From Reefs to Raptors: Top Picks For Programs That Help Islands Thrive >
By Victoria Schlesinger, GoNOMAD HELPS GUIDE
Palau Conservation Society
Dr. Noah Idechong
Tel: (680) 488-3993
Fax: (680) 488-3990
As development balloons on the islands of the Republic of Palau, The Palau Conservation Society (PCS) strives to ensure that rapid growth does not jeopardize the country’s natural and cultural values. A constellation of islands located at the western end of Micronesia, Palau is known to have one the most spectacular underwater ecosystems in the world.
Established in 1994 by the highly respected Dr. Noah Idechong, PCS has won numerous awards for their conservation work, which includes projects in the areas of scientific research, resource management, policy development, and public awareness.
Reef Ball Coalition Inc
The Reef Ball Coalition has a kind of clunky name but a very intriguing concept. They organize trips to tropically-based island project sights — currently Dominica, St. Lucia, the Turks and Caicos — where travelers can help the coalition make and then place reef balls in areas best suited for artificial reefs. On your vacation, you’ll not only have a chance to swim with parrotfish and sea stars, but the opportunity to restore their habitat.
- Guesthouse Brekkubaer, Hellnar Iceland
The township of Hellnar sits on the Snaefellsnes peninsula in west Iceland and is about as close a town as you will find to the Snaefellsjokull glacier, renowned as one of the most towering if not most beautiful mountains in Iceland. The Guesthouse Brekkubaer is committed to serving organic foods, reducing consumption of resources, and working toward certification through Green Globe 21.
- Cinnamon Bay, St. John’s Island, USVI
The U.S. Virgin Islands National Park encompasses about three-fifths of St. John’s Island, protecting its pristine beaches and offering an off-the-beaten-path means of experiencing the Caribbean. Camping facilities and rustic cottages are available at Cinnamon Bay, as is the opportunity to work as a volunteer archaeologist and assist an ongoing excavation of the area’s pre-colonial history. For more information on the excavation see: www.friendsvinp.org/
- The Pathways Hotel, Yap Island
Pathways Hotel is run by a Yapese family committed to the development of sustainable tourism on Yap. The hotel’s eight bungalows are built in part from local resources and sit amidst rainforest jungle on a hillside overlooking the water. Through the hotel, local guides offer tours of the surrounding villages and kayak excursions through the mangroves. They also offer a traditional dance performance and are willing to do a bit of teaching too.
- Dadia Forest, Evros, Greece
While Europe is not one of the first places that jumps to mind when thinking of nature preserves or birding, a portion of the Dadi Forest in northeastern Greece has been set aside and now serves as one of Europe’s few refuges for predatory birds. Thirty-six of Europe’s 38 raptors reside, for at least part of the year, in the forest. The local municipality of Soufli has developed an ecotourist lodge with a dining hall, a gift shop carrying local products, and an information center where you can learn about the forest and local habitat.
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