I was contacted by a recent tourism graduate (in tourism and the environment) who was interested in entering the ecotourism industry. I have provided her letter below in the hopes of providing some inspiration to others.
I just came across your Queen of Green article on the Milkshake website, and I’m super inspired by just reading about your vision for eco-tourism! I have a passion for both the environment and travel, and I thought I would initiate my account by sharing my personal story and some of the work I’m proud to say I’ve been part of.
Last June I graduated from the Tourism & Environment program at Brock University near Niagara Falls, Ontario. Following graduation, I stayed in this area to explore the hospitality industry at a world-class winery called Inniskillin. It was a great year of learning, networking, leading tours and tastings, providing hospitality at events and meeting visitors from around the world. Over the year, I was able to experience the four seasons that roll through, and the buzz around harvest time in September and again in January during the infamous Icewine harvest, which takes place in the coldest conditions during the middle of the night. I also represented the company by traveling to pour at events including the Toronto Green Living Show & the Home & Garden Show. I was involved with the Inniskillin Green Committee, which supported a carbon offsetting project for Taste of the Season, a large wine touring event, in collaboration with Walker Industries a local offsetting partner. During this time I was also employed by the Niagara Wine Festival, a fabulous and well-recognized festival which is growing in great strides. As the festival began its mission to become a zero-waste event, I was the Green Team coordinator, organizing green volunteers and assisting with the waste diversion program, as well as providing administrative support.
At the moment I’m involved with a sustainability project within the Bruce Peninsula, which is located between Lake Huron and the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay. The program is by the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association, the first community-based org. to implement the concepts of a UNESCO Worl Biosphere Reserve along the Niagara Escarpment Biosphere. The program focuses on the preservation of Dark Skies, or natural starry skies, as a critical part of habitat, by minimizing light pollution. Excess artificial night lighting impacts wildlife foraging, reproduction, and migration patterns, as well as human health. There are many benefits of preserving our star-studded skies including energy conservation and sustainable economic development. The Bruce is within a good days drive for millions of visitors who travel to escape the city lights, as outdoor enthusiasts and backyard astronomers for example. While Toronto can see about 50 stars at night, the Peninsula can see over 5000 stars. The program also provides cultural enjoyment as starry skies are part of First Nations oral histories, and also because the stars are part of the local culture here, in the same way as the beaches and marine heritage.
This job has been a great transition out of University and has placed me within a network of wonderful people. I’m hired through a youth employment initiative which is designed to give recent graduates experience in their field of study, and so my contract has been for a fixed time only. The contract is coming to an end in December and so I’m searching for further experience, ideally in the area of ecotourism, and I’m looking to connect with like-minded people.
I’m enthusiastic, experienced, I know how to take initiative, plus I’m free to travel and so I’m wondering if you could suggest how to connect with Ecotourism operators that are looking for my type of profile?