Sustainability

EcoCircuitos Panama as a Tour Operator is committed to preserving our natural and cultural heritage. We recognize that our business impacts some local communities and our environment. However, we believe our company can provide meaningful and important ways for local communities to create less consumptive forms of economic development (which relieves pressure on our natural and cultural patrimony), and support conserving threatened cultures and natural areas.

Our guides and local team plays a vital role in carrying out EcoCircuitos’ commitment to sustainability through his or her leadership.   Our adventures such as trekking, hiking, cultural visits and multi-itineraries create amazing opportunities for travelers and guides to practice sustainable travel principles and share and learn with local hosts.

EcoCircuitos contributes 1% of trip sales to different programs for conservation that makes grants to charitable organizations and NGOs’ operating in the Republic of Panama. Recipients of donations are carefully selected based on input from our local outfitters, guides, trip leaders, clients and staff.  In partnership with Fundación Panameña de Turismo Sostenible (APTSO.org), EcoCircuitos is promoting conservation and best practices in different areas of Panama.

EcoCircuitos actively encourages our travelers to contribute to conservation efforts in the area where they have travel. For more information, you can contact Annie Young J. directly: annie@ecocircuitos.com

Conservation Partners and Projects

Fundación Avifauna & Fundaciónn Panameña de Turismo Sostenible APTSO– Linking Conservation Through Education and Ecotourism

Panama has almost 1,000 species of birds. This incredible abundance and bird variety in such a small country (smaller than South Carolina), together with a rather small population (around 4 million people), a variety of natural habitats, and a good national park system, make Panama a land bridge for the bird migration and other animal species that ravels annually from North America to South America.

Fundacion Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann is a non-profit panamanian organization. Its mission is to protect Panama’s birds and the habitats upon which they depend. The Panama Rainforest Discovery Center is its first project that will educate and engage Panamanian and international visitors with tropical forest conservation during their visit. All profits generated by entrance fees and product sales go to   environmental education and conservation programs, as well as scientific research in the area.

A visit to the center offers in depth private one-on-one meetings with the center’s staff who will describe their social and environmental programs including field ecology, reforestation, bird monitoring and recycling projects.

The center is energy self-sufficient with solar panels and a rain water collection system from the roof for bathrooms. 70% of construction materials come from old houses in the Canal area. The gift shop offers bottled water, sodas, snacks and souvenirs for sale.

Tower: 100 feet observation tower with a 200 meter walkway from the visitor center. Spiral stairs and 4 rest platforms every 25 feet. This painted steel tower has been specially designed by the Panamanian architect Patrick Dillon and was constructed entirely by hand.

Forest trails: There is a 1.1 kilometer circuit of forest trails. These trails are from mild to a moderate difficulty level, made of gravel and 1.2 meter wide. There are 2 rest areas along the trails, one small wood deck on the Calamito Lake shore for aquatic wildlife observation, and another wood deck in the forest with benches.

The Panamanian Foundation of Sustainable Tourism (APTSO) is a non-profit organization headed by a group of pioneers in the field of sustainability and conservation.  Their mission is to promote sustainable tourism by providing programs that enable consumers, businesses and travel-related organizations to contribute to the environmental, socio-cultural and economic values of Panama.  APTSO provides education and outreach services that lessen the toll that travel and tourism takes on the environment and local communities in Panama.

You can support by:

•    Help local schools provide education material, supplies. Contact us for a complete school wish list.

•    Buy plants to be reforested in a biological corridor- visit a local farm in communities that neighbor a private reserves and help in planting native trees on the property. If you like, you can help plant them yourself or even better, invite a local school to join you.

•    Help fund the conservation center itself to continue doing the important work they are doing to preserve Panama.  Contact us for their specific wish list.

.    Support the rural tourism network of APTSO by visiting directly the communities members of www.sostur.org

Please note that this is a wonderful place to bring children if you are traveling with family.   We can make special arrangements to involve them in school and reforestation efforts.

Casa Esperanza – Rescuing the children most at risk and promoting Education

In 1990, a group of Panamanian women decided that Panama would never have the gangs of children that live on the street that plague most countries in Latin America.   Casa Esperanza accomplished that and much more. It begins by contacting children selling on the street or working as migrant workers on coffee farms. In a multifaceted approach it gives these at-risk children opportunities to go back to school, get health care, and provides nutritional food and programs to stabilize their family situation. If not for their work the street kids with no education would soon turn to drug dealing or prostitution and the migrant children would repeat the same desperate fate of their parents.

 Goal: to build leadership and life skills of youth in Panama through exchange, civic engagement, and collaborative community development. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a leadership workshop alongside the different Centres of Casa Esperanza about the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.  At this workshop, Volunteers and local youth counterparts will take part in team building activities together and brainstorm ways to bring what they learn about different environmental issues back to their community.

You can support by:

 •    Help local schools provide education material, supplies – currently we are searching for funding to install a sidewalk. The lack of one currently poses a major hazard to children walking alongside the road to school. Contact us for a complete school wish list.

•    Sponsor a child’s education through the scholarship program.

•    Buy plants to be reforested in a biological corridor- visit a local farm in communities that neighbor a private reserves and help in planting native trees on the property. If you like, you can help plant them yourself or even better, invite a local school to join you.

 For more information on our conservation and development programs, please contact Annie Young J. at our Panama office +507-3151488

www.ecocircuitos.com

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