This week I’ve been exploring the interesting intersections between tourism and learning. In some cases, like Return to Freedom (the American wild horse sanctuary) and the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute, volunteer tourists learn directly through work. They help take care of animals, help with research, work on the farm, and help conceive of new sustainable projects. In other cases, like the Texas A&M Volunteer Entomology Training Program, volunteers learn in the traditional way, in the classroom. At EcoTeach, the subject of today’s article, volunteer tourists learn in a combination of ways—through wilderness expeditions (a classroom in the forest), conservation work, cultural exchange, and guided exploration.
David Clemmons is passionate about VolunTourism. He is the founder of VolunTourism.org, a rich online resource for people on all sides of the voluntourism industry: travelers, voluntour organizations, host communities, educators, and academics. VolunTourism.org is a public service, offering a multiplicity of perspectives in a space that has traditionally lacked comprehensive and thoughtful information. As the industry grows, Voluntourism.org continues to explore the intersection between volunteerism and tourism: successes, failures, and implications. Mr. Clemmons was kind enough to speak with us here at Journeys, to share his unique perspective on this vast and swiftly evolving industry.
This is part one of a two-part interview. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow.