Natural Habitat Adventures

Louisville, CO, 34 Employees

UPPING THE OM: Last summer, travel outfitter "NatHab" relocated from Boulder 15 miles east, to the corporate campus of parent company Gaiam, a yoga-lifestyle brand. Smart move. Already-happy staffers accustomed to a "wacky" culture (roaming dogs, office keg parties) now have access to free yoga, Pilates, and other fitness classes, plus discounted meals in Gaiam's organic cafeteria.
WORK TRIPS: Every year, each employee is given a spot on a two-week, all-expenses-paid expedition to one of 30 countries. NatHab is also the exclusive travel provider to the World Wildlife Fund and the first carbon-neutral outfitter in the U.S.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: Flex hours and telecommuting are part of a "self-directed philosophy," says director of marketing Matt Kareus. "It's Colorado—there's leeway."


Natural Habitat Adventures specializes in environmentally conscientious small-group nature expeditions across the globe, from the high Arctic to the Antarctic, on seven continents and in more than 30 countries.

Depending on their specific position, some employees have the option of structuring their schedules to work from home. About one-third of all employees telecommute for at least part of their schedule. Same with flexible hours—the main thing we are concerned with is job performance. If they can perform up to our and their expectations in a compressed workweek, then it's 100 percent acceptable.

We have free on-site yoga, Pilates, and other fitness classes as well as an on-site full-service cafeteria that serves healthy organic food including a full salad bar and a variety of hot and cold options that change daily. In 2009, the plan is for all food to be purchased from organic local farms.

We have a Carbon Pollution Reduction program through which we strive to reduce our C02 emissions, offset existing emissions, and educate our travelers and the traveling public about global warming. To this end, NHA is the first carbon-neutral tour operator in the United States. We calculate the C02 emissions from all of our trip-related activities and pay to offset them through MyClimate and Sustainable Travel International.

A 100-kilowatt solar installation on top of our building provides 20 percent of our energy needs. We also purchase renewable-energy credits. Kitchen cabinets and countertops as well as all of our carpet were made from 100 percent recycled materials. All other cabinets, countertops, cubicles, and furniture have been reused or repurposed from other businesses and buildings. All paint and glues used in the building are 100 percent non-VOC (volatile organic compounds).

We support a local nonprofit called Global Explorers both financially and through volunteer activity. Global Explorers, through its international immersion adventures, teaches students about leadership, sustainability, and conservation and inspires them to become better global citizens.

NHA has managed to be respected and successful in our industry while encouraging our employees to have fun, set their own goals, and pursue flexible schedules and their passions outside of work. We've seen substantial growth each year (20 percent-plus from 2002 to 2007) and have earned major accolades while staying true to our vision that our jobs shouldn't rule our lives and that work should be fun. Employees bring their dogs to work, and leave early if they want to go mountain biking or head to the mountains to ski, without compromising the quality of what we do.

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