Natural Habitat Adventures has launched Nat Hab Philanthropy, a new initiative to help fund grassroots conservation and community development projects in the places where they operate. As the conservation travel partner of World Wildlife Fund and the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company, Nat Hab has led the way in showcasing travel’s positive on-the-ground influence around the globe. This new philanthropic program continues to raise the bar on their sustainability commitment.
Nat Hab Philanthropy expands and formalizes a program to help finance local projects in the destinations that host Natural Habitat’s travelers. While the company has long cast its support toward local projects around the world, Nat Hab Philanthropy expands a focus on community-led projects, from sustainable development to education, to science -- and ensures much larger financial contributions to boost these efforts.
Nat Hab Philanthropy is contributing to 13 grassroots projects in this year. These financial commitments provide a tangible boost for wildlife and community projects near endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda, in communities surrounding polar bears in the Arctic, around monarch butterfly roosting sites in Mexican fir forests, and on the ground with scientists studying wolves in Yellowstone and the elusive aye-aye lemur in Madagascar.
These are the projects where Nat Hab Philanthropy dollars are making a difference:
- Ride4AWoman: Uganda’s Buhoma village women started a successful bike rental business outside Bwindi National Park that is seeding other women-owned entrepreneurial efforts.
- Mbuga School Shelter: Ndali Lodge, where Nat Hab’s Uganda gorilla safaris stay, is building a secondary school building, adding much-needed classrooms for local kids.
- Bwindi Community School: Helping raise the bar for students from kindergarten to college who live near endangered Uganda’s mountain gorillas, a local school gets six new flush toilets.
- Primary School in Karatu: Inspired by visits while on safari in Tanzania, Nat Hab Philanthropy is now the Gyekrumalambo Primary School’s primary benefactor.
- Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership: As one of Madagascar’s least understood and rarest animals, the elusive aye-aye lemur is getting closer study to better understand how to save it from extinction.
- Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre: Nat Hab has adopted Wawa, a sun bear in Borneo, covering a full year of her care in hope that she will eventually be released back into the wild.
- Yellowstone Forever Wolf Project: Wolf research and monitoring in Yellowstone is critical to the long-term health of wild wolves, and Nat Hab continues to fully fund the collaring of one wolf for a year.
- Punta Banco Sea Turtle Nesting Project: Community-wide efforts have helped save and relocate hundreds of turtle nests in Costa Rica, and Nat Hab has adopted 50 nests in support of the overall turtle protection program.
- Glacier National Park Climate Film: A Nat Hab Expedition Leader is making a film about how climate change affects pristine and fragile environments, and Glacier National Park is a prime example of these changes.
- Garifuna Community School: Founded to sustain cultural identity and values within Belize’s Garifuna people, this school is buying traditional attire and drums for local celebrations and performances.
- Monarch Mural Restoration: A colorful mural depicting local history at the center of Angangueo, the epicenter for monarch butterfly ecotourism in Mexico, will get a full-scale restoration.
- Churchill Anglican Church Restoration: An iconic building used for community and visitor programs in this small northern community known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World is receiving some much-needed upgrades.
- Wild Macaw Project: Costa Rica’s Wild Macaw Association is getting support for ecological research, habitat protection and community development surrounding the scarlet macaw’s native habitat.
The process for selecting Nat Hab Philanthropy projects is a company-wide initiative, inclusive of input from Expedition Leaders, local partners all over the world and operations in Boulder, CO. Following an official request for proposals, Natural Habitat Adventures received a wide range of requests for financial support. Upon scrutinizing the proposals, Nat Hab staff voted to select the final Nat Hab Philanthropy recipients.
“Nat Hab Philanthropy is helping get important on-the-ground projects the funding they need. Our grants are supporting sustainable community development and science. That helps bolster local resources and raise the bar for protecting them. And that is how you help protect the fragile places on this brilliant planet,” says Nat Hab Director of Sustainability Court Whelan, who manages the company’s philanthropy program.
Nat Hab continues to show that conservation travel makes a difference. Tourism dollars provide crucial income to local communities, and in turn, these communities are seeing that natural resources are valuable when they are left intact. For details about Nat Hab Philanthropy and the grassroots projects it supports, visit www.nathab.com/sustainability/philanthropy/.