Environmental expeditions from Earthwatch

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of January 22-28, 1998
Skiing into Jap Lake in the BWCA
Scenic camping close to Washington D.C.
Environmental expeditions from Earthwatch
Taking the Silk Route from Turkey to China
Rustic eco-camping in the Virgin Islands

Environmental expeditions from Earthwatch
Question: My husband and I, both teachers in an Eskimo village, will celebrate our 25th anniversary on March 10 and want to do something. We tend toward adventure over romance so the typical responses to our search won't do.

Also, we can't take off work more than a few days, and traveling will eat up some of them. In spite of an old marriage, we are both young, healthy, and active. We love to kayak and are interested in environmental issues.

We thought because time is short we'd look for some special event or class to attend, rather than focus on the destination. What's going on? Any natural, historical, or otherwise interesting events taking place soon that you know of? Your input would be really appreciated. We need to act soon.

Sabrina Silvernale
Hooper Bay, AK

Adventure Adviser: Geez, I usually have a whole slew of great, idiosyncratic, off-the-beaten path events that are coming up. But the solar eclipse is in February, the millennium is still a few years off, and most of the research expeditions take place in late summer.

I would, however, like to put you in touch with some particularly interesting companies that provide the type of trip you're looking for. Whether they have one in March that fits your time frame, budget, and desires, is another question.

Browsing through an Earthwatch catalog has to be almost as fun as actually signing up for the trip. The ingeniously oversized and well-photographed catalog details excursions from saving the black rhino from extinction in Zimbabwe to searching for and documenting rich rock-art sites in Utah to unearthing 16th-century Mayan houses in Belize.

No matter where your sympathies lie, Earthwatch has a program that will help you feel like you're doing something beneficial for the planet. Call 800-776-0188 for details. The one disadvantage to Earthwatch trips is they generally longer than a week.

For a natural-history twist, consider Holbrook Travel (800-451-7111). The company offers a week-long Costa Rica turtle-tagging expedition in conjunction with the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, as well as a number of educational and independent travel itineraries, many of which are in countries that have been largely left alone by the touristing masses.

Good Earth Travel Adventures (888-979-9797) provides travel planning services for independent travelers visiting the Canadian Rockies (maybe not a spot to visit in March but definitely worth a trip later in the season).

They specialize in finding vacations with a purpose for individual travelers. Their varied itinerary includes a big horn sheep and lynx study, a family streamkeeping program, a bull trout recovery program, and an archaeology study. Good Earth even does mini-vacations called Good Earth Getaways where they arrange a visit to Canmore's Festival of Eagles in October.

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