. The ¼-mile boardwalk replaces one destroyed during Hurricane Sandy and provides access to New York State’s only federally designated wilderness.

“The restoration of the wilderness boardwalk on Fire Island is an important step forward in our efforts as a community to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy,” said Congressman Tim Bishop. “In its 50 year history, the Fire Island National Seashore has provided a place for families to spend quality time together while exploring one of Long Island’s most beautiful areas. The restoration of this boardwalk will help to ensure that legacy continues.”

“The federal funds secured by Congressman Bishop made it possible to restore one of Fire Island’s most popular boardwalk in time for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and for Fire Island National Seashore’s own 50th anniversary,” said Seashore Superintendent Chris Soller.

The $273,000 project was completed in April with federal storm recovery funds and visitation has increased since it was completed.

“People come to Fire Island’s wilderness for a unique and peaceful experience and this boardwalk enhances that experience,” said Soller.

“The new wilderness boardwalk was designed to be more sustainable,” said Seashore Facility Manager James Dunphy. Although Hurricane Sandy destroyed 2,500 feet of boardwalk in the wilderness area, Dunphy said “the storm gave the National Park Service the opportunity to reconsider its location.” The new boardwalk was built with composite lumber made from recycled materials and relocated inland to the site of a former boardwalk to allow for greater protection from future storms.

The Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness is accessible year-round, with parking available at the adjacent Smith Point County Park.

The Seashore will host “Wilderness Weekend” on September 6 and 7 with special programs to highlight Fire Island’s wilderness and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

Wilderness Weekend events include: “Walk in Wilderness,” “Junior Ranger Wilderness Explorer,” and a “Leave No Trace Workshop.”

“Songs of Wilderness,” an exhibit featuring artwork inspired by Fire Island’s wilderness by mixed-media artist David Adams will be on display at the Wilderness Visitor Center through October 13.

The Seashore will continue to host special programming at the Fire Island Wilderness throughout its year-long 50th anniversary celebration starting mid-September.

Fire Island National Seashore encompasses 26 miles of ocean and bay shoreline, lush backdunes, maritime forests and residential communities on Fire Island, a barrier island situated south of Long Island, New York. Fire Island’s dynamic coastal landscape is home to a diversity of plants and wildlife and offers a retreat from nearby metropolitan New York. For more information visit www.nps.gov/fiis.

 

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Sharing Economy: Bravocar, Online Ridesharing Portal, Seeks Investors to Expand Internationally

Bravocar hopes to expand its online carpooling portal © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Bravocar hopes to expand its online carpooling portal © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Bravocar, an online portal for local and international ridesharing trips currently based in Norway but hoping to expand internationally aims to make the “thumbs up” hitchhiking symbol passe.

The venture started around the idea that Norway’s major cities are plagued with traffic congestion, despite various collective transportation solutions.

Faced with this problem, three friends traveling in Norway decided to create a local carpooling platform. Within a matter of weeks of looking at their design and brand, that they understood that this could actually bring the venture to an international level.

“People need to have alternative solutions, but they need good solutions that not only will help them to cut down costs of transportation on daily basis, but also something that addresses climate issues like Co2 emissions, traffic congestion and lack of social interactions.”

Bravocar offers also “special categories” such as “Ladies only rides” reserved for women to book their trips, “Shopping rides” for the shopping enthusiasts, “Airport rides” and “Event rides”.

Their solution uses geo-localisation technology, allowing rides “that matters” to the users to be highly visible on the portal.

Security is a key priority, “To be able to post a ride on our site you need to have genuine identity, therefore we have phone number verification, email verification and pictures verification, we have a strict policy when it comes to security and want to provide trust to our users”

Here’s how it works: After you have been through the registration process you will be able to “post a ride”, they have developed a price calculator with color codes as a guideline for a “driver” a green color means the price is under their guidelines and therefore a good deal, a black color price follows their guidelines when a orange color is overpriced, by doing so they believe that people might compete against each-other in the beginning but this will stabilize by the time passing.

Each booking is paid online, the company holds the funds until the trip has been completed, only then the driver will receive its “Due” minus an 8% fee for the site.

“Driving a site like this costs money, however we want to provide a solution which is not directed to profit-only therefore we take a small fee, cheaper than any other carpooling sites on the web, so users can get the most out of it, in addition to this we intend to use a great deal of our profit in environmental solutions by investing in projects that matters.”

The platform launched in March 2014, and with the interest shown in Norway and Germany, they are looking for investors but also created a “crowd-funding” campaign at Indiegogo.

Bravocar was registered in March 2013 after being supported by “The Open Project”.

The company is owned by: Rodolphe Delloye, CEO; Frederick Richard, Project Manager; and
Frederic Patry, Key Account Manager.

Bravocar AS, PB 5251 0303 Majorstuen, 0356 Oslo, Phone: +47 21018911
Email: getintouch@bravocar.co, www.bravocar.co.

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Sharing Economy: HomeExchange Expands North American Base With Acquisition of Only in America Site

HomeExchange.com, one of the largest home exchange communities in the world, continues to broaden its North American member base—and in turn, its collection of homes available for swap—with the acquisition of Only in America Home Exchange  © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
HomeExchange.com, one of the largest home exchange communities in the world, continues to broaden its North American member base—and in turn, its collection of homes available for swap—with the acquisition of Only in America Home Exchange
© 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

HomeExchange.com, one of the largest home exchange communities in the world, continues to broaden its North American member base—and in turn, its collection of homes available for swap—with the acquisition of Only in America Home Exchange (OIA), a home trading travel site based out of San Francisco.

Adding 3,000 new properties to its ever-growing network of more than 55,000 listings, this acquisition gives HomeExchange.com an opportunity to expand on the geographical reach of its home listings available across the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, the primary regions of OIA members.

As part of a concerted global strategy by the HomeExchange.com team as they look to capitalize on opportunities for their members to exchange homes in more cities, the move will immediately incorporate the new property listings onto HomeExchange.com and include more houses in key US exchange markets such as California, New York, and Florida.

“Only in America was founded with a distinct regional focus, but when our members developed an interest in home swapping opportunities overseas, it became clear we needed to look beyond North America,” says Helen Salem, who established OIA in 2002 after experiencing a home swap with her family. “With its dynamic business growth plan, unparalleled customer service, and an efficient platform that helps facilitate home exchanges in over 150 countries, HomeExchange.com ultimately offered the best home for our members – a place where I know they’ll receive the best treatment.”

The transition between platforms is seamless, allowing OIA members to retain their home swapping profile and photos as they’re automatically transferred over to HomeExchange.com. HomeExchange.com will honor active OIA memberships at their current rate, and all other OIA members will have an opportunity to join the site free of charge for one year.

Following the January 2014 acquisition of the online home exchange marketplace Aha! Go, this second purchase has helped set the foundation for HomeExchange.com’s aggressive expansion plan: to grow their active user community and offer a wider variety of property listings to their members by acquiring 2-4 home exchange websites each year.

“One of our greatest assets at HomeExchange.com is our dedication to our members. We want to be the go-to community for smaller home exchange networks looking to offer a larger selection of house swapping options around the world with a company that places members first in every decision we make,” says Chief Operating Officer Jim Pickell. “For owners of smaller companies seeking a welcoming home where their members will receive the best treatment, we’re the most obvious solution.”

Founded in 1992 by Ed Kushins,  HomeExchange.com was a pioneer, early adopter, and promoter of the “collaborative consumption” movement. Building upon a foundation of trust and enthusiasm,  HomeExchange.com has evolved into the largest and fastest growing online home exchange travel community in the world. This year, their 55,000+ members will make over 130,000 home swaps across more than 150 countries, eluding the cost of traditional accommodations and saving over 50% on each vacation. HomeExchange.com makes it easy to plan and enjoy a home exchange vacation in almost any country, city, or area of interest, and offers travelers a memorable, authentic ‘live like a local’ experience. The site is now available in 15 different languages. HomeExchange.com was named one of the fastest growing private companies in America in 2013 on the Inc. 500 / 5000 list for the third consecutive year.

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