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This Month's Reader Comments
Hello David -
Great job with the newsletter once again!
I have a request: I noticed that one of the questions asked in the unXpected section was about research in volunteer tourism. Would you like me to put together a little article about some of the research I've been doing over the last 6 years or so for a future newsletter?
I could discuss how my respondents stressed the importance of the networks they established within the volunteer group, critical consciousness-raising elements of a volunteer tourism experience that they felt changed their lives, and the increases in self-efficacy they reported, if you'd like. I am getting ready to go to Europe until the end of the month, but after I return I would like to prepare something for you if you think it is appropriate.
Keep up the good work - something like this has been sorely needed!
Thank you for your great comments! In regard to the question, we absolutely want to hear about research in the field of VolunTourism. We look forward to featuring some of your research in a future issue of The VolunTourist.
Many thanks for your positive response. I would of course be grateful for an article on the project, and will let you know as soon as the 'Voluntourists without Borders' section of the website is launched, and when the Pang Mano Nature Trail Guide (currently being compiled for an end of may deadline) is ready.
I have all sorts of specialists involved at present, mainly Professors from the Chiang Mai University and they are writing sections on trees, birds, insects, geography, geology, mammals etc.
Tuesdays 10am ET/7am PT
In a meeting yesterday with the manager of the UHDP (Uplands Holistic Development Project) the decision was taken to plant 'forest foods' in the extensive grounds of the Pang Mano Retreat with a view to developing the 'nostalgia food' market for the city based Thais.
I already have a pilot project going at the organic farming school which is a component of our Outdoor Education Centre at my resort property Maekok River Village Resort, and will be using a restaurant I own in Chiang Mai city as a venue for showcasing 'forest foods' to the Thai public on one one day a week - starting in July 2005.
The idea is not dissimilar in concept to the 'Slow Food' movement in Europe, and a means of increasing the value of forest foods currently grown for personal use by the rural villagers.
Incidentally, I know Nick Ascot fairly well and we both share similar views on tourism development. I had not informed him of my voluntourist initiative but know he will be interested so will copy him on this email.
Regards and thanks,
Shane K Beary
Thanks for the reply. It sounds like things are "cooking" in Thailand. Look forward to writing a story on your efforts. Please keep us posted.
I'm sorry that I wasn't able to attend the Voluntourism Forum just past, and do look forward to being part of your effort to promote these important partnerships in the future..and have put Baltimore, Feb 19, 2006 on my calendar.
For this summer's voluntourism newsletter, www.voluntourism.org, I'm hoping that you'll note that the very first official 'volunteer vacation' was not in the 90s, as you mention in your 'brief history'….but in fact in July of 1971, when Earthwatch's first ever expedition fielded to help Dr. Paul Mohr, then of the Smithsonian, on a geological research project in the Amaro Mountains of Ethiopia. In early 1971, from one little ad in a teacher magazine with the slogan "Get your hands dirty", 39 volunteers were recruited for four expeditions around the world. Those first four Earthwatch expeditions in 1971…we sometimes add, were 'studying rocks and stars', where amateurs couldn't hurt anything! This year, some 4,200 Earthwatch volunteers hailing from 89 countries will help researchers from 46 countries, working in 48 countries!
Hope you'll be willing to update your history by two decades! And do keep in touch,
Thanks for the comment. We have changed the content of the history to note that although the term "volunteer vacations" became widely used in the 90's, in large part thanks to Bill McMillon's book, Volunteer Vacations, that Earthwatch was the first operator (so far as we have been able to discover) to organize this type of travel.
Dear David Clemmons,
Than you very mucho for this article. I enjoyed reading. I am looking forward to suscribe my Tour IKIAM EXPEDITION OF ONG FUNSSIF( YOU MAY SEE OUR
WEB SITE: www.ikiam.info)
I appreciate for you help,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FUNSSIF
Thank you for your comments. We look forward to reviewing your project and adding it as the subject of a future "Supply Chain" article.
You should post this on the listserv and encourage others to explore working with you! Looks great!
What a great suggestion! I think we will look into how to connect VolunTourism and your efforts with the Social Enterprise Alliance.
Great Article! Clear, concise, and to the point!
I really enjoyed it - Thank You
Thank you for putting together such a great program with Relief Riders International. We look forward to hearing about future expeditions to Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America as you develop them.
Wow, you've put a lot of work into this and it gets more in-depth each month. It was great to see some of the stuff we talked about in there as well as some more inspiring info!
We aim to please and really appreciate your passion for VolunTourism! Keep letting us know what to include in future editions.
Let us hear from you! Email us with your questions, comments, and testimonials at: email@example.com
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