Program Andes Tropicales
The Program for the Tropical Andes (Programa Andes Tropicales (PAT) (http://www.andestropicales.org) exists with the objective of helping all the communities of the small Andean villages that you will visit on your hikes. The PAT finances these people with micro-credits to pay for the resources that can improve their houses and guest houses and, with this, create conditions to bring in more tourists who are participating in ecotourism activities. Equally, PAT provides professional business courses for communities that regularly receive tourists. If you are interested in collaborating with them, you may contribute to their cause with small gifts, such as pencils, notebooks, small books, etc. that will be donated directly when you visit these places.
Asociaci√≥n de Baquianos y Posaderos del P√°ramo
On the Crossing the Andes on Foot tour, we work with the European Union supported Programa de los Andes Tropicales, who created the ASOBAP to teach the locals how to work with tourists. To do this they educate local farmers on how to work with tourists as well as how to create
a cleaner environment. In return, the association gives them micro credits to upgrade and maintain facilities in their homes for tourists, as well as provide meals that come from their own fields. This type of accommodation is known as mucuposada.
Rancho Grande Biological Station
Those who travel to Henri Pittier National Park will visit the Rancho Grande. This is a biological station dedicated to the study of the local flora, fauna, and farming techniques of this region. It has many trails into the surrounding cloud forest as well as a feeding station which attracts the birds for those interested in birdwatching from a terrace within the lodge.
The Orinoco Delta Lodge Foundation
The Orinoco Delta Lodge (http://www.orinocodelta.com) seeks to educate the children of the Warao Indians who live in the remote area of the Orinoco River. It is recognized that our civilization, the oil and mineral industry, as well as tourism, cannot be stopped from invading the Warao Indians way of life. Therefore we feel that it is important to provide basic education to the children and young people of this community so that they can learn to read and write in the Spanish language. ¬† We do not want to limit this education to traditional school subjects but additionally teach ecological concepts about nature and the preservation of their environment.
We also want to instruct them in the practicalities of life such as making a fire, sowing seeds, how to build a curiara (which is their traditional way of transportation), and proper disposal of trash. If they do not acquire a basic knowledge of how to handle the impact of the civilization that surrounds them, their ignorance will be an enormous handicap for them facing the problems of the 21st century. ¬† With the help and encouragement of many tourists visiting this region we have started a project building a school with our know-how and by providing the necessary materials. The Indians from this community contribute with their manual labor.
Please let your guide or our owners know if you would like to offer your support!
Merida Botanical Garden
The Merida botanical garden is, besides a research and science center, a botanical garden in itself. It is made up of a great variety of vegetal species and gardens where specific plant diversities are grouped. It is a large park comprising really beautiful green and recreational areas, very well taken care of. Natoura supports the garden with funds and takes part in some educational activities for children and young people.