For the second time in three years, the Ecolodge San Luis at the UGA Costa Rica campus has been named “Business of the Month” by the Rainforest Alliance’s Eco-Index for Sustainable Tourism program. This most recent recognition happened last month; the first was in December 2008.
“The UGA Costa Rica project offers many opportunities for students as well as responsible tourists to appreciate the great beauty and complexity of the Monteverde cloud forest from an academic perspective with a scientific basis,” said director Quint Newcomer. “Those who visit our campus have the opportunity to interact directly with our resident naturalists as well as the scientists and students working in San Luis.”
Although the Costa Rica program’s main activity is the development of educational programs for groups of UGA, national and international students, other visitors can participate in educational tourism programs led by naturalists dedicated to the study of the flora, fauna and ecology of the zone. During the planting season, for example, tourists can actively participate in the UGA Costa Rica Carbon Offset Program by planting trees along the biological corridor and during other times of the year they can help prepare seedlings in the greenhouse. Educational vacation programs (www.uga.edu/costarica/campus_activities.htm) for families and ecotourists also are available.
Based in New York City, the Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. The organization has offices throughout the U.S. and worldwide. The Eco-Index of Sustainable Tourism was launched to respond to travelers who want to support local businesses that benefit surrounding communities, limit pressure on natural resources and help conserve ecosystems.