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New York Times - Travelling the World to Help Save It

"As exotic destinations become more commonplace and travelers seek out more unusual and broadening experiences, nonprofit groups are responding."

Quote:

'By promoting and helping to organize ecotourism, nonprofits benefit by raising awareness -- and money -- for their causes. The draw for travelers? Gaining access to places that they wouldn't be able to get to otherwise.

..."Tourism can be a powerful conservation tool," said Alasdair Harris, founder and executive director of Blue Ventures, a British nonprofit that offers three-to-six-week expeditions for scientists and volunteers to its marine field station in secluded Andavadoaka, Madagascar. The nonprofit-meets-travel model has worked well for the organization. In three years, Blue Ventures has won the United Nations Seed Award and opened the world's first community-run marine-protected area for octopus, which has improved catches among local octopus fishermen and led the national government to use the project as a model for other marine-protected areas in the country.

Gabrielle Johnson, 35, a teacher from Santa Barbara, Calif., traveled to Andavadoaka as a volunteer in 2004. ''I loved interacting with the local people, and learning how they respect the area where they live while still having to fish and depend on that for a living,'' she said. ''And getting to dive every day, getting to know the corals and the fish and collecting data, was amazing.'' Blue Ventures' latest project is to develop a community-run eco-lodge in Madagascar...'

The New York Times, December 17 2007

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