Summit delegates received an update about the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF) on Tuesday before the day’s final keynote presentation. The organization, which grants funding to nominated and selected projects strictly through member dues and voting, financially supported three projects in 2017 with its first round of funding and is currently in the process of determining which projects will be selected this year.
Executive director of the ATCF, Soraya Shattuck, reflected on the past year’s success and shared brief information about upcoming initiatives and projects. In just two years, more than 70 international organizations from 20 countries have become ATCF members, funding five conservation projects more than $135,000 USD in its very first round of grant giving. “If this is what we can do in just two short years, I am so excited about what is to come,” Shattuck said.
All delegates are invited to attend a breakfast meeting to learn more about the organization and network with current members on Wednesday, 17 October, at Grand Hotel Vittoria at 7:30 a.m.
In 2017, the ATCF provided funding to three organizations: Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, which helped establish a permanent settlement for the Gahinga community of Batwa pygmies in Uganda; Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation, which is protecting orangutan populations and forest habitat in and around Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo; and WILDCOAST, which has a multifaceted approach for protecting coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife in Mexico.
ATCF members are currently in the process of voting for projects vying for funding in 2018. Voting will close 31 October, and grant winners will be announced shortly thereafter. The following 12 finalists are in contention to receive ATCF funding.
- Scarlet Macaw Conservation (Belize)
- Kawésqar Community Center (Chile)
- Bale Mountains Conservation Project (Ethiopia)
- Transcaucasian Trail Pankisi (Georgia)
- Himalayan Homestays (India)
- Emurutoto Women’s Craft Center (Kenya)
- Deplastificate (Mexico)
- Sea Turtle Conservation (Mexico)
- Junior Rangers (Mongolia)
- Ranger Boost (New Zealand)
- Balkan River Defense (Slovenia)
- Water for Hwange (Zimbabwe)
Shattuck also mentioned the organization’s Adopt A Project Program, which helps fund projects that are not selected through the voting process. Two additional projects from 2017 were recently fully funded by generous donations from ATCF member organizations REI Adventures and World Nomads. REI Adventures adopted the Boardwalk in Torres del Paine National Park Project, which includes new trail construction through this popular Chilean destination, and World Nomads fully funded the Trekking Waste Infrastructure Project, which supports sustainable waste management efforts in the Khumbu Region of Nepal. “Having run a micro-donations program on World Nomads since the Asian Tsunami, the opportunity to leverage our 1.5 million travelers to help fund ATCF projects was a no-brainer,” said Chris Noble, general manager of World Nomads. “The shared desire to help fund those organizations and communities committed to sustainable conservation and tourism development is at the heart of us both. How could we not get involved?”
“We launched the Adopt A Project Program earlier this year with the intent to give the projects that we did not currently have enough funding to support, an opportunity to be funded by ATCF members. Many of our members have specific initiatives or destinations that they identify closely with, and the Adopt A Project Program gives them a chance to support these through the ATCF,” Shattuck said. “We are beyond thrilled that REI Adventures and World Nomads have stepped up and each adopted a project in our very first round.”
Membership remains open year round for any company interested in joining.