At Lindblad Expeditions, the nation’s leading expedition travel company, philanthropy is a reflection of the organization’s core values, based on the belief that respectful tourism can sustain and even repair a region. Lindblad supports conservation in all of the company’s key travel regions, including the Galapagos Islands, Baja California, Alaska and Antarctica.
In 1997, Lindblad created the Galapagos Conservation Fund, allowing guests to contribute to local conservation projects implemented by the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station. As of July 2006, the fund has raised more than $3.5 million for projects that include the eradication of feral pigs on Santiago, support of National Park Marine Reserve patrol boats and grants for locally initiated conservation projects.
In 1999, Lindblad created Teachers on Board, providing Galapagos educators with opportunities to travel aboard Lindblad ships. The voyages enhance the teachers’ environmental knowledge, which they in turn share with students. To date, more than 150 teachers have participated. Lindblad Expeditions is the region’s sole operator to launch this type of program.
In Baja California, Lindblad worked with Mexican and international partners to create the Gulf of California Conservation Fund. Launched in 2004, the fund supports urgent Gulf conservation projects, and every dollar contributed by Lindblad guests is matched dollar for dollar by the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza and the Packard Foundation. The program finances initiatives including sea lion disentanglement at Los Islotes and radar surveillance of illegal fishing in the Bahia Loreto Marine Reserve. Lindblad, its guests and partnering organizations have contributed more than $900,000 as of July 2006.
In Alaska, Lindblad guests have contributed $175,000 (as of July 2006) to the Alaska Whale Foundation, which conducts research on humpback whale communication and behavior. This research is shared with guests through the research-team’s visits to Lindblad ships.
In Antarctica, Lindblad supports Oceanites, an Antarctica-focus non-profit organization seeking to gather information on resident penguin populations and the impacts of tourism. Our ship, the national geographic endeavour, houses Oceanites scientists during their census activities as part of the Antarctic Site Inventory. Travelers have the opportunity to assist in basic research such as census-taking. Earlier this year, Oceanites scientist Ron Naveen reported a 16% decline in active Adelie penguin nests as part of the group’s site inventory.
Oceanites was also the first grantee of the Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic Fund for Exploration, Research and Conservation, launched to support projects around the world that address a wide range of issues including marine conservation, climate change and habitat loss.
Lindblad Expeditions’ spirit of philanthropy reflects the core values of Sven-Olof Lindblad, the company’s founder and president. Earlier this year, Lindblad accepted the 2007 Tourism for Tomorrow Global Tourism Business Award, presented annually by the World Travel & Tourism Council, on his company’s
behalf. The coveted award recognizes Lindblad Expeditions for “outstanding leadership as a global model for environmental stewardship.”
“As the planet faces serious challenges including global warming, over-development and massive tourism growth,” said Lindblad, “the travel industry can be catalytic in driving positive change that embraces dignity and respect as pillars of responsible tourism.”