mygreenglobe, the YouTube channel showcasing travel entities which have achieved Green Globe Certification, has now surpassed 100,000 views.
The mygreenglobe channel is home to over 100 videos from Green Globe certified members world-wide. The clips are shot in some of the world’s most desirable travel locations, showcasing beautiful destinations in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, as well as Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
“Today’s travelers expect to be able to see all that hotels and resorts have to offer before they make their vacation choices,” Green Globe Communications Director, Bradley Cox said.” Green Globe video clips have become an extremely popular way to take a tour of our members’ properties and meet the management and staff who will greet guests and take care of them during their stay.
“Our strategy is to use videos to promote not only our members’ facilities and services, but also reveal the enormous efforts invested in preserving environments and supporting local communities. We believe this gives travelers a unique perspective into the true heart and soul of their vacation destination,” added Mr. Cox.
Exceeding 100,000 views is a major milestone for mygreenglobe, which provides Green Globe certified members the ability to communicate their sustainability achievements to global audiences every day of the year. In these short colorful clips, Green Globe members take viewers behind the scenes to meet the local people and gain an understanding of their community, culture and values.
New videos are launched every week and include a range of international destinations. The clips showcase different types of accommodation, from remote eco-luxury retreats such as The Lodge at Chaa Creek in Belize to cool urban hotels including the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. Overall mygreenglobe delivers unique access, which has proven fascinating to travelers as well as industry professionals and interested community groups.
“Having a video channel that profiles such an enormous diversity of travel options is not only good for people looking to purchase a sustainable vacation, but has been a great benefit to our Green Globe members who can show everything from practical information on room types and activities, through to communicating the personality of their hotel or resort,” concluded Mr. Cox.
To view Green Globe member videos visit mygreenglobe or enter mygreenglobe on YouTube search.
Green Globe is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally-accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe is based in California, USA, and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe is an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Green Globe is also a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). For information, visit www.greenglobe.com
If you are planning a quest with a goal is to see wildlife, the experts in viewing wildlife through habitat-sustaining practices underscore that when a trip is to be taken is as important as the destination itself.
Josh Cohen, founder of Wild Planet Adventures, outlines the times of year his guests can experience the most intense sightings of the wildlife they travel far to discover.
BORNEO:March to October is the best viewing window for The Ultimate “Weird and Wonderful Wildlife” Safari that combines rainforest hiking and eco-responsible river cruises. Prolific & Likely wildlife sightings include Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Bornean Gibbon, Macaques, Langurs, Pygmy Elephant, Bearded Pig, over 620 bird species. “Weird and Wonderful” animal sightings may include the color-changing Flying Frog, Flying Lemur and Draco Lizard. Rare or Endangered (possible sightings) include Tarsier and Slow Loris (both primates), Marble Cat, Clouded Leopard, Bornean Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, and the Paradise Gliding Tree Snake and Lung-less Frog. This 10-day program is from $5,998 per person, double occupancy (exclusive of domestic flights) for a minimum of four. See: http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/destinations/?country=borneo&trip=weird-wonderful-wildlife-12-day-borneo&tab=1
COSTA RICA: Think December to May and again July (Veranito season) for the Costa Rica Ultimate Wildlife 14-Day EcoTour spanning 12 distinct ecological zones. Prolific & Likely wildlife sightings include Squirrel Monkeys, Tamandua (Anteater), Kinkajou, Agouti, Dolphins, Tayra, Peccaries (collared and white-lipped), Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, Walking Sticks, Eyelash Pit Viper, Fer-de-lance, Leaf-Cutter Ants, and such birds as Resplendent Quetzals, Scarlet Macaws, Lovely Coatings, Scarlet-thighed Dacnis, Green Honeycreepers, Roseate Spoonbill, Woodstorks, Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Northern Jacanas, and Great Curassow. Rare or Endangered (possible sightings) include Jaguar and other cats, Tapir, Porcupine, Silky Anteater, Grey Fox, Olingo, Paca, Grison, Caiman, Fleishman’s Glass Frogs (see-through), Leatherback Turtles, Green Turtles, Hercules Beetles and more. The per person, double rate (minimum four) is from $4,798. See: http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/destinations/?country=costa-rica&trip=ultimate-wildlife-14-day-eco-tour-costa-rica
PANAMA:December to July are the best months for a Panama Ultimate Wildlife 10-Day EcoTour that combines rain and cloud forest experiences with the sea. Prolific & Likely wildlife sightings include Howler, White-faced Capuchin and Squirrel Monkeys, Three- and Two-toed Sloth, Coatimundi, Bats, Kinkajou, Agouti, Tayra, Peccaries (Collared and White-lipped), Dolphins, Crocodiles, Blue Morpho Butterflies, Basilisk (Jesus Christ lizards), Poison Arrow and Red-eyed Tree Frogs, Walking Sticks, Sea Turtles, Fer-de-Lance, Leaf-cutter Ants and 600 species of birds. Rare or Endangered (possible sightings) may include Jaguar and other Cats, Tapir, Porcupine, Silky Anteater, Grey Fox, Olingo, Paca, Grison, Fleishman’s Glass Frogs (see-through), Leatherback and Green Turtles and more. The per person double rate is from $3,998. See http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/destinations/?country=panama&trip=ultimate-wildlife-10-day-eco-tour-panama
BRAZIL: The best time for spotting wildlife here is July to October on a program called Jaguar’s Trail: Pantanal to Amazon 15-Day Adventure. Cohen calls this “our most value-packed itinerary” featuring wildlife safaris by jeep, boat and foot in three different regions of the Pantanal and a remote area of the Amazon. Cohen also reports, “We average spotting1.5 jaguars per day, and sometimes as many as 7!” Prolific & Likely wildlife sightings include Bown Capuchin, Black Howler, Duski Titi, White-Whiskered Spider, Gold & Black and Red-Handed Howler Monkey, Black-Tailed, Silvery and Emilia’s Marmoset, Giant and Neotropical Otter, Black and Spectacled Caiman, Collared and White-Lipped Peccary, Marsh, Red Brocket and Brown Brocket Deer, Brazilian Rabbit, Brazilian Porcupine, Short-Tailed Possum, Jaguar, Brazilian Tapir, South American Coati. Rare or Endangered (possible sightings) may include Bare Ear Marmoset, Feline Night and Red-Nosed Bearded Saki Monkey, Emilae’s Marmoset, Harpy Eagle, Ocelot, Puma, Azara’s Agouti, Punare, Colocolo. The per person double rate is from $7,198 (minimum six). See http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/destinations/?country=brazil&trip=jaguars-trail-pantanal-amazon-15-day
ZAMBIA:July to October are preferred months for an Ultimate Wildlife 18-Day Safari in one of Africa’s least crowded and most wildlife-rich destinations. Prolific & Likely wildlife sightings include African Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Southern Giraffe, Plains (Burchell’s) Zebra, Roan, Sable, Bushbuck, Common Duiker, Impala, Puku, Greater Kudu, Warthog, Bush Pig, Aardvark, Banded Mongoose, Slender Mongoose, White-Tailed Mongoose, Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Side-striped Jackal, African Civet, Large-Spotted Genet, Cheetah, Leopard, Wild Dog, Honey Badger, Vervet (Green) Monkey, Yellow Baboon, Rodents, Shrews Reptiles and Birds. Rare or Endangered (possible sightings) include Grysbok, Steenbok, Suni, Tsessebe, Crawshay’s Zebra, Hartebeest, Black Rhino, Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox, Tree Hyrax, Mongoose (Dwarf, Bushy-Tailed, Selous, Marsh Mongoose, Meller’s) Temminck’s Pangolin, Striped Polecat (Zorilla), Serval, Caracal, African Wild Cat, Small-spotted Genet, Black-Backed Jackal, Chacma Baboon, Samango (Blue) Monkey, Maloney’s Monkey, Night Ape and more. The per person double rate is from $13,998 (exclusive of domestic flights at $2,198 per person). See: http://www.wildplanetadventures.com/destinations/?country=zambia&trip=ultimate-wildlife-18-day-safari-zambia
In April 2014 Wild Planet Adventures received its fifth “Worlds’ 50 Best Trips” award from the editors of National Geographic Traveler for its “On the Jaguar’s Trail; from the Pantanal to the Amazon” wildlife safari in Brazil.
In a time when the challenges of air travel only seem to become more complex and automobile travel more frustrating, the allure of train travel grows. Trains are easy on/off, allow continual WiFi use, have excellent on-time performance, and are affordable.
And now, you can reach one of the most sensational getaway destinations on the planet via passenger rail: Amtrak to Rhode Island.
Amtrak services Rhode Island via two routes: The high-speed Acela travels daily between Boston, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC. The Northeast Regional includes those cities as well as smaller stations such as Kingston, RI, in the southern half of the state, close to the beaches and Newport.
Once in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority’s system of trolleys and buses makes navigating the entire state a breeze, especially the cities of Providence and Newport (see bus directions below to each destination) – not to mention superb biking (one of our favorite bike trails is the East Bay, which goes from Providence 14.5 miles, hugging the shores of Narragansett Bay to Bristol).
And Rhode Island’s great fall festivals and foliage excursions make visiting at this time of year all the more memorable. The great food scene here, from high-end, nationally-award-winning restaurants to waterside seafood shacks, is allure all by itself, and will only make your stay more enjoyable, no matter what your taste.
Getting around Providence is a snap, not just because it’s an eminently walkable city, but because RIPTA’s system of tourist-friendly public transportation is fantastic. RIPTA’s hub is located in Kennedy Plaza in the center of downtown Providence, a 5 minute walk from the train station. Check out the dozens of routes at www.ripta.com.
Getting to Newport is even easier. Regular bus service runs between Providence, Kennedy Plaza and Newport’s Gateway Center. Buses leave every 30 minutes.
Once in Newport getting around via public transportation is easy too! Newport’s public transportation hub is the Visitors Information Center at 23 America’s Cup Avenue in downtown Newport. RIPTA provides trolley and bus service to attractions throughout Newport, including the mansions, Cliff Walk, Beaches, Fort Adams, Downtown Newport, the Gateway Center, and more. Van/car service is available from the Kingston station to Newport. Call (401) 295-1100 for information and reservations (required).
Riders can buy a day pass or pay as they go directly from the bus driver. RIPTA riders pay just $2 for all-day parking at the Visitors Information Center and receive discounts to many area attractions, including mansion and harbor tours. For more information call: 401-781-9400 or log on to RIPTA.com or see specific schedules here:
Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races and Taiwan Day Festival (Sept. 6): The Blackstone Valley is one of the few places outside of China where you can experience these authentic and beautiful wooden dragon boats, made and shipped from Hong Kong, race. Boat crews consist of a drummer and 20 paddlers. The top team wins $10,000. The day also includes other festivities celebrating Asian culture. School Street Pier, Pawtucket, 401-724-2200. www.dragonboatri.com
To get there from Providence: Board Bus 11 in Kennedy Plaza towards R-Line North. The 11 departs every 20 minutes. In about 24 minutes, you’ll arrive at the Pawtucket Transit Center. Transfer to Bus 78. Travel three stops to School and Beechwood streets. Take a right and walk five minutes to the Pawtucket Boat Launch. Total travel time 40 minutes.
The 9th Annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival (September 19-21): Held in one of the most spectacular settings in America, Rosecliff and Marble House mansions, this remarkable weekend experience features hundreds of wines from around the world, fabulous food, cooking demonstrations by nationally-renowned chefs, live and silent auctions and a gala celebration. www.newportmansions.org
To get there from Providence: Board Bus 60 in Kennedy Plaza towards Newport. This bus departs every 20 minutes. In about an hour and 13 minutes, get off at Marlborough and Duke streets in Newport. Walk about a minute straight ahead to the next bus stop at Marlborough and Thames streets. Board Bus 67 and ride 9 stops to the corner of Bellevue and Narragansett avenues. Exit the bus and walk 5 minutes to Marble House. Total travel time is 1 hour 37 minutes.
WaterFire Providence (Sept. 27, Oct. 11, 25): A unique and beautiful artistic installation by Barnaby Evans, WaterFire, in its 20th year, is celebrated the world over. Featuring braziers placed along the middle of the Providence River and set aflame, WaterFire features music, artistic performers, food and drink and brings both locals and visitors out to celebrate the city. www.waterfire.org. (see slideshow).
To get there: Exit the Providence Train Station and make a left onto Gaspee St. Walk one minute and take a left on Francis St. Walk three minutes to the Providence River and the first viewing point for WaterFire, which starts at sunset.
International Polo Series (Through September): This royal sport has taken Rhode Island by storm. Polo matches take place every Saturday June through September. Spectators may rent tents or bring chairs and reserve space on the grounds for picnics. Teams competing come from throughout the world. Glen Farm in Portsmouth. www.nptpolo.com
To get there from Providence: Board Bus 60 in Kennedy Plaza towards Newport. This bus departs every 20 minutes. In about 55 minutes, exit the bus on East Main Rd opposite the corner of Glen Rd. Cross the street and walk about 10 minutes to Glen Farm Rd. and make a right. The polo fields will be 5 minutes down on your left. Total travel time is 1 hour 13 minutes.
The Jack O Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo (Oct. 2-Nov. 2): This annual festival features 5,000 artistically and intricately-carved pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and themes. Set along the pathways that lead throughout the Zoo, the lit-from-within pumpkins draw as many as 100,000 visitors for a part-beautiful, part-spooky celebration of the season. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, 401-785-9450. www.rwpzoo.org
To get there from Providence: In Kennedy Plaza, board Bus 22 towards Providence. It will turn into Bus 20. Ride for 18 minutes to the corner of Elmwood Ave. and Carlisle St. Exit the bus here and the entrance to Roger Williams Park is directly across the street. Enter the park and walk 6 minutes to the Zoo. Total travel time is 26 minutes.
Newport’s International Octoberfest (Oct. 11-12): This bona fide Bavarian weekend bubbles over with juicy bratwursts, yodeling and folk dance performances, a rousing entertainment lineup and more. This year, there will be three Biergartens and expanded outdoor courtyard space for endless amounts of festivities. A kid-friendly Kindergarten area rounds out fall’s choice festival as a place for the whole family to sample Oktoberfest’s multitude of flavors. All held along the beautiful Newport waterfront at the Newport Yachting Center. www.newportwaterfrontevents.com/event/international-oktoberfest/
To get there from Providence: Board Bus 60 in Kennedy Plaza towards Newport. This bus departs every 20 minutes. In about an hour and 13 minutes, get off at Marlborough and Duke streets in Newport. Exit the bus and walk straight ahead two minutes to Thames St. Take a left and walk 7 minutes to the Newport Yachting Center on the right side of Thames St. Total travel time is 1 hour 24 minutes.
Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival (Oct. 18-19): Honoring the “harvest of the sea,” the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival offers copious amounts of seafood, continuous live music, and family fun, all beneath the wharf’s colorful tents. Neighboring restaurants and fisherman’s associations serve up their most celebrated seafood dishes (lobster dinners, clam chowder, stuffed quahogs, clam cakes, shrimp, scallops, raw oysters and clams, as well as a few dishes for landlubbers and kids). Under the music tent, live music – folk, Celtic, sea shanties and blues – are just a taste of what you’ll hear. Bring your dancing shoes, because these bands promise to get your feet moving! www.bowenswharf.com/events
To get there from Providence: Board Bus 60 in Kennedy Plaza towards Newport. This bus departs every 20 minutes. In about an hour and 13 minutes, get off at Marlborough and Duke streets in Newport. Exit the bus and walk straight ahead two minutes to Thames St. Take a left and walk 5 minutes to Bowen’s Wharf, on the right side of Thames St. Total travel time is 1 hour 22 minutes.
Blackstone Valley Fall Foliage Tour (Oct. 22): One of the most unique ways to see Rhode Island’s gorgeous fall foliage. Hop aboard the Blackstone Valley’s Fall Foliage Train. On Oct. 22 at 9 am the train departs Woonsocket for a day-long excursion to Putnam CT, where you can shop for antiques and dine. One Depot Sq, Woonsocket. www.tourblackstone.com
To get there from Providence: Board Bus 54 in Kennedy Plaza towards Lincoln. After 51 minutes, exit the bus at 113 Clinton St. near the corner of High St. Cross the street and make a right and walk one minute to Depot Square. Total travel time is 56 minutes.
New and exciting places to stay
The Urban Beach House at The Attwater, Newport
The Attwater is a design-driven boutique hotel with a chic and modern edge not often seen in historic Newport. Urban Beach House rooms feature “outdoor style” showers and a “sand lounge” gathering spot in the front yard of the hotel. Top-notch amenities and stylish comfort are the order of the day. 22 Liberty St., 401-846-7444, www.theattwater.com
The Dean, Providence
A brothel-turned boutique hotel, the 52-room Dean is an urban oasis for Downcity travelers. With a decidedly cool Brooklyn vibe (it was designed by Brooklyn-based ASH NYC), the hotel merges cool (there are bunk beds) with a homegrown aesthetic (many of the furnishings and accessories are crafted by RI artists). 122 Fountain Street, Providence, 401-455-DEAN, 401-732-3100. www.thedeanhotel.com.
For further information:
Newport Convention and Visitors Bureau, 23 America’s Cup Avenue, Newport, RI 02840, 401-845-9151, 800-326-6030, www.gonewport.com.
Summer is winding down but there’s still time to celebrate summer’s final days in the outdoors with park picnics, road trips, camping, water sports, hiking and much more. Americans logged 1.6 billion visits to national and state park lands last year. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers encourage people to get outside and enjoy America’s parks, forests, lakes and oceans responsibly during the last few weeks of summer.
The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are teams educators that travel throughout the United States in their Subaru hybrids and reach millions of people each year. They conduct hands-on educational trainings and outreach, teaching the public about Leave No Trace principles while promoting stewardship of the outdoors, protection and preservation of our public lands and support of outdoor recreational activities.
“The best way to celebrate the end of summer is to get outside,” according to Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer, Dani Rowland. “With the growing number of visitors on our public lands, it’s easy for these natural areas to be negatively impacted. The teams travel the country teaching straight-forward skills to help people protect the outdoor places they cherish. Learning and practicing Leave No Trace goes hand-in-hand with your end of summer celebration.”
These five, new tips from the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers to help you Leave No Trace on your next picnic, camp outing or park visit are easy to implement and will help protect our nation’s favorite natural lands for years to come:
1. Keep Wildlife Wild
Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them can have unfortunate consequences such as drawing them to people and roads and making them sick.
2. Get Muddy
A giant mud puddle in the middle of your trail? Get muddy and walk right though it to avoid trampling and the loss of important plants and small trees living along our trails.
3. Be Careful With Fire
Burn all wood to ash and be sure the fire is completely out and cold before you leave to avoid starting a wildfire.
4. Trash: A Burning Issue
Burning trash and leftover food in your campfire attracts animals and releasing harmful chemicals into the air. Put all leftover food and trash in a trashcan.
5. Water Wisdom
Keep soap, food and human and pet waste out of lakes and streams to keep them clean. We all depend on clean water.
To learn more tips on Leave No Trace and when the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will be in your area visit www.LNT.org.
Subaru has a long history of supporting active lifestyle enthusiasts and the organizations that are important to them. In 1999, Subaru of America and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics joined forces to promote responsible recreation across the United States. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer program consists of four teams of two educators that travel across the country in their Subaru hybrids teaching people how to protect and enjoy the outdoors responsibly. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers work with the general public, volunteers, nonprofit organizations, friends groups and governmental agencies to reduce the impact of recreational activities in selected endangered areas. In 2014, alone, the Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will reach 15 million Americans.
Leave No Trace is a national, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to protecting the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly. Since 1994, Leave No Trace has been the most widely accepted outdoors program used on public lands in the United States. Through targeted education, research, outreach, volunteerism and partnerships, Leave No Trace ensures the long-term health of our natural world. Their Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are mobile teams educators that visit 48 states every year delivering Leave No Trace programs. Leave No Trace has mobilized more than 30,000 volunteers to provide outreach and training impacting more than 22 million people annually in the U.S. For more information visit www.lnt.org.
The Responsible Travel industry is turning its sights on animal welfare.
This issue will figure into the keynote address by Dr. Martha Honey, CREST Co-Director, at TBEX North America, which will be held September 11 – 13, 2014, in Cancun, Mexico.
In advance of her speech she has been asked to comment on an ongoing debate about captive dolphin tours in Cancun. Here is how CREST views the issue:
“Respecting animal welfare is an essential component of responsible travel. CREST believes that when at all possible, wildlife should live in their natural habitats.”
If wild animals are held in captivity, they should be guaranteed, at minimum, the following ‘Five Freedoms’:
Sufficient and good quality food and water
A suitable living environment
An opportunity to exhibit natural behaviors
Protection from fear and distress
(Check out Born Free UK’s Guide to the 5 Freedoms, which discusses the Five Freedoms in detail in the context of captive wild animals.)
Dolphins are socially complex and self-aware creatures, and we agree with World Animal Protection in that these animals “deserve to live a life free from captivity, where they can properly fulfill their social and behavioral needs.” A tank simply cannot provide them with the space, environment, and social freedom they need to thrive as they would in the wild.
Also, interactions with wild animals should never involve physical contact with people, feeding, or other actions that disturb or alter their natural behavior. These actions often cause extreme distress for the animal and are health risks for both parties.
On the issue of captive marine animals, President Mark Spalding says, “We have admirable facilities that rescue and when possible rehabilitate and release marine mammals, sea birds and sea turtles. Some of these allow the public to visit and volunteer. And, many have advanced our knowledge of marine wildlife through research during their recovery.
“But like hospitals for humans, this is not where we want wild animals to spend their entire lives. We prefer to see them in the wild where they thrive.”
Have you ever thought to explore New York State’s Amish culture, or bike along the hundreds-of-miles long Erie Canal towpath? Eco-oriented travelers can discover such lesser known and authentic aspects of New York State at an extensive online guide to sustainable travel, along with bookable itineraries, at www.responsibletravel.com/holidays/new-york-state/travel-guide.
The initiative, in conjunction with responsibletravel.com, makes New York one of the only U.S. destinations to promote sustainable tourism on such a large scale.
The Responsible Travel Guide to New York State provides an overview of the culture, history and ecology of each of New York’s regions as well as practical information on public transportation, eco-friendly activities and accommodations. An easy-to-navigate format invites eco-oriented travelers to discover many lesser known and authentic aspects of New York State. Equally valuable as a planning tool, the guide links to other useful sites as well as a tour section that is constantly growing with a multitude of click-to-book New York itineraries.
The New York State guide and itineraries were produced in partnership with United-Kingdom-based responsibletravel.com, a leading international travel organization and pioneer in sustainable and responsible tourism.
A separate section of the tour operator’s website features a growing catalog of easy-to-book eco-tourism activities in every region of the state.
The partnership and program reflect Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commitment to increasing tourism throughout New York, conserving the state’s unrivaled natural wonders and supporting local communities.
“This initiative will continue to New York State’s history of pioneering environmentally responsible tourism,” Governor Cuomo said. “From our millions of acres of protected wilderness where New Yorkers can hike or kayak, to our vast network of parklands, New York is truly unmatched when it comes to opportunities for sustainable tourism. On top of all that, these assets support eco-friendly jobs and growth in local communities, and ultimately reinforce the value of preservation.”
Justin Francis, co-founder of responsibletravel.com, said, “We are delighted to be working with New York State to find and celebrate the best examples of responsible tourism. I was staggered by the diversity of experiences we found within the state, and by the contribution these make to conservation and communities. I think our clients will be too. We are thrilled that New York State has decided to turn perhaps the most powerful tourism branding in the world, I Love NY, green to help us launch this guide.”
The guide has been penned by Catherine Mack, an ecotourism expert and writer who has contributed to several ecotourism guidebooks as well as responsible-travel oriented articles for the National Geographic Traveller UK, The Irish Times, and other publications.
New York’s strong commitment to conservation dates back more than a century to the ratification of the “Forever Wild” amendment to the State Constitution in 1894. The amendment mandates that state-owned and acquired forest preserve lands be “forever kept as wild forest lands.” New York’s Adirondack Park, the nation’s largest park outside of Alaska, is bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks combined and is just one of the state’s many natural treasures. The original two preserves – the Catskill and Adirondack parks – have since expanded to more than 175 New York State Parks with activities such as fishing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, cultural presentations and historic re-enactments.
Biking is a great way to travel with minimal impact on climate. Now, an organization called Climate Ride, is arranging multi-day biking trips that raise money and awareness to support sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes.
Climate Ride produces charitable multi-day rides, hikes and a DIY program: Climate Ride NYC-DC, Climate Ride California, Climate Ride Midwest, Climate Hike and Independent Challenges.
Proceeds from the events benefit a collection of environmental and active transportation non-profits. Participants can choose to direct grants to the non-profit of their choice. (Learn more about beneficiaries and read common questions asked by participants in the FAQ.)
Here are some of the cyling trips still to come this year:
The ride begins in the heart of New York City to the tip of Manhattan where a ferry that will carry us off the island and across New York Harbor to New Jersey. From there we travel along country roads passing through Princeton, near valley Forge, into Pennsylvania Amish Country, crossing the Susquehanna River into Maryland Horse Country. After a day of pedaling past farms and silos, we reach Maryland horse country. On the fifth day, riders cycle past the iconic Washington Monument to arrive at the U.S. Capitol. A highlight of the ride is that Climate Ride arranges appointments for every rider to personally meet with her/his Congressional representative. It makes a big impression to pedal 300 miles to meet your Member of Congress.
The Midwest ride spans three states and connects two vibrant cities, while exploring some of the best biking in the country. From the trip start in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we ride past historic lighthouses, blueberry farms, and quaint artist villages. We’ll also visit Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore before pedaling on paved rail-trails to a bicycle path on Lake Michigan that affords stunning views of Chicago’s dramatic skyline. The last 6-mile stretch leads up to Grant Park – know as “Chicago’s Front Yard” – for the ride finale.
On Climate Hike Glacier National Park, spend five days hiking the iconic trails on the ‘Crown of the Continent’. Witness majestic 500-year old cedar forests under threat of wildfires and glaciers in fast retreat. Over five days of hiking, participants build up stamina for an epic 15-mile journey across the park — traversing aretes and high alpine mountain passes. Professional Glacier Guides each day teach about Glacier’s unique ecosystem, so participants can bring this knowledge home to their communities.
Climate Ride California Wine Country, which took place in May, is likely to be repeated next year. The California Wine Country ride begins in San Francisco where we ride across the scenic Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County. From there we travel through quaint Marin cities and the bucolic Nicasio Valley before turning East toward Petaluma. Riders pedal north from here through pastures and rolling hills into Sonoma County for a picnic lunch right on the Russian River near Healdsburg. Continuing on, the scenic Alexander Valley wine growing region awaits before pedaling up the final hill to the top of the famed Napa Valley, considered some of the best cycling in the US. The final day is an exciting ride across California’s Central Valley, with a stop into bike-friendly Davis and the US Bicycling Hall of Fame, to the Golden State’s Capitol in Sacramento.
The Speaker Series
The Expert Speaker Series: Each evening of the rides, expert speakers educate and inspire participants about sustainability, climate, the green economy, and active transportation. “Our participants and the communities we pass through learn that our government, businesses, and each individual American will benefit from a cleaner, healthier planet. This is a unique event — a fundraiser and green conference on wheels.” Learn more about our speakers here.
Advocacy Meetings with Congressmembers
On Climate Ride NYC-DC, riders will have a chance to meet with Congress. The Climate Ride staff schedules hundreds of appointments for riders to meet in person with their senators and representatives when they arrive by bike in Washington DC at the end of Climate Ride NYC-DC.
“Climate Ride is a non-partisan organization and we do not endorse any particular candidates, politicians, or legislation. We’re helping to create a grassroots force of ‘people-powered’ advocates. Participants say this is one of the most powerful parts of the Climate Ride experience – pedaling your bike right to the US Capitol to advocate for change.”
Can’t make it to Climate Ride this year? Have an idea for a great event that you want to create yourself? Or are you already participating in an event that you want to connect to a cause? Climate Ride has created an Independent Challenge program as a way to raise money and awareness of your favorite Climate Ride beneficiaries, no matter what the event. Events might include rides, swims, runs, hikes, weddings, birthdays, memorials, dinner parties.
Climate Ride was created by Geraldine Carter and Caeli Quinn in 2008. A year later Blake Holiday joined as Ride Director. Together, they have a combined experience of more than 25 years of professional, high-end bike trip leading and development. Their expertise ranges from custom trips in far-flung locales to large-scale charitable events. The three have put together a volunteer staff of professional trip leaders and guides.
“We engage in the Climate Ride events to support a collection of beneficiary organizations that are working to engage citizens in the possibility of a green economy, educate the public about the interconnected web of environmental issues related to the climate crisis, mobilize government and businesses to enact sound energy policies that promote renewables, and raise the profile of green transportation. Your fundraising helps these beneficiaries continue to provide the critical services and education needed to address sustainability and active transportation issues. Right now, your fundraising and your effort to raise awareness are more critical than ever.
“We can create communities with cleaner air, where we ride bikes, drive efficient cars and live and work in energy-saving, healthy buildings. If you demand it, our legislators and business community will promote clean energy and smarter transportation systems. By joining the Climate Ride events, you can take a step in this direction.
“So ditch your car and join us for a few days of human powered activity—all for a good cause!”
The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi in Malaysia now offers a family-friendly Mangroves & Eagles Safari through the dramatic Kilim Karst, Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark.
Guest take a private boat from the Resort’s Serai beach and in just a few minutes are sailing past a maze of 550-million-year-old limestone cliffs, craggy rock formations and tangled mangroves.
The eco-adventure is led by one of the resort’s three resident naturalists through one of the world’s most accessible mangrove forests. The trip affords up-close encounters with majestic eagles and kites, mischievous macaques, fish that walk (mudskippers), colorful tree-climbing crabs, shy otters, elegant monitor lizards, coiled snakes and hundreds of sleeping bats. With the entire experience conducted from the comfort and safety of the Resort’s boat, this family-friendly safari offers an experience only pure nature can offer complete with Four Seasons-style commentary and refreshments.
With little intrepid solo explorers in mind, an hour-long kids-only Mangroves & Monkeys Safari has also been designed. Aboard a floating classroom, adventurers aged 4 – 12 (young-at-heart parents welcome too!) join the resort naturalists for an educational eco-experience to discover the magical mangrove world and watch the antics of hundreds of mischievous macaque monkeys.
The Resort also offers a Rainforest Immersion, a three-hour excursion to the uninhabited islet of Pulau Langgun, where the pristine rainforest encircles a karst lake. Here guests can ascend on foot through the vibrant rainforest, enveloped by thousands of plants and animals, before trekking downhill to the hidden sanctuary of Tasik Langgun – a freshwater lake in the middle of the jungle. To end this extraordinary experience, the return cruise takes in the intriguing Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends) – mythical home of a giant phoenix, a captive princess and a deadly giantess.
Back at the resort, the newly launched Geopark Discovery Centre serves as an educational tool for guests and the local community to learn about the Geopark’s key attributes, from the most complete Paleozoic sedimentary sequence in Malaysia to labyrinthine mangroves, lush rainforests and unique animal and bird residents. Through a series of exhibition boards, interactive presentations and display cases, the resort’s naturalists guide guests through Langkawi’s natural environment. The Centre also inspires deeper exploration of local wonders, from the resort’s impressive rock-climbing outcrop to the animal-filled mangroves of the Kilim Karst Geoforest, as well as towering sea stacks and ancient salt-water lakes, linked to the sea by cave tunnels.
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi is a luxury Malaysian retreat in the Langkawi UNESCO Geopark, offering 90 pavilions and villas in tropical beachfront gardens, a family pool with private coves, plus a 55-m adult quiet pool, an expansive range of natural and outdoor pursuits and an immersive Geo Spa that draws on Langkawi’s natural healing energies. Dining options include three waterfront restaurants and the atmospheric Rhu Bar.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti has introduced a new “Walk in the Wild Serengeti” experience with Masai guides, park rangers and the Lodge’s resident naturalists leading the way through the bush in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stop by the Discovery Centre for a viewing of the new Serengeti Lion Project Wildlife Photography Exhibition, August 1-31 by Serengeti Lion Project researcher Daniel Rosengren.
Proceeds from sales of photos will support the Serengeti Lion Project Research, the world’s most extensive daily mammal monitoring project, which has gathered detailed data on more than 5,000 lions since the 1960s. Rosengren, a Swedish biologist and senior field researcher who is passionate about travel and nature, traded in his globe-roaming bike for a Land Rover in 2010 to study the daily habits of the Serengeti’s lions. The exhibition will feature 40 or more of his most stunning images.
Inspired to follow in Rosengren’s photographic footprints? Visit The Lodge now and be among the first to experience its new Walk in the Wild Serengeti, a transformative 90-minute guided walk where you’ll help install a “camera trap” that digitally records the Serengeti’s majestic animals on the move. Elephants, cheetahs, lions and even notoriously hard-to-spot leopards are known for their cameos.
This guided walk shines a light on the wildlife sanctuary’s most subtle and unusual characteristics. Led by the Resident Naturalist at Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Masai guides and national park rangers, you’ll explore the beautiful landscape of Serengeti National Park as your guides point out animal tracks, interesting insects and useful plants.
Guests can also help The Serengeti Lion Project classify the different animals found in images caught by over 200 remote camera traps that have been set up in the Serengeti by visiting the Snapshot Serengeti website.
The Walk in the Wild and the Serengeti Lion Project Photo Exhibition are among the many innovative experiences undertaken by Four Seasons Safari Lodge and its pioneering Discovery Centre. Part museum exhibit, part lecture theatre, it’s the first lodge-based conservation research and education platform in Serengeti. Chat with Lodge experts and explore a series of displays, exhibition boards and interactive presentations, or attend periodic talks by guest speakers. Participate in special research projects with local experts closely involved with Serengeti’s wildlife research and conservation projects.
Make your base camp in The Lodge’s two-story great house, with guest rooms and suites that all offer stunning views of the Serengeti landscape.
A more private escape can be had in one of the five freestanding villas. Ideal for couples and families, The Lodge is one of the first on the continent to welcome children ages 8+, a significant milestone for families with young ones and teens. The entire property is accessible via raised wooden walkways making short excursions into the bush not a far venture from the Lodge.
In addition to taking your exploration to an intimate new level during the Wild Walk in the Serengeti, The Kijana Klub offers children their own opportunity to learn about local culture and wildlife through a series of planned activities including short walks in the bush with a Maasai guide and learning basic wildlife research skills such as radio tracking and camera traps.
Other memorable guest experiences include sundowners at the infinity pool while elephants gather at the watering hole below, private romantic dinners in the bush, the Lodge’s celebrated Boma Grill and signature spa treatments featuring Africology spa products at purpose-built Spa.
Ecoventura, which operates an environmentally friendly fleet of small expedition yachts in the Galapagos Islands, plans to debut the region’s newest ship in early 2016.
Construction of the 20-passenger motor vessel is underway at the shipyard in Guayaquil, Ecuador but Ecoventura has begun taking bookings for MV Origin’s inaugural cruise Jan. 3, 2016. When launched she will be the newest and most comfortable 20-passenger yacht operating in Galapagos.
The vessel’s owner, Ecoventura, has more than two decades experience in sustainable tourism.
“We are exploring ways to make the Origin the most comfortable and environmentally efficient yacht in Galapagos,” Ecoventura founder and owner Santiago Dunn. “Our first goal is to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 45 percent (from 1800 gallons to 1000 gallons per week),” he explains. “This is no simple achievement when you consider our plans to sail at 12 knots on two engines so that guests can spend as much time as possible at each visitor site.”
MV Origin, designed for guests with a highly evolved lifestyle, will combine modern sophistication and a high level of comfort and service, with quality guided land excursions in small groups, gastronomical experiences, exciting physical activities and a dose of intellectual science for a life enriching experience. A veteran crew supervised by a master-level captain, two expert naturalist guides and a concierge will be at the beck and call of guests. Social areas offer private moments on board with a library, boutique, computer station, lounge areas, dining room, bar, Jacuzzi, sun deck, recliners and wet bar.
Guests aboard Origin will enjoy locally sourced, healthy, gourmet-style menus designed by top local chefs and creatively prepared by Ecoventura’s culinary school trained chefs. Some lunches will be served al fresco on deck. Passengers will have an open bar policy, including wine and local beer.
The vessel will feature 10 deluxe staterooms all located on the main deck with panoramic windows and private bathroom. Each stateroom is 140 square feet, with two twin beds that convert to a king, two connecting cabins, two triples, fine linens, bathrobes, and satellite TV.
Guests wishing to stay in shape will enjoy a fitness center with cardio equipment. The services of a professional masseuse can also be arranged at an additional charge on private charters only. Twice daily cabin cleanings are provided. Laundry service is also available. Guide lectures, cooking demonstrations and yoga will be part of the on-ship activities.
Ecoventura’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Doris Welsh, explained that MV Origin rates reflecting a premium class vessel will be higher than those on its three existing first class vessels, the Eric, Flamingo and Letty. A per person double rate for an eight-day all-inclusive cruise will be $6,500. Rates include cabin accommodation, all meals and snacks, all beverages including open bar, Captain’s welcome and farewell party, guided shore excursions, services of a concierge, use of wet suits, snorkelling equipment, stand-up paddle boards and sea kayaks, and transfers in the islands between the airport and dock.
There are two distinct itineraries on weekly (Sundays), year-round departures from the island of San Cristobal. The tours visit the most spectacular visitor sites of the archipelago; western/northern and central/southern.
Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with sales offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, the cruise company transports 4,000+ passengers annually aboard its fleet of at present three identical, 20-passenger first-class motor yachts, Eric, Flamingo and Letty, and the 16-passenger luxury dive live-aboard the MV Galapagos Sky. Departures are every Sunday from San Cristobal offering two unique seven-night itineraries.