Announcing the Nominees for Greenheart Travel’s Second Annual Give Back Award!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Every day, change-makers are working to create a positive impact around the world. To honor their incredible efforts, we created a Greenheart Travel Give Back Award to celebrate the important work our international partners are doing within their volunteer projects, and to help fund specific needs. Greenheart Travel will make a charitable donation to one of our non-profit partners to help meet these needs, and we want you to help us in selecting who will receive the donation!
Last year, our Stray Dog Rescue Project in Thailand was awarded the donation, helping to boost their efforts in rescuing stray dogs and puppies in the area, as well as allowing them to:
- Purchase more kennels
- Create a recreational play area
- Add a new adoption zone
- Treat and release nearly four times the amount of dogs
This year, we are thrilled to announce our 2017 nominees and their volunteer project proposals. The winner will be chosen by Greenheart Travel community members like YOU. Don’t forget to vote for your choice at the bottom of the blog post!
Greenheart Travel Give Back Award Nominees:
Nominee #1: Puerto Rico Forestry Volunteer Project
Give Back Award Proposal: Investment in educational opportunities for students in nature
At the forestry volunteer project in Puerto Rico, techniques are being tested and researched to help show that even small scale forests can be ecologically and economically suitable for sustainable timber production. In addition to the economic benefits this forestry project is showing, nature’s health benefits are also being explored.
As part of a new educational initiative, Puerto Rican students of all ages are coming to the project site to be guided through the forest. The goal of this education initiative is to encourage students to visit and engage with places of ecological value in Puerto Rico; to encourage experiences with nature, as a complement to environmental education and as a tool to promote the strengthening of cognitive skills and student learning.
The work with this program, though deemed mandatory by all schools, is not funded by the government, and with the help of the Give Back Award the forestry volunteer project could help facilitate the student visits.
Why do our partners feel strongly about providing students the opportunity to experience the forest project with the help of the Give Back Award?
It is important that our project is open, and worthwhile to the youngsters of our region, and to enhance their delight and learning experience can only provide good results. Many children in urban areas never go into forests.
Nominee #2: Peru Amazon Rainforest Sustainability Volunteer Project
Give Back Award Proposal: Invest in energy storage units and solar-power tablets for data collection and research
The Amazon Rainforest in Manu National Park is the most biodiverse place on Earth, but it’s under threat. Poverty and population growth drive people to destroy the rainforest through logging, farming and mining as they have few other ways of providing for their families. To save Manu, sustainability has to be a realistic choice for impoverished communities. Through conservation research, environmental education and sustainable livelihoods this Amazon Rainforest Sustainability project is working on the solution.
The Peru rainforest research and education volunteer project supports 23 agroforestry plots so that farmers can adopt sustainable agricultural practices on 61 hectares of land. They’ve created 19 bio-gardens so that families can improve their health and wealth, and have planted over 30,000 native trees. Yet the remote location and limited resources impacts efficiency and productivity.
With the Give Back Award, our partners would invest in tablets for field data collection, each with a solar panel charger pack and waterproof case. They would also purchase electricity storage units, as they only have two hours of electricity every other day which slows productivity.
Why do our partners feel so strongly about investing in technology and solar energy sources for their work at the volunteer project?
We spend 26 hours a week on data entry; transferring handwritten data collected from the field into computers. That’s a massive 150 work days a year. This not only wastes time and introduces errors, but also makes our dedicated volunteers frustrated.
Nominee #3: Sri Lanka Elephant Conservation Volunteer Project
Give Back Award Proposal: Investing in the Pachydrone Project to keep both villagers and elephants safe
The Human-elephant conflict is one of the biggest socio-economic and environmental issues in Sri Lanka. Annually, elephants cause over $10 million dollars-worth of crop and property damage to rural farmers, and in defense to this damage, farmers kill elephants. Every year on average, 225 elephants and 60-80 people are killed because of this conflict.
Nearly 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s wild elephants live in areas outside the national parks. The Sri Lanka elephant conservation project has initiated a pilot project to use UAV/drone technology to monitor and manage human-elephant conflicts in the area. Today, lightweight drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been used to track animals in their natural habitat, monitor the health of rainforests, and even combat crime by detecting poachers via thermal imaging. The use of drones to monitor elephants is entirely risk free to people because it can be used from a safe distance and does not impose any risks on the villagers or the elephants.
Why are our partners investing in technology to help alleviate the human-elephant conflict?
The PachyDrones Project will help villagers to safeguard their crops and homes without putting their lives in danger, and it will also stop people from physically harming or causing death to elephants.
Help us decide the 2017 Give Back Award recipient and vote for the project proposal that you feel most passionate about helping to grow. We’ll announce the winner on April 22nd in honor of Earth Day!