Voluntourism: Doing Great Things In Great Places For A Great Cause!
Mary Ellen Rowe, Expedition Coordinator, Earthwatch Institute
Linda Reifschneider, Field Representative and Saint Louis Zoo Docent
Our zoos and aquariums captivate our passion and energy because of their ability to engage us and our communities in interesting, fun, and educational ways. We become committed to these organizations because of the positive impact and learning opportunities they provide to the communities they serve. Why shouldn’t we expect the same of our travel experiences and travel providers? Combine tourism and volunteering and you have voluntourism.
Organizations such as Earthwatch provide unique opportunities for individuals to travel to remote and exotic corners of the world where they volunteer their time and energy in support of conservation, community, and environmental efforts. The experience for the volunteer is deep, meaningful, and a vastly different experience from traditional tourist journeys. This session will explore how volunteer travel experiences can translate into real-world contextual examples that can be drawn upon to connect with local organizations, schools, zoos, and aquariums here at home.