Conservation with Communities

The only way of actively respecting the past, enjoying the present and contributing towards a better future, is by either developing new or supporting already existing long term conservation projects, which lead to working with local communities.

Conservation with Communities

In each of our locations we are currently participating in projects that meet specific environmental and communitarian needs, educating and engaging both the local communities as well as international explora travelers, into protecting and raising awareness about each area’s natural and cultural assets, successfully catalyzing long term and highly participative conservation initiatives.

Fortunately enough, our privileged remote locations allow us to supply an important part of these logistics, substantially reducing overall costs and difficulties.

However, putting forth our hospitality facilities is just the tip of the iceberg. Our proudest achievement is our staff’s active participation in each project. We put together multidisciplinary teams whose individual skills and qualifications facilitate our partners’ work and the successful completion of each project’s objectives. From our guide’s acute local knowledge, to our chef’s culinary skills and our driver’s unique sense of direction, each member of our team plays a part in the explora Conservation Projects.

explora Rapa Nui Terevaka Outreach Program (TAO)

For the past 3 years we have joined Brett Shephardson, one of Northern Arizona University’s leading archaeologists, and become proud Partners of the Terevaka Outreach program (TAO).

explora Rapa Nui Terevaka Outreach Program (TAO)

Over 12 years ago, Shepardson visited Easter Island as part of his PhD syllabus. Fascinated by its unique archaeological heritage and the mystery surrounding its history, his investigation led him towards the importance of empowering local communities toward further understanding their heritage and transmitting it to future generations. With this in mind, he created an annual workshop for local Rapa Nui students above the age of 16. He believed that in time, he would develop educational platforms for the local community to take charge of their heritage, enriching the island’s scientific and touristic potential. By the end of the program, each participating student would be a knowledge bearer not only for his fellow Rapa Nui, but also for the international academic and travel communities.

The workshop takes place every year during the southern hemisphere’s two-week winter holidays. explora began working as a partner for the program 3 years ago and is now more involved than ever. We set up camp in the hotel’s gardens where the 14 participating students lived during the program’s duration. As well as this, our vans and drivers were responsible for the logistic behind each exploration and our kitchen team was in charge of providing food and beverages throughout the experience. With each new version, the program has gained the respect of local families, who have also become increasingly involved in each process. 2015 saw a dramatic increase in the number of students who applied to the program, which lead to a selection based on school grades, gender equality and a personal cover letter. As well as this for the first time since it started, this year saw the collaboration of the international academic community with the presence of two post-graduate students from the universities of Northern Arizona and Mount Holyoke. The participating students could chose from two workshops: archaeology, and renewable energy- two of the island’s main concerns.

explora Atacama Puritama Natural Reserve

Northern Chile is a place of many secrets. It seems the lack of water is simply the Atacama Desert’s best possible self-defense mechanism, keeping unwanted visitors at arm’s length.

explora Atacama Puritama Natural Reserve

The rich biodiversity of the area, however, has managed to adapt itself to altitude, drought and extreme temperatures, displaying characteristics that are unique to the brave plant and animal species that wonder this remote part of the world. Bearing this in mind, explora’s founder don Pedro Ibáñez, began investigating the possibility of creating a private Reserve that would provide a safe haven within the desert. After searching high and low, he came across the unexpected thermal waters of the Puritama River, believed to have powerful healing powers by the local communities. This was how explora destined 8500 hectares of land to the creation of the Puritama Natural Reserve, which is beautiful as it is interesting.

Our project for the Puritama Natural Reserve was to create a conservation plan in which local communities could become actively involved, gaining substantial knowledge from the anthropological and scientific studies that were conducted in the area. In order to do so, significant research had to take place so as to provide an accurate census of the local ecosystem. Thus began a two-year investigation in which the scientific community shone the light on the wealth and diversity of the area’s flora and fauna. Among the studied species was the Andean Cat, one the planet’s least studied endangered species, which uses the Puritama Natural Reserve as hunting and breeding grounds.

explora Patagonia Lenga Forest Reforestation Program

Back in 2011 a catastrophic fire blazed through the Torres del Paine National Park, burning a staggering 17000 hectares of Patagonian forest. In coherence with our core values, since then we have actively worked with the Chilean government and independent organizations in order to bring back the native plant species that were lost in the fire. However, as of 2015, we decided it was time to take it a step further with a new internal campaign in which our travelers participate and take action in the program.

explora Patagonia Lenga Forest Reforestation Program

Our travelers have always been interested in ways to contribute to preserving the unique areas where we are located, not just for their own enjoyment, but also for the benefit of future generations and the planet itself. This is how we came to create a forest restoration program that would allow our travelers to take action. Unlike reforestation, forest restoration implies a continuous monitoring system of each planted tree in order to follow its progress and health from the moment it is planted until the day it has fully grown. We have bought 700 lenga trees, which our travelers can sponsor at the Patagonia lodge shop. The money we collect from these first 700 baby lengas, will be destined to buy another 700, and so on and so forth. Our idea is to run a self-sustaining forest restoration program of which our travelers can proudly participate. Each tree is planted by a local organization that operates with national and international volunteers who are also eager to help preserve the national park for future generations.

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