A home away from home in Lombok, Indonesia

Home away from homeDr. Helena Baird, a volunteer with Chimp-n-Sea partner JARI, a marine protection organisation located in Indonesia, has created a fantastic vEcotour of her beautiful “home away from home”.

“Volunteering in a developing country is more than just the work itself” Helena explains, “it’s an entirely immersive, challenging and uplifting experience. I have almost been in Indonesia for six months now, so thought I’d give you a taste of my “home away from home” here on Lombok. As you’ll see it’s quite beautiful, but it certainly has its quirks…and it couldn’t be more dissimilar to my home in Tasmania!”

We hope that Helena will bring some vEcotours from the good ship Yosina in due course!

So click on the image above or map below to start your tour.  Find out how Helena is adjusting to living in Indonesia and discover the various residents, human and otherwise, with whom she shares her home.

To find out more about JARI, please visit their website www.jari.or.id and Facebook page www.facebook.com/supportingsustainableseas

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Chimp-n-Sea project, vEcotourism.org, engages with Ugandan students at Makerere University

Makere University students get a taste of vEcotourism with Mark O!

Makere University students get a taste of vEcotourism!

Chimp-n-Sea project, vEcotourism.org, recently broke new ground as vEco’s Ugandan blogger and photographer, Mark Olokotum (a.k.a. Mark O!), introduced students of the Department of Biological Sciences at Makerere University, Uganda, to the wonders and possibilities of vEcotourism on June 6th.

Introduced by vEcotourism Tour Guide and Content Developer, Jackson Efitre, Mark O dazzled the group with stories about vEcotourism, its origins, how the tours are created, their potential and how the projects and partners featured within our vEcotours help local communities and work to protect wildlife and its habitat. Mark O also personally guided the group on a vEcotour through vEco’s Murchison falls and Albertine Escarpment.

“Many of the students, despite living here their whole lives, had never visited the Ugandan vEcotour locations I showed them”, explains Mark O, “They were extremely curious about how we created the tours. Their interest and engagement demonstrated the huge potential for vEcotourism not only for people around the world but also for those who live locally who are not able to visit these extraordinary places.”

Following the talk, many of the students spent time immersing themselves in the various vEcotours on our website, connecting with vEco through social media and several people even wanted to volunteer and expand the potential of vEcotourism.

As Mark O concludes: “It is immensely satisfying to present vEcotours to my counterparts and see them engage with the remarkable Ugandan landscapes. I very much look forward to showing the wonders of vEcotourism, of our incredible natural world, to many more people.”

To learn more about vEcotourism and to experience your own virtual tour, visit vEcotourism.org.

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Yosina project gains momentum / needs your help

With less than 1 week of our current IndieGogo fundraising campaign left to go we’d like to take the time to thank all of our generous contributors so far. Wow – we’ve already raised over $3,700! Thank you! This will go a long way towards the completion of the boat’s infrastructure and some of the materials on board. Hopefully Hani, Boen & Helena will be able to get out to Sumbawa in the next couple of weeks to give Yosina a test run. In the meantime, they have been working hard to promote marine conservation in Lombok, through the education program Laut Sahabat Kita (The Sea is Our Best Friend), swimming between the islands off Sekotong, and other activities (see JARI’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/supportingsustainableseas). Please encourage everyone who might be interested to contribute and let’s see whether we can reach our goal by July 2 :-)

We're all on the same boat, yes?

We’re all on the same boat, yes?

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Experience a virtual tour of JARI HQ, Chimp-n-Sea’s Indonesian partner

We are pleased to present the first vEcotour created by JARI volunteer, Dr. Helena Baird featured by vEcotourism.org, a Chimp-n-Sea project.

JARI HQ panoExperienced marine ecologist Dr. Helena Baird has joined the team as a volunteer at Lombok-based NGO JARI in Indonesia. Helena will help JARI develop a new ecotourism initiative onboard the ship ‘Yosina’, the floating marine conservation and education vessel developed in partnership with Chimp-n-Sea.

“JARI, or “Juang Laut Lestari”, is a small but fiercely motivated locally-run NGO based in Lombok, Indonesia” explains Helena, “JARI’s overarching aim is to improve the condition of Indonesia’s threatened marine ecosystems through outreach, education, research, and most importantly, by working together with local communities.”

Current JARI projects include a marine conservation education program for primary schools called “Laut Sahabat Kita” (“The Sea is Our Best Friend”) and the conversion of a fishing boat into a conservation and education platform named Yosina, co-funded by Chimp’n’Sea. The boat will visit remote villages in Sumbawa to help them grow through sustainable fishing and ecotourism.

Immerse yourself in this amazing experience alongside Helena: “I will be working to help increase JARI’s capacity for the next year and would like to bring you with me on this journey through vEcotourism.org. Here is my first vEcotour of the humble headquarters of JARI, from where many great conservation goals are currently being initiated. I hope you enjoy it!”

If you would like to help JARI and Chimp-n-Sea to add the final touches to the Yosina, click here!

View the tour by clicking on the image above or by clicking here.

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Last resort: rescuing an orangutan from its natural habitat

OrangFamilyChimp-n-Sea project, vEcotourism.org, recently reported on an article from Lucy Radford, Development Officer at Barbary Macaque Awareness & Conservation which provides a moving account of her trek through fragmented forest in Langkat, North Sumatra.

Supported by stunning photography from wildlife photographer Andrew Walmsley, Lucy outlines the plight of wildlife that is being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas as oil palm plantations continue to consume habitable forest. So much so that organisations such as the Sumatran Orangutan Society are being forced to relocate orangutans out of forest fragments to safer areas.

Travel through the forests of Langkat, North Sumatra with Lucy and Andrew and find out how it is possible for a forest to no longer be a forest. Read the full article here.

You can take an immersive and interactive vEcotour, created by vEcotourism.org, in Sumatra with expert guide, Ian Redmond, by clicking here!

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Yosina fundraising–You’re invited!

Dear Family & Friends,

I’m writing to let you know about a fundraising site we have just set up. Our 51ft fishing-turned-conservation-education-research boat ‘Yosina’ in Indonesia is undergoing its final renovations and outfitting and we need some help to get it finished, launched, and its initial projects underway. I hope that you will consider supporting this project.

Take a look at the campaign site: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/759440/emal/7186225. Make a contribution, share it with your friends, or simply follow updates. The more people who get involved, the more likely we are to be able to make this happen.

Thank you all for whatever support you can give.

Best wishes,
Sara, Mark & the rest of the Chimp-n-Sea and JARI teams

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Explore the latest trek from vEcotourism.org!

Enjoy the latest immersive vEcotour from vEcotourism.org, a Chimp-n-Sea project!  This multi-pano experience sees Ugandan blogger Mark O visit the Albertine Graben region in the East African Rift Valley

albertine_bottom620
Today we are travelling to the Albertine Graben region in the East African Rift Valley. I visited this area to perform an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Chinese oil giant, CNOOC, as the Rift Valley is thought to contain large amounts of natural gas and oil. To access the site I had to climb roughly 300m down the steep escarpment, or cliff, which takes about 45 minutes. It might not look that hard, but because of the heat and the climb you sweat and pant for breath going up and going down!

There a group of able bodied men who wake up every morning and come below the escarpment to work as “helpers” to carry luggage for most of the people who come to the site. I tried to descend with my back pack but I was breathing heavily and drinking lots of water. To my surprise there were young girls who also come to this place to help ferry sugarcane down the escarpment. The biggest problem is during sharing of the money given to the “helpers” as they might not agree on how much each man gets because they help lift luggage of different weights and dimensions. It was on my way back up the cliff that I made these panoramas for vEcotourism.org.

At the bottom of the cliff, you can see the young men have tied up our luggage ready to ascend the escarpment as a young boy rests nearby with his sugar cane. At the base of cliff there are motor bikes (also called “boda boda” in Uganda) waiting to move travellers to their destinations in the Rift Valley, be it CNOOC’s installations, the Kingfisher oil site, local fishing villages or farm lands.

Click on the image or here to begin your tour!

- Mark O

Would you like to get more involved with vEcotourism and get sneak peeks of the latest and greatest innovations?  Become a vEconaut!  Visit the new Facebook group here for more!

 

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Battle for the Elephants

Important National Geographic film on elephants–”Battle for the Elephants”–to be shown in Hogwild barn this Saturday in Cambridge, Vermont (480 Hogback Road), 5pm. Discussion and potluck afterwards.  Email mark@chimp-n-sea.org if you have questions.

 

 

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Experience the roar of the magnificent Murchison Falls, Uganda

Murchison FallsChimp-n-Sea project, vEcotourism.org, recently introduced its first blogger: Mark Olokotum, alias Mark O, is the main photographer and tour guide for vEcotourism.org in Uganda, and will be bringing vEco content from East Africa as well as presenting vEco materials to local communities.  Late last year, Mark travelled to Murchison Falls and created this spectacular vEcotour.  He explains more below:

In December 2013 I travelled to the remarkable Murchison Falls, also known as Kabalega Falls, in north west Uganda. Located within Uganda’s largest protected area, the Murchison Falls National Park, the area is characterised by green, pristine vegetation scattered with diverse wildlife. You can join me on my travels through this vEcotour; experience the thunderous Murchison Falls, watch the amazing wildlife browsing the rich habitat and understand the challenges within this oil-rich region.

Making your way towards the top of the deafening Falls, you can feel the force of the world’s longest river, the Nile, being driven through a narrow gorge to the river below creating a breath-taking rainbow. The river then flows westward into Lake Albert, the most diverse lake in Uganda, providing wonderful habitat for elephants, buffaloes, hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds. However, this magnificent region faces a huge challenge. Murchison Falls National Park is considered to be oil-rich and there is need to strike a balance between oil exploration and wildlife conservation.

Come on a vEcotour to Murchison Falls with me by clicking on the image above and we will explore the remarkable environment, the awesome wildlife and how these wonders can exist and continue to thrive in the face of often damaging oil exploration.

Alternatively, click here to start your vEcotour!

Make sure you also keep up with my blogs, the latest vEcotours and news by following vEcotourism.org on Twitter as well as on our brand new Facebook page!

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Take a walk on the rocky side at Green Point, Canada

Green Point, Canada

Chimp-n-Sea project, vEcotourism.org, is continuing to produce informative and immersive virtual tours of wild and wonderful places worldwide. The latest vEcotour features Canada’s Gros Morne park, on the comparatively sheltered Western coast of Newfoundland. A geology lover’s paradise, the area has been designated as a UNESCO natural world heritage site.

From precipitous land-locked fjords to the curiously sterile exposed mantle of the Tablelands formation, this is a wild landscape and one that is home to a unique mixture of boreal, temperate and arctic flora and fauna. Join vEcotourism’s project manager, Jay Ploss, as he takes you on an narrated tour of geological discovery at Green Point, a stretch of wave-battered coast, where you’ll interpret the exposed rock to reveal the continent-shattering secrets of Earth’s distant past.

Start your tour here!

To learn more about Gros Morne park and its diverse attractions, visit Parks Canada’s website here.

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