ECOCLUB.com Eco Release
celebrates 6th anniversary with the
3 July 2005
Athens, Greece: To celebrate its 6th anniversary, ECOCLUB, (Web: www.ecoclub.com), the International Ecotourism Club, held its second annual Ecolodge Project Competition, the "ECOCLUB.com Ecolodge Awards 2005". ECOCLUB Members were asked to vote for the two best project proposals submitted by Ecolodges around the world.
Presenting the Awards at a live on-line event, ECOCLUB Director, Antonis B. Petropoulos, said: "Building on the success of our 2004 awards, our first, with the winning project completed on time by Ranweli Holiday Village, we aimed to improve and expand the 2005 Awards by introducing a theme, Poverty Reduction - and both winning projects assist in that direction. We also increased the grant amount by 50% but sought to reward 2 projects rather than raise the amount for just 1 project, to show how much can be achieved with relatively little, if there is will and skill, and will and skill abounds among our Ecolodge Members".
Voting took place on-line throughout June, and with all votes counted, results are as follows: ECOCLUB Members voted Rainforest Retreat of India (Karnataka) as the First Prize Winner (27.5% of the votes) and 3 Rivers of Dominica as the Second Prize Winner (23.3%). Laguna del Lagarto of Costa Rica was Runner up with 17.4% of the votes.
As all 9 finalist projects were very worthwhile, we have decided to keep them on-line so that interested Members and readers can choose to donate towards their implementation.
The First Prize Winner, Rainforest Retreat proposed the establishment of an Association of local small Organic Growers in their local Village (Galibeedu), in the famous Kodagu distict of Southern India, to encourage small stakeholders to convert to organic farming practices and create a small fund to subsidize the purchase of raw materials (manure, EM (effective microorganisms) solution, rice bran, neem oil) necessary for organic farming practices. Rainforest Retreat will provide advice and help train someone to monitor the farms and finally help them realise a better price for their produce. In the long term, Rainforest Retreat envisions a small shop in the local Galibeedu village, run by a cooperative or association, that would sell locally grown organic produce.
Accepting the 1st Prize, Rainforest Retreat Director, Dr Anurag Goel said "This is a great honour and surprise on a monsoon evening with rain pouring. All of our guests really appreciate the organic farming aspect of our Rainforest Retreat and with this Award we can take it to the next step which is to get the local people involved in organic farming and at the same time realize some benefits from the increased tourism in this district."
The Second Prize Winner, 3 Rivers, proposed the Installation of a hydraulic ram pump system in the nearby village health centre, which will then provide a regular water supply for the medical facilities in the village. A workshop on hydraulic ram pumping at the health centre would also be held during installation, thus training other locals in the use of hydraulic ram pumping and its environmental benefits. The graduates of the workshop will then be encouraged to hold similar workshops in their own villages.
Accepting the Second prize, 3 Rivers Director, Mr. Jem Winston, said "Thank you on behalf of everyone. The villagers will be delighted when they hear the news. We thank ECOCLUB and those who voted for our project. 3 Rivers will donate the other half of the necessary funds."
The 2005 Awards are accompanied by the monetary sum of Euros 750 (Euros 500 for the 1st winner and Euros 250 for the 2nd), and this amount is meant to cover fully the expenses of the First winning project and half of those of the Second winning project. In each case, half of the award funds will be awarded in mid July, and the other half on completion of the project, which has to be no later than December 31. As last year, the projects implementation will be monitored and details, including photos, will be made available on-line, at http://ecoclub.com/award.html
The 2004 Award was won by Ranweli Holiday Village who successfully implemented their project, creation of an organic vegetable plot and green house in school premises close to the Lodge, in December 2004.
ECOCLUB®.com, International Ecotourism Club™, is an award-winning, global Ecotourism network with Members in over 60 countries. Membership offers unique benefits. On July 1, 2005 ECOCLUB celebrated its 6th year promoting genuine ecotourism.
To find out more:
For details on the ECOCLUB.com Ecolodge
For information on ECOCLUB.com
For Press Enquiries &
Interviews with the winners
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