INVESTING IN OUR PLANET'S WILDLIFE THIS EARTH DAY
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Earth Day was first established on 22 April 1970 in the United States in order to highlight the importance of environmental consciousness. With over one billion people in 193 countries taking part annually, Earth Day aims to raise awareness of the loss of the world's biodiversity and establish measures that protect the environment. This year’s Earth Day is dedicated to investing in our planet and establishing innovative measures to preserve our ecosystems. Here are some news and tours that aim to encourage this.
Stay at the lodge that saved a Costa Rican rainforest with Exodus Travels
Travel through Costa Rica, accompanied by expert guides, to experience the wildlife rich waterways of Tortuguero. Here there are lush rainforests, home to scarlet macaws, humpback whales that breed in the waters offshore, green turtles and sloths that lazily crawl along cecropia branches. Hiking to the Fortuna waterfall, through the Arenal National Park and up to the Arenal Volcano is an incredible experience.
Stay in the Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, located in the Piedras Blancas National Park, southern Costa Rica, that is surrounded by impressive mountains and lush evergreen forests. It provides the perfect eco-climate for a number of rare tropical trees and endangered species to flourish. The Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is one of the country’s only 100% carbon neutral lodges and Exodus was the first UK company to bring guests to the lodge over 20 years ago. Back in the 1990s a group of local farmers saved the National Park from being exploited and constructed the lodge to help guarantee its future. Visitors at the Esquinas Lodge can purchase an “Adopt-a-Tree” certificate. These generous donations are given to La Gamba Field Station and research institution, to help plant trees and purchase land. The lodge is also integrally connected with the people of La Gamba, employing all of their workers locally and reinvesting the profits they’ve made at the Esquinas Rainforest Lodge back into community, contributing more than $200,000 for community-based projects, including renovating La Gamba’s water system, community town hall and schools, as well as the construction of a playground and police station.
Exodus Travels’ 16-day Discover Costa Rica trip is priced from £3,199 per person including, return flights, all accommodation including two nights at the Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, all breakfasts, eight lunches, six dinners, arrival and departure transfers, tour leader throughout, all transport and listed activities. Multiple departures in 2022. (Exodus.co.uk, 0203 1312 785)
Enjoy a blue safari in the Maldives and sponsor a species of coral
The Blue Safari offered by the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa takes guests underwater on diving and snorkelling tours to discover marine wildlife, including stingrays, pufferfish, turtles and up to 20 species of coral. This new experience explores the wonders of the underwater world as a plethora of magnificent marine life is unveiled through clear turquoise waters, where visibility can exceed 50 metres.
The resort has appointed Blue Safari Rangers, a team of marine biologists and master divers who will lead the tours and ensure visitors do not disturb the sensitive marine life in their habitat. With over 40 world-class diving sites surrounding Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, the resort hosts one of the most established dive centres in the Maldives promising guests a spectacular and memorable experience in the water. Complimentary snorkelling gear is available for all guests, with lessons also included for beginners. Optional diving courses are also offered at the island’s water sports centre. Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa hosts a year-round coral propagation programme with the aim of restoring reefs by placing coral frames around the resort’s house reef, rejuvenating the coral, and allowing guests to see the corals grow over time
Sheraton Maldives offers a seven-night stay from £1,010 per person, based on two people sharing and including breakfast. Guests can sponsor a coral for £125 and will receive an educational talk by the Sheraton’s Blue Safari Ranger and marine biologist Amelie Carraut followed by a guided tour of the resort’s house reef to view the coral planting initiative. A bi-annual update on the adopted coral will also be shared
Discover the variety of wildlife in Guernsey on incredible coastal walks
The Islands of Guernsey are known for their sweeping views and stunning coastal walks. Guernsey is home to a huge variety of wildlife, from gannets and gulls to the humble Guernsey vole - native only to the Orkneys and Guernsey. The great diversity of species reflects the many different habitats that the island provides: grasslands, towering cliffs, open sandy beaches and wooded valleys allow varying animals and birds to reside here. The best way to discover the wealth of wildlife is to put on walking shoes and venture outside.
La Société Guernesiaise organisation helps to preserve Guernsey’s biodiversity. They run many nature reserves across the island, creating havens for wildlife that provide the perfect opportunity for nature enthusiasts to admire the different species whilst respecting their natural habitats. The organisation protects the wetlands and riverbanks of Guernsey that are home to over 150 rare species of bird. VisitGuernsey Wildlife Walks.
Hear from Ocean Conservationists aboard a voyage with Ambassador Cruise Line
In December 2021, Ambassador Cruise Line announced a partnership with marine conservation charity, ORCA as well launching an anti-whaling campaign, which is the first of its kind in the cruise industry. This campaign from Ambassador and ORCA will see that two Ocean Conservationists from the charity are aboard the flagship, Ambience, in 2022 and 2023, for 11 sailings – a significant proportion of Ambassador’s cruises and totalling over 200 days at sea. The ocean conservationists will visit countries including Iceland, Greenland and sail the Iberian coast, Black Sea and Irish Sea collecting important scientific data from key areas, as well as delivering an enhanced onboard experience for guests to learn and understand the issues facing some of the most unique marine wildlife on the planet.
The 22-day Arctic Voyage to Greenland & Iceland is priced from £1,599 per person and includes all accommodation, all meals, all listed activities, tours with polar experts and award-winning explorers, Louis Rudd MBE, Ann Daniels and Wendy Searle.
Explore Menorca’s best birdwatching spots
With their mid-migratory route location, the Balearic Islands make an ideal breeding spot for extraordinary species of bird, such as Balearic shearwaters, ringed plovers, dunlins and redshanks. Menorca’s UNESCO biosphere reserve title, in addition to individual protected nature areas, shields the island’s many endemic species. Birdwatchers in Menorca are able to spot dramatic fish eagles and Egyptian vultures along the island’s magnificent canyons, while smaller birds such as bee-eaters can be found hiding in the luscious woodland areas.
Nature Trek are offering an expertly guided eight-day holiday in Menorca from 22-29 April, in search of its endemic birds and flowers. The package costs £1,595 inclusive of flights from London to Mahon, meals and accommodation in Matchani Gran, an 18th century countryside farmhouse. www.illesbalears.travel
Learn the importance of the Scottish wildlife on The Wee Wildlife Half Day Safari
Discover Scotland’s amazing natural world including the majestic red deer, charismatic otter and elusive golden eagle as well as seals and red squirrels. The expert guide will show visitors the importance and beauty of natural wildlife as they discover the Morven region and learn about its history, folklore, culture and geology whilst enjoying the peace and quiet in complete wilderness. The trip visits some of the most dramatic scenery that can be found in Scotland including views from Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis.
Ian, a local guide on the ToursByLocals platform, was born and bred on the Hebridean Islands of Harris and Skye and knows all the hidden places from tranquil beaches and fishing villages to remote areas home to magnificent grazing stags.
ToursByLocals’ four-hour The Wee Wildlife Half Day Safari is priced from £295 per tour, for up to eight people. The tour includes guiding services and private transportation (seven-seat Land Rover Discovery). www.toursbylocals.com
Experience the Big Five on a Kenyan Safari with Mercury Holidays
Search for the Big Five in the tropical highlands of Aberdare Mountains, embark on game drives across the vast plains of the Maasai Mara National Reserve and spot flamingos perched in Lake Naivasha as you experience Africa's unsurpassed natural beauty on an escorted tour. Highlights include a visit to David Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre to enjoy an up-close encounter with the young orphans that they look after; embracing the private island sanctuary of Crescent Island Game Conservancy; and observing animals gathering in the evening at a watering hole whilst staying at the rustic Treetops Lodge.
This 10-day Kenyan Safari is priced from £2,299 per person and includes return flights from London Heathrow or Manchester, transportation, all accommodation, meals. ATOL financial protection. Multiple departures in 2022. (Mercuryholidays.co.uk, 033 3999 3287)
Dine at Le Méridien Maldives' eco-friendly restaurant
Opening its doors for the first time in September 2021, Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa, is dedicated to running with a strong sense of environmental consciousness, using a greenhouse to plate approach for its restaurants. A significant step towards self-sufficiency, "The Greenhouse" is a semi-automated hydroponic system that produces fresh leafy vegetables for resort guests and consumption on neighbouring islands. Developed in conjunction with Singapore-based company Kok Fah Technology Farm, the 500 m² greenhouse uses a range of state-of-the-art technologies, including an automated irrigation system that captures and recycles rainwater. This produces clean vegetables that are free of pesticides, grown in a stress-free environment and particularly nutrient-rich through the use of peat moss.
Guests can also get involved: by gardening in the greenhouse or attending culinary experiences such as the Harvest Table, a weekly supper club dining experience that spotlights hydroponic farming practices whilst enjoying imaginative dishes with a conscience.
LuxTripper offers a 9-night all-inclusive stay including return flights and airport transfers from £3,999 per person.