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Helping Endangered Corals in Little Cayman with EarthWatch

h9-coral-nursery-c-ccmi_5912.jpgh8-people-conducting-research-sea-grass-monitoring-c-ccmi_5911.jpgGo on this EarthWatch expedition and “Help researchers learn what makes coral strong, which could have a hand in saving reefs across the world.

Coral reefs live in a stressful world. Thanks to climate change and carbon dioxide emissions, they have to deal with rising sea temperatures and increasingly acidic ocean waters, which make them more susceptible to disease and death.

The coral reef off Little Cayman Island tells a story of survival in the face of these challenges. It’s one of the few reefs in the world to recover after the 1998 El Nino year, which caused record-high sea temperatures around the world and took a huge toll on reefs (some countries lost 90% of their living reefs).”

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Tropical Birding at It’s Best in Panama

imageThe Sierra Club is offering a brilliant birding tour through Panama.imagePhotos above by Pati Rouzer (Trip Leader).

“Have you always wanted to bird Pipeline Road, experience a tropical sunrise from the top of the canopy, chase an ant swarm, walk in a cloud forest, and see the wintering home of our songbirds? Our journey offers a vast diversity of habitats while being comfortably based at two amazing lodges. We will explore the bird-rich lowland rainforest of the Canal Zone, and then from a mountain valley lodge enjoy more wonderful birding locations in the cloud forest, Caribbean slope, Pacific foothills, dry forest, and coastal beaches.

…Panama boasts 972 species of birds (16 globally threatened birds and 8 country endemics), 218 species of mammals, 242 known reptiles, 182 species of amphibians, and around 9,915 species of higher plants.”

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National Geographic’s Alaska Family Adventure

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“Voyage along Alaska’s Inside Passage on an unforgettable family voyage on board the National Geographic Sea Bird. Exploring with our team of naturalists, discover hidden inlets by kayak and hike along sparkling salmon streams as you experience the pristine beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. A special hands-on educational program is designed to encourage children’s interest in topics as diverse as the feeding behavior of humpback whales and the identification of bear tracks in the wild.

Our approach during this voyage is one of discovery. We take time to stop and explore this beautiful and intriguing land up close, in the company of expert naturalists who have an intimate knowledge of the region. Our small ship has the flexibility to take us ashore to places that few others see. The long days of summer allow for wildlife viewing well into the evening hours. Throughout our voyage, kids’ coordinators arrange scavenger hunts and special Zodiac cruises for young explorers.”

Trip Highlights:

-Traveling aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion, spot black and brown bears and breaching humpback whales with experienced naturalists.
-Glide in a Zodiac among a maze of icebergs in Tracy Arm Fjord, and paddle a kayak into pristine fjords and hidden coves.
-Learn about the everyday life of Alaska’s native tribes.
-Participate in special kids’ activities, such as scavenger hunts, special hikes and Zodiac excursions, and hands-on lessons with our naturalists.

8 Days

Day 1 — Seattle/Juneau, Alaska

Fly from Seattle to Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Visit the imposing Mendenhall Glacier. There is time to explore Juneau on your own before we embark the ship in the late afternoon.
National Geographic Sea Bird (D)

Day 2 — Tracy Arm Fjord—Fords Terror Wilderness
Enter Tracy Arm, a spectacular 22-mile-long fjord where waterfalls cascade from towering, glacially carved walls. We maneuver among large icebergs, keeping an eye out for feeding bears on the shoreline and mountain goats on the cliffs above.

Day 3 — Petersburg
Discover the small town of Petersburg on Mitkof Island, founded more than 100 years ago by rugged Norwegian fishermen. A visit to Petersburg provides a glimpse of a true Alaskan town and an opportunity for hiking along forest trails. Later, cruise out to look for whales in the southern part of Frederick Sound, or explore LeConte Bay, a virtual sculpture garden of grounded icebergs.

Day 4 — Exploring Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait
These waters often make for great whale watching. Look for Steller sea lions hauled out on the rocky islands that dot the channels. Take a walk with naturalists along a quiet forest trail or kayak in the tiny coves in this area.

Day 5 — Point Adolphus/Chichagof IslandLook for humpback whales at Point Adolphus, a favored feeding area. Then cruise along the northern coastline of Chichagof Island and find playful sea otters. Keep an eye out for eagles, which are commonplace in the surrounding Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States.

Day 6 — Glacier Bay National Park and PreserveSpend the day exploring magnificent Glacier Bay, where enormous glaciers flow from the ice fields far above. Watch and hear glaciers calving as tons of ice crash into the sea. Venture near islets that are home to seabirds such as puffins and guillemots, and look for humpback whales and orcas. Walk ashore among towering spruce trees and meadows of wildflowers.

Day 7 — Exploring Alaska’s Islands, Bays, and FjordsBeachcomb, hike forest trails, explore by kayak, or cruise along Admiralty Island, where the massive brown bear is found, along with perhaps the world’s highest density of nesting bald eagles. If conditions permit, explore the coastlines of some remote islands by kayak. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.

Day 8 — Sitka/Seattle
After breakfast, disembark in Sitka, a unique town with a strong Russian heritage. Visit St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, a striking testament to Alaska’s roots prior to the U.S. purchase of the territory from Russia. In the early afternoon, transfer to the airport for the flight to Seattle.
– See more at: http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/expeditions/alaska-family-cruise/detail#sthash.h2UnM7Ef.dpuf

Top Featured Image Source of a whale’s tale.

Exploring Nature & Spirit in Myanmar & Thailand

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An Exclusive Foray into Natural Realms of Ecotourism

“Renowned in the annals of global adventurers a century ago yet little known to modern-day vagabonds, Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – is opening its doors after long being inaccessible to travelers. Experience what has until now remained in isolation, from Buddhist cultural treasures and traditional rural villages to unspoiled tropical landscapes and fascinating wildlife. We’re sure you’ll concur with Rudyard Kipling, who wrote, “This is Burma, and it is unlike any land you know about.” That was in 1898 – and it’s still true today. Our unusual itinerary includes not only the golden temples of Yangon and Bagan, but national parks and natural highlights that few visitors see, including a remote slice of Thailand that is one of Southeast Asia’s richest wildlife enclaves.”

Highlights:

-Go to our remote ecolodge perched on volcanic slopes, look for rare wild langurs – leaf monkeys – in Popa Mountain National Park

-Snorkel over pristine coral reefs in the far-flung Mergui Archipelago, where we’ll also observe Burmese macaques, one of the world’s only tool-using primates

-Discover Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park, where prolific wildlife inhabits the world’s oldest rain forest amid spectacular karst mountains

Featured Leaf Monkey Image Source.

 

Swiss Family Adventure

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“Head into the magnificent Swiss Alps on a family adventure that combines hiking and biking with legendary train journeys. Stay in two stunning mountain villages: Zermatt, within view of the iconic Matterhorn mountain; and Pontresina, in the beautiful Engadine Valley. Wind through the mountains on a historic train, hike beneath the Matterhorn, and ride the highest chairlift in Europe among spectacular snowcapped peaks. Discover Alpine wildlife with a naturalist, visit a cheese factory, and sample Swiss chocolate on this expedition designed for explorers of all ages.

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image source.

Trip Highlights:

-Board the historic Glacier Express for a breathtaking journey across 291 Alpine bridges and through 91 tunnels.

-Bike along pristine lakes, ride a zip-line, and hike in the shadow of the Matterhorn’s craggy peak.

-Join an alpine guide for a walk on Morteratsch Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in the eastern Alps.

-Listen to mountaineering tales from an expert climber, and meet a naturalist to learn about Alpine wildlife.

Australia’s Hummingbird Eco Retreat

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“Situated adjacent to 72 acres of National Trust bushland The Hummingbird Eco Retreat offers nature walks in nearby Endeavour Fern Gully, classes in well-being subjects including yoga, meditation, dance and permaculture or the chance for reflection by an open fire. It has an extensive vegetable and herb garden that uses organic principles in its growing. We strive to use seasonal, local and organic produce in our cafe.

The Hummingbird Eco-Retreat is also close to attractions including beaches, wineries and restaurants, golf courses and craft markets..”

Explore Australia’s wildlife:

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Biomimicry Immersion in Costa Rica

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Since 2002, Biomimicry 3.8 has been offering week-long immersion programs to introduce participants to a new way of viewing and valuing the genius that surrounds us in the natural world. This year, in cooperation with Biomimicry Institute, our program focuses on honing and developing the skills to tap into nature’s genius while inspiring new innovations. We’ve closely coupled the program experience with the Institute’s AskNature, the world’s premier digital library of nature’s adaptations,imageand provide the opportunity for participants to become first-hand contributors to this incredible seedbank of strategies. Through this offering, we invite designers, creators, and innovators from around the world to find inspiration from the strategies found in nature.

Are you someone passionate about nature and how her elegant solutions can and should inform sustainable designs for humanity? Are you curious about the adaptations of life on Earth to survive and thrive and the lessons we might learn? Have you been wondering how to tap into that seemingly infinite source of innovation and inspiration?

Then join us.

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Upon completing this immersion program, you will be able to:

– Identify sustainable innovation strategies in nature and discern the functional objectives being achieved by forms, processes, and systems in nature

– Translate biological phenomenon into relevant and applicable design principles

-Fully describe a strategy discovered while in the Costa Rican tropical rainforest using the AskNature format and suggest applications for human designs

-Assemble interdisciplinary biomimicry work teams based on the core competencies required

-Recognize Life’s Principles, the rules for the way life on Earth can survive and thrive, in natural systems and in human design…”

All images are credited to Biomimicry.net