According to the Ecotourism Association of Australia, "Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation". They offer three levels of certification,
We are proud to have been awarded the highest level of ecotourism accreditation. For more information, click the links below.
The Australian Tourism Accreditation Program "provides you with an assurance that the tourism business has a proven commitment to the highest quality of service. All businesses accredited through the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program meet the Australian Tourism Accreditation Standard, ensuring:
There are many environmental organisations in Australia which we support in one way or another. Some of them are listed below.
Anything in inverted commas below was taken from the organisation's website." These are grouped into four classes: land owners national, state and local organisations and volunteer opportunities.
Two of these organisations purchase properties with a high conservation value and manage them for their environmental values.
The Australian Wildlife Conservancy now owns 21 sanctuaries covering 2.5 million hectares (6.2 million acres) around Australia. The AWC protects more threatened mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians than any other non-government organisation in Australia. More than 74% of all Australian bird species and more than 68% of all Australian mammals are found on one or more of AWC’s reserves.(This link will show take you to a map showing where their sanctuaries are located.)
We visit one of these, Mornington, on our Gibb River Road Gorges trip.
Mornington is one of Australia's largest non-government protected areas, covering 3,207 square km of the upper catchment of the Fitzroy river as well as sections of the rugged King Leopold Ranges.
Anyone who has been on one of our trips should be aware of our concern about the pattern of bushfires in recent times. Tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal burning created a diverse landscape where a large variety of flora and fauna could thrive. Modern late season, high intensity burns extending over thousands of square kilometres have been destroying that variety. Operating from Mornington, the AWC is addressing the problem of large destructive fires in the Kimberley through a regionally coordinated fire management project called EcoFire. The project area now includes 14 central and northern Kimberley pastoral, indigenous and conservation properties covering almost 50 000 square kilometres.
Bush Heritage Australia is a non-profit conservation organisation dedicated to protecting Australia's animals, plants and their habitats. They currently own and manage 31 reserves throughout Australia, covering over 946 000 hectares. Their reserves are managed in a similar way to national parks - the land is legally protected, with the intention of safeguarding it forever. (This link will take you to a map showing where their sanctuaries are located.) They are reliant on donations for most of their operating budget."
If you have a real interest in helping to preserve Australia's biodiversity, you should have a good look at both websites and consider offering support, either financial or as a volunteer.
In an effort to encourage people to support conservation organisations, we have offered a 5% discount to members of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Wilderness Society since 1996.
The Australian Conservation Foundation. Founded in 1966, the ACF has the longest history of any national conservation organisation in Australia. They have a number of campaigns concerning northern Australia including
The Wilderness Society (TWS) "is a national, community-based, environmental advocacy organisation whose purpose is to protect, promote and restore wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth."
Among their many campaigns are ones fighting to preserve the natural values of
The National Parks Associations in each state try and maintain and improve the status of the national parks within their states and territories. Without their efforts, there would be more commercialisation of National Parks and the parks would be even more starved of resources than they are today. We try and assist their efforts by mentioning some of their campaigns in our email newsletters.
The National Parks Association of NSW "is a non-government conservation group that seeks to protect, connect and restore the integrity and diversity of natural systems in NSW and beyond, through national parks, marine sanctuaries and other means."
We have been advertising in their Journal for many years. It is well worth reading for anyone with an interest in NSW Parks.
Besides working to protect and improve NSW parks, the NPA of NSW offers a variety of activities including bushwalking. Their bushwalks can be a good preparation for doing one of ours.
They also offer a number of other membership benefits. Among these are a variety of discounts including one from Willis's Walkabouts. (It's an alphabetical list. We're at the bottom of the page.)
The Victorian National Parks Association "is dedicated to the protection of Victoria's unique natural environment and its biodiversity."
We have been advertising in their journal Park Watch for some years.
Like the NPA of NSW, they offer a Bushwalking and Activities program. We have been advertising in their printed program for many years.
The National Parks Association of Queensland "is a non-government, not-for-profit conservation organisation that promotes the preservation, expansion and wise management of National Parks in Queensland."
The National Parks Association of the ACT "promotes National Parks and protection of our fauna and flora, scenery, natural features and cultural heritage."
They publish a quarterly Bulletin and offer a variety of bushwalks and other events.
The Tasmanian National Parks Association "was formed in June 2001 to provide a public voice committed to the conservation of Tasmania's magnificent national parks and reserves."
To the best of our knowledge, there are no similar organisations in South Australia, Western Australia or the Northern Territory.
Three local organisations cover most of the areas where we operate.
TheEnvironment Centre of the NT "is the peak non-government environment group in the Territory." It is based in Darwin and is the main local voice for the environment in the Top End.
The Arid Lands Environment Centre is a community-based environmental organisation located in Alice Springs, in the heart of the Australia's arid zone. Since 1980, the organisation has been the main conservation voice for the arid zone."
Environs Kimberley "advocates careful planning for our region and the encouragement of business opportunities that protect and enhance the environment and lifestyle. We want our region to be an environmental showcase for the rest of the world."
Their Nature page provides a good, brief introduction to the natural values of the region.
We can't possibly list all the local environmental organisations around Australia, but one of our guides, Ed Hill, has been so involved with Still Wild, Still Threatened in Tasmania that we felt we had to give it a mention. They are fighting to protect some of the best remaining forests in Australia. "SWST advocates the immediate formal protection of Tasmania's precious Southern Forests using a combination of political and corporate lobbying, community education, research, exploration and frontline direct action. We also promote the creation of an equitable and environmentally sustainable forest industry in Tasmania. Protecting Tasmania's ancient forests : a real climate change solution."
If you would like to offer something more than money, there are a number of projects you can get involved in. Conservation Volunteers Australia offers projects around the country, with plenty of opportunities to help with practical conservation. Visit their website or search for projects through the Conservation Connect search engine.
Willis's Walkabouts, 12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810, Australia email@example.com
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