Member Blogs

eco news & views from around the world
Shams Uddin

When To Mountains Comes the Spring

Snow ebbed with snow glory abloom Mirth returned, withdrawn the gloom From wintry anchor breaking free Children on colleting spree, Of the gift so coveted to bring To herald and welcome spring   Thru chimney they hand the ‘glory’ A tradition telling wonderful story Receiving walnut gift, dry fruits and sweet With occasional reward of homespun tweet Elders enjoy peacefully sitting To herald and welcome spring   ‘Happy spring’ the hamlet’s abuzz A ripple of jubilation that it cause Children with snow playing foul Nature prevails stirring the soul Elders drum, kids doing swing To herald and welcome spring   Wears the earth green garments Refreshing aura, the soil ferments Thick is the air with butterfly And a group of dove overfly Juniper scent lightly wafting To herald and welcome spring   Sloughed into flute a branch of willow Rocking atop the rock looking below Engrossed as if in the midst...
Carol Patterson

Biodiversity Strategies for Cities?

My eyebrows reached my hairline when I heard my hometown had a biodiversity strategy. With over a million people, I hadn't thought of Calgary, Alberta as a biodiversity hotspot. True, it has the most extensive urban pathway network in North America and I've enjoyed watching owls and eagles along the Bow River in the city center but isn't a city a bad home for wildlife? Surprisingly, there are more opportunities for critters than you might think. Next to parkland, wasteland, railway yards and industrial areas have high numbers of rare and important species. Perhaps because those areas have open spaces and few people. Some animals don't coexist well with humans like the sharp-tailed grouse eliminated by off-leash dog use on Nose Hill but others adapt. Scientists have observed some urban birds adjusting their calls to be heard over traffic noise. The City of Calgary tabled its biodiversity strategy in March 2015....
Ayako Ezaki

Panama Papers and Tourism: "Teachable Moment" for the Industry?

Live Session on Tourism Financial Accountability and Economic Growth With the aim of helping turn the Panama Papers scandal into a useful "teachable moment" for the tourism industry, TrainingAid is hosting a free and open live session on Thursday, April 14th featuring a presentation by Dr. Linda Ambrosie, the author of "Sun & Sea Tourism: Fantasy and Finance of the All-Inclusive Industry". Dr. Ambrosie will share key insights into the impact of exploitative tax practices, combined with local corruption, throughout the global tourism value chain, and offer recommendations for tourism industry stakeholders - including multinational enterprises, tourism managers, destination organizations and policy-makers - on how to advocate for solutions and positive change. Register for free to join the live session and to receive access to the video replay.   Tourism Finance: Why Accountability Matters to All As the Panama Papers scandal has brought the world’s attention to the scope and implications...
Ayako Ezaki

What Sets Successful Community-Based Tourism Enterprises Apart?

Community-Based Tourism (CBT) can be a great way to empower communities and support sustainable local development by providing alternative livelihoods, expanding economic opportunities, creating a sense of pride, and supporting development needs in a way that is in line with long-term priorities. So why do so many CBT projects fail? In the upcoming TrainingAid Live Session, Kelly Galaski (Program & Operations Manager for Americas & Europe, Planeterra Foundation) will discuss key challenges with CBT initiatives, and share practical insights on how to develop market-ready and financially viable community tourism products. TrainingAid Live Session, March 31st, 2016 Title: Key Factors in Successful Community Tourism Product Development Presenter: Kelly Galaski, Program & Operations Manager (Americas & Europe) for Planeterra Foundation Date & Time: Thursday, March 31st, 2016 - 10am EST (New York), 4pm CET (Berlin), 10pm ICT (Bangkok) Registration: Sign up for free here   About the Planeterra Foundation Planeterra Foundation is a non-profit organization established by global travel company G Adventures. Planeterra's projects around...
Sudipta Kiran Sarkar

Malaysia: Embarking on experiential learning in nature escapades close to the urban spaces of Kuala Lumpur

Sungai Chilling in the province of Selangor, Malaysia, is a nature reserve consisting of a picturesque waterfall and the Sungai Chilling Fish sanctuary, a project under the Selangor State Fisheries Department. This idyllic nature trove being located roughly at a distance of 75kms from the northern peripheries of Kuala Lumpur that involves about an hour and half drive via the town of Kuala Kubu Bharu, is one of the main eco-travel spots closest to the bustling spaces of Kuala Lumpur. For day-trippers and campers, Sungai Chilling provides a perfect setting for nature-based recreational opportunities within a convenient distance. The central attraction, the Chilling waterfalls, is located at a certain height that makes it necessary for visitors to cross the rapid flowing river 5 times and a trek uphill for almost 4 hours through the bushes and dense vegetation of Malaysian rainforests. The difficulty in negotiating with rapid flowing river are generally...
Natali Dologlou

New article on Paper Series

By looking at ecotourism efforts around the world, there is continuous change: some best ecotourism practices fail to keep their status, or are even suspended after a period of time; other ecotourism practices appear, some of them reaching high standards. "Ecotourism in Protected Areas, A literature Review" on the papers session is a conceptual paper based on our presentations in lectures, workshops and conferences for ecotourism and protected areas, in the last 10 years. The paper offers a better understanding of ecotourism, viewed as a continuously evolving process in the context of the particular environmental, social, cultural, economic, political and technological features of each area, which may change with time. Finding the right, dynamic balance, which can differ from case to case, is the key for proper ecotourism development in protected areas. Read the article here:  
Nikki Rose

Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries 2016 Study Abroad Programs, Crete, Greece

Join us in Crete, Greece, May 16-24, 2016 for Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries Educational Network Study Abroad Program with Utah State University. A distinctive faculty-led experiential learning program designed to provide an overview of the culture, nature and cuisine of Crete. Also open to non-USU students. Earn 3 Credits for this incredible experience. Organized by Nikki Rose, Founder of Crete's Culinary Sanctuaries, an award-winning program for best practices in sustainable travel, and USU Faculty: Tamara Steinitz and Janet Anderson, Professional Practice Professors, Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences. Throughout this study tour, students will meet over 20 resident teachers for presentations, including tours of archaeological sites focusing on agricultural and culinary practices in ancient Crete; organic farms, farmers' markets, and nature reserves hosting wild edible plants used in cuisine and herbal medicine; traditional villages and artisan food producers of olive oil, cheese and other traditional foods; plus cooking classes featuring one of the...
Antonis Petropoulos

Rosmarinus Officinalis

Beautiful short film by Andreas Siadimas celebrating local environmental knowledge and genuine hospitality in Crete, Greece.
Ayako Ezaki

TrainingAid Live Session: Digital Marketing for Tourism Businesses

TrainingAid, an international tourism e-learning company offering online training courses and skills development opportunities for tourism professionals, is hosting a free Live Session on Monday, February 29th, 2016, featuring a presentation by Julia Barrero, head of marketing at Xola. To learn more & to register (registration is free), please see:   Title: Forget Silver Bullet, Think Strategy: Advanced Digital Marketing for Tourism Businesses Description: These days, your customers demand complex, individualized, and relevant marketing. To achieve that, you don’t need a silver bullet (news flash: it doesn’t exist), you need strategy. This Live Session will teach you to ask the right questions to maximize the return on your marketing investment. By setting goals and analyzing your success with qualitative and quantitative feedback, you’ll market your tour more easily and successfully. Join tourism marketing specialist, Julia Barrero of, as she guides you through a strategic framework and key Google...
Trevor Sofield

Malaysia's Gunung Mulu Caves and National Park

The Sarawak Government has provided strong support for appropriate and sustainable development of the Gunung Mulu National Park since its WHS inscription. It has left behind its original ‘modern progress’ model of development – forestry and oil palm plantations, with the former now banned for the past ten years and the latter carefully regulated. Illegal logging still occurs in the most isolated parts of the state along the border with Indonesia’s province of Kalimantan where monitoring is difficult (no roads, only two airstrips for small aircraft) but it is minor. Offshore oil remains a mainstay of the state economy, but terrestrially ecotourism is being pursued as the mainstream path especially for poverty alleviation of local communities. Mulu is evidence that the Government is sincere in implementing ‘genuine’ ecotourism as distinct from ‘eco-lite’ ventures, and flying into Mulu over thousands of hectares of oil palm plantations to the heavily forested ranges of...