Ecoclub Member Blogs

"Stitching Our Stories" at the Luang Prabang Film Festival!

"Stitching Our Stories" at the Luang Prabang Film Festival!
More great news about the Stitching Our Stories Project! The short films from last year's participants will be screened at the Luang Prabang Film Festival . The film, which was edited by local Hmong film students, will be shown at 11:00 AM at the LPFF Visitor Center from 7 – 10 December. On Wednesday, 11 December, there will be a special presentation by the SoS filmmakers, subjects, and film editors at the Luang Prabang Film Festival. The film assembles four documentary shorts shot by the projects' filmmakers Bao Song, Pasong Lee, Sia Yao, and Ma Ying. These examine the intricate artistry of Hmong batik and embroidery and the complex and often challenging roles of the medicine women and shamans who care for the bodies and spirits of their communities. More details on that event here .   The Stitching Our Stories project, a partnership with PhotoForward, is currently in the middle of...
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Responsible Tourism in NE Thailand: Having Fun & Making Friends

Responsible Tourism in NE Thailand: Having Fun & Making Friends
Whilst mass tourism to Thailand is one of the mainstays of the Kingdom's economy, individuals and small groups who are keen to promote responsible, sustainable tourism in the country are starting to offer experiences to the increasing number of visitors who want their holiday to make a difference.   At Gecko Villa  a fully catered private pool villa set on working rice paddies in Udon Thani province, a warm welcome is extended to visitors who wish to get off the beaten track and immerse themselves in a resolutely authentic region of Thailand. Here, a natural symbiosis exists, whereby:   - Guests enjoy unusual, fun & experiential holidays, and direct interaction with the locals, and - The local community benefits directly via the creation of sustainable local employment, funding to protect its eco-systems, and the preservation and promotion of its culture.   Making Responsible Tourism Fun The small scale of Gecko...
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Cruise Liners and Cultural Heritage Sites - Can they get along?

Cruise Liners and Cultural Heritage Sites - Can they get along?
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Site Preservation, Tourism and Excavations at Areni-1 Cave in Southeastern Armenia

Site Preservation, Tourism and Excavations at Areni-1 Cave in Southeastern Armenia
I recently completed a Site Preservation and Tourism plan for Areni-1 Cave in Southeastern Armenia. Although difficult to photograph, the site is incredible and filled with loads of artifacts including: The world's earliest known leather shoe (3500 BCE) The world's earliest known wine-making facility (4000 BCE) Wine press for stomping grapes, fermentation and storage vessels, drinking cups, withered grape vines, skins, and seeds Perhaps the earliest existence of domesticated grapes S eeds from more than 30 types of fruit including grape seeds and vines of the species Vitis vinifera Earliest known human brain Array of culturally diverse pottery Copper Age artifacts dating as far back as 4000 BCE including knives, picks and beads Dating for metallurgy has gone back 1,000 years because of discoveries made at Areni-1 Cave Baskets, ropes, reeds, textiles, dried fruit and dozens of cereal species Medieval  cloth Armenia is a beautiful country, with stunning scenery that...
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"Stitching our Stories" program expands

"Stitching our Stories" program expands
We’re four weeks into the second year of Stitching Our Stories! We have expanded to include women from other ethnic groups like Kmhmu, Tai Lue, Tai Dam, and Phunoi and have started the Stitching Our Stories scholarship and internship programme. The work of the participants of years one and two will be featured in a community-curated exhibition on “childhood” opening in September 2014. Some of the young women’s work will also be showcased at the United Nations Annual Commission on the Status of Women in March 2014 in New York City.   This project has garnered a lot of interest recently for its commitment to ensuring the voices of ethnic women are heard, providing educational enrichment opportunities to women and children, and helping to encourage ethnic pride among minorities. If you would like to support this project, our partner, PhotoForward, has just launched a crowd-funding campaign on RocketHub and some...
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Ecotourism Destinations

2nd European Ecotourism Conference was held in Romania last week. It had a main focus on ecotourism destinations in European context. Declaration was formed, find it here: http://www.ecotourism.ee/blog/news/ So what to you think about 5 pillars of "ecotourism destinations" within European reality? What is relevant? What is not? Do we miss something important in the concept of ecotourism destinations?  
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New Manager at 3 Rivers & Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge, Dominica

3 Rivers & Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge are excited and delighted to welcome our new general manager, Miss Corisa St. Marie. Miss St.Marie is Dominican born, and brings with her a wealth of experience and expertise which will ensure the continued success of Dominica’s Leading pioneer Eco Lodge. In celebration of our new arrival, we will be having some exciting promotions and offers, as well as lots of new events and activities for both Dominican and our international visitors. Check our website regularly for more details. www.3riversdominica.com and www.rosalieforest.com   Dominica's No.1 eco lodge is now planning expansion to help us lead Dominica into a greener future. If you are looking for a mid to long eco investment, and want to become part of our family, feel free to contact us.
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Natura 2000 Areas in Greece

Natura 2000 Areas in Greece
Throughout Europe the 'Natura 2000' network of protected areas, created with the aim of conserving natural habitats, flora and fauna and in particular wild birds, is considered a blessing: Natura 2000 areas constitute an institutional, legal and funding framework which helps local communities and local governments attain a high standard of living through environmental and cultural conservation using democratic methods and without depending on the intentions and plans of central governments. Two other useful methodologies/tools are the White Paper on European Governance (2001) and Local Agenda 21, which when combined with a well-functioning Natura 2000 area which has a managing body and a management plan they can bring sustainability and success to local communities. The White Paper on European Governance proposes the following key principles: Openness, Participation, Accountability, Effectiveness and Coherence. Local Agenda 21, a horizontal management system, which is followed by 90% of western European municipalities, offers information, communication...
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World Tourism Day, Tourism & Water, All at Sea

World Tourism Day, Tourism & Water, All at Sea
The UNWTO this year has picked "Tourism and Water" as the theme of the World Tourism Day. Should they/we be celebrating? While access to clean water and sanitation is not a given for over a billion people in the global south, northern multinationals, use vast amounts of water (private swimming pools, golf courses) often in semi-arid and arid areas, to pamper their affluent guests in luxury resorts / enclaves for the rich that displace vulnerable communities and destroy coastal ecosystems. General annual "parental-advisory" type calls on holiday-makers to voluntarily "minimize" or, worse, "offset" their water use are hypocritical and simply do not work. Can private water offset projects, even technologically-novel ones such as those producing water from air humidity, replace a government's responsibility to provide water and sanitation to all inhabitants in a general, permanent and not sporadic manner (i.e. one village has water due to the benevolence of private benefactors,...
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Interactive Village Guide Training in Ban Tale Nok, Thailand

Interactive Village Guide Training in Ban Tale Nok, Thailand
Ban Tale Nok village, one of the longest running villages to work with Andaman Discoveries, recently received an interactive guide training to renew and revamp their skills. There was a mix between old guides and students that are interested in developing guide skills to help the community based tourism group in their village. The guides were given tips on how to better interact and convey information to the guests staying in their village so that everybody has a meaningful and hands on experience. They practiced this by running through situations and sample tours, giving feedback to each other in areas that could be strengthened. Andaman Discoveries staff and Intern Uzma Daraman were there to facilitate and help build the capacity of the village guides. With rejuvenated and newly trained guides, Ban Talae Nok continues to be a wonderful village to visit that will truly leave you with a sense of...
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