Naturalist Ventures focuses on outdoor education programs with the express purpose of reconnecting people back to nature. This has several purposes: 1) for the enjoyment and relaxation of the participants, 2) as a learning experience enriching their knowledge of the natural world and 3) to give them a reason to care for the environment and encourage them to support conservation and preservation initiatives. We offer several different types of expeditions incorporating the following activities: wildlife tracking and trailing, bird language and avian communications, navigation/orienteering and predicting the weather, and reading landscapes/habitats for ecological assessment. Our trips include destinations in North America (U.S., Canada, Mexico), Central America (Belize, Costa Rica), South America (Brazil), Asia (India), Africa (Kenya, Zimbabwe), and Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Romania). We typically go out on the land each day looking for animal sign and sounds, doing observations and ‘its’, and teaching participants how to read the landscape and assess the environmental conditions of a given area.
A. Energy Consumption - Because Naturalist Ventures programs are conducted on the land and we move around almost entirely by walking, our energy consumption is very low. There are of course some travel involved to get to the location, but once attendees arrive we have minimal impact. Overnight accommodation is usually in a safari tent or a cabin type structure, and if there is electricity consumption it is often generated by solar panels because the locations are often off the grid.
B. Water Conservation - As with energy, the water we access to on our programs is usually minimal; often showers are outside using well water and either low flush toilets or latrines. The only other water usage is for drinking (stream or well water) and for cooking.
C. Reducing Pollution - All of our programs practice “no trace left behind”. Except for the occasional camp fire, we don’t emit any other greenhouse gases other than the CO2 we breathe. Whereever possible, we pickup and pack out any trash we see others leave behind.
D. Waste Management - See previous answer for reducing pollution. We pack out what we bring in terms of packaging, recycle anything we can, use reusable bottles, plates, etc wherever possible (rather than disposable items) and bury any bio wastes from latrines, camping, etc.
E. Biodiversity, ecosystems & landscapes - Our programs focus on environmental education and hence stress the importance of biodiversity and leaving habitat intact. This includes trying to lessen disturbances to plants and animals by staying on trails wherever possible and not approaching wildlife closely, disturbing feeding or breeding areas, etc.
F. Human Rights - We have little involvement here, though we attempt to abide by all local laws and treat people with the same courtesy and rights that we expect ourselves.
G. Labour Rights - On international programs, we typically employ local guides in addition to our own staff and pay them an excellent wage. This is done not only so that they can make a living, but also so they hopefully have a reason to retain the skills of their ancestors (wildlife tracking for example) and hence we are helping them keep their culture alive.
H. Animal Rights - Our programs are based around animal observation and studying their behavior from afar…hence, we do not harass animals or interfere with their normal routines. Activities like wildlife tracking study the evidence animals left behind usually hours or days before, hence they are not in the area when we look for their tracks. We also teach people to go around animals (including birds) whenever possible, and to never stare, shout, or chase after them.
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