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Special Edition V o lu m e 3 I s s u e 2 s u m m e r 2 0 0 7 SPECIAL EDITION Park Road Industrial Estate, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. 071 9856898, and firstname.lastname@example.org. www.greenbox.ie AUTUMN Greenbox launches Ireland’s first certified ecotourism packages ecotourism on the Island of Ireland has taken a great leap forward in 2007 with the development of the Greenbox ecotourism label. Work on the label began in Autumn 2006 by a panel comprised of Greenbox staff and Greenbox Network member businesses, as well as representatives from sligo Institute of Technology and The Western Development Commission (WDC). over a number of months a set of criteria was designed that would reflect the efforts of existing ecotourism operators in the Greenbox region, who were already providing experiences for guests that were “based in nature, providing interpretation and information, environmentally friendly, contributing to conservation and local communities, responsibly marketed and culturally respectful”. Criteria were also chosen that would reflect the uniqueness of the region, particularly in a cross border peace and reconciliation context. The standard was piloted in spring 2007 by a group of seventeen tourism businesses and involved the provision of a training and mentoring programme for those embarking on the certification process. In the Autumn the first applications were assessed and approved by an independent panel comprised of representatives from Fáilte Ireland, National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Greenbox wishes to thank everyone involved in bringing the label to this stage and would encourage everyone to please read on and possibly consider a Greenbox ecotourism package as their next holiday or short break. The Greenbox- Ireland’s Ecotourism Destination ecotourism There is a lot of misunderstanding of The Greenbox is a completely unique what exactly ecotourism is. It is often region and is a natural location for wrongly perceived as the ‘greening Ireland’s first ecotourism destination. of a tourist business’, and / or tourism It boasts unique ecosystems, an unspoiled landscape, centres that is related to nature. eco-tourism of learning such as The organic Centre, a Geo Park (marble Arch is much more than that. The core Caves, Co. Fermanagh) and off shore islands of high conservation of ecotourism is environmental value such as Inishmurray Island in Donegal Bay. sustainability and ensuring that the The geographic area is surrounded by water on all sides by the environmental impacts of any tourism products are minimised. shannon erne Waterway, lough erne and The Atlantic ocean. The In addition, it encourages proactive nature conservation and the region, which was once overshadowed by conflict, is now one promotion of local cultural values, while developing the local of the most peaceful places in Ireland and nine years on from a economy and working towards the long term viability of the peace agreement (The Belfast Agreement) the destination is in an region. ecotourism includes the following: ideal position to welcome tourists to visit. * Conservation of nature; The unspoilt nature of the Greenbox has contributed to attracting * Conservation of cultural diversity; a high concentration of “green” and ecotourism operators to the * sharing socio-economic benefits with local communities; region. The Greenbox is working to develop these resources * Increase in environmental and cultural knowledge; further and to create a world class ecotourism destination with * minimisation of tourism environmental impact; a strong focus on raising ecotourism standards. This is being * local culture and biodiversity are often the main attractions. achieved through a model of tourism partnership and brings together representatives from many national, regional and local ecotourism contributes to the long term benefits to both agencies. In addition many sound environmental enterprises, the environment and local communities, and appeals to the ecotourism products and community initiatives fall under the ecologically and socially conscious traveller. Greenbox umbrella. www.greenbox.ie and http://greenboxireland.blogspot.com G r e e N B ox T I m e s N e W s s P e C I A l e D I T I o N Au T u m N 2 0 0 7 ecotourism Certification It is widely recognised that there is a need for a certification programme to identify the genuine ecotourism experience from ‘greenwashing’ – that is, where ecotourism is used as a marketing tool for operations that are not adhering to the principles of ecotourism. Certification provides an assurance of commitment to best practice and in this regard the Greenbox has developed and piloted Ireland’s first ecotourism label (The Greenbox ecotourism label) This label has been designed to guide visitors travel choices and help them to choose promoters of ecotourism products and the experiences they have on offer. It is also designed to act as a framework and marketing tool for operators who wish to adapt existing products to ecotourism or create new ecotourism products. A range of ecotourism experiences that have been certified to Greenbox ecotourism standard in 2007 are outlined in the following pages. To book or to find out more information please visit the Greenbox website www.greenbox.ie Greenbox Accredited ecotourism experiences Development Media Workshop developed this weekend based on ten years of research and development. He is experienced in all aspects of wilderness training in the North West The Development media Workshop is a not-for-profit organisation Ireland environment and the centre employs a number of people with focusing on environmental and social issues, based in County specific skills including those with instructor qualifications (kayaking, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. To promote awareness about the mountain guiding), educational backgrounds in history and geography habitats and species of the local environment, the workshop has and specific survival skills. developed a series of film-making, animation and photography courses that will responsibly take people into these habitats. Through The Breesy Centre filming, animating and photographing, participants will learn about the species and habitats they encounter, and have the opportunity to The Breesy Centre’s ‘Hill Walking and relaxing’ package will take you along discuss issues around conservation. the roaring cliffs of the Donegal Coast to the roaming hills of Cashelard. learn about mass rocks, hedge schools, famine pots and the fate of the Participants will be provided with all the equipment needed for filming, Canadian World War II plane crash that came down over 60 years ago. animating and photographing. All equipment is of professional relax in the evenings with a gentle massage and fine organic dining, standard. At the end of the course, participants will take away their followed by live traditional music agus craic in our local pub. stretch it all own specially packaged DVD of films and animations, or CD of out with a yoga session before embarking on your return trip! photographs. explore the Atlantic Waves of the Donegal Coast on the ‘North West The course will run from two days to week long programmes and surfing & Biking experience’ and view the beautiful landscape while will utilise different local environments depending on the seasons. touring the Kingfisher Cycle Trail on our doorstep! experience early These environments will include lough erne and Wetlands, Cuilcagh morning yoga and the benefits it has to set you up for the day. refuel mountain, and Broadleaf Woodland. some courses will concentrate your body with some of our finest organic home cooked cuisine during on ‘fine art’ style response to the environment through imagery while your stay. As seen on nationwide rTe! other courses will focus specifically on documenting flora and fauna. species explored will include plants, moths and birds. The centres ‘english language exchange Programme’ allows foreign students to experience the beautiful rural countryside on offer in the Lough Allen Adventure Centre south West of Donegal and enjoy a ‘home from home’ welcome! During their visit with us, students will learn english language, play Irish sports, Get in touch with how your ancestors lived and feel more alive than visit Irish cultural historic sites, learn Irish dance and enjoy our best organic you have done in ages on the amazing ‘Wilderness Therapy sessions’ foods while staying at our eu Flower certified “green” accommodation. weekend hosted by the lough Allen Adventure Centre. experience the sheer joy to be had by immersing yourself in the beauty of nature and Blaney Spa and Yoga Centre come away treasuring this positive and energising experience. The weekend is suitable for all ages from sixteen to ninety and has been Discover and capture nature and the environment with the artist’s eye designed to help foster an appreciation for the wilderness experience through the media of photography and landscape sketching. Gabrielle and to reaffirm your understanding of positive values. Tottenham (Yoga and Holistic Therapy Practitioner) welcomes you to come to Blaney spa and Yoga Centre to explore the beauty, landscape This ecotourism weekend incorporates a range of workshops on and wildlife of the Fermanagh lakelands through the medium of paint. shelter building using natural materials, navigation techniques, fire- Immerse yourself in the sumptuous surrounding of the purpose built lighting using flint, open boat skills, boat landing and packing for a centre as you experience learning new skills by sketching landscapes, minimal impact expedition. You will then put the skills learned into plants and traditional buildings with local artist Jill mulligan. enjoy practice on a two day expedition to a remote island in lough Allen. discovering the beauty of the nature around us: the trees, the lakes and Throughout the weekend a series of talks aim to give participants a sacred sites such as Inishmacsaint. Jill will guide you through a range of privileged insight into local biodiversity, archaeology and history. techniques including pencil, charcoal and watercolour. Kevin Currid, the owner of the lough Allen Adventure Centre has G r e e N B ox T I m e s N e W s s P e C I A l e D I T I o N Au T u m N 2 0 0 7 Alternatively, come on a three day adventure photo shoot with renowned The Gyreum local photographer Pip sides, who specialises in black and white fine art photography. Pip will take you on a magical tour of natural and sacred sites, In the North West of Ireland, snug in the mountains lies one of using his skills and sharing them with you. enjoy looking at nature through a the most renowned pilgrim sites of medieval europe, a place that lens and discover the beauty of plants, trees and special secret places. inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy, a reputed entry point into the underworld. People from across europe for 700 years have been The evenings are for relaxation and enjoying the peaceful and calming coming to sTATIoN IslAND on louGH DerG. They have endured surroundings. Your accommodation is in traditional cottages with stunning great suffering to reach this place, but seem to return to the world views right on the shores of lough erne. A healthy self service breakfast, renewed.This tiny island on a tiny turf coloured lake is one of the packed lunch and delicious evening meal are available on each day of your three prime pilgrim sights in Ireland and it is once again to become stay. All Blaney spa’s meals are home made, and as far as possible they are a focus for pilgrimage - albeit an eclectic 21st century procession prepared using local and organically grown ingredients. ‘PIlGrIm’s ProGress’ is a fortnight’s movement, starting out Xtreme North-West Eco Adventure from the old Protestant Church in Clones on the border between monaghan and Fermanagh and winding its way through marshes, The xTNW eco package have been designed to appeal to individuals who lakes, islands, over heath and bog, steep hills, by quiet rills, through are up for a challenge and ideally suits visitors to the who are experienced driving rain and blasts of sun - through 7 counties until reaching the in outdoor pursuits (mountain biking, trail running and adventure racing). goal; a 222km journey of discovery. The package places a strong emphasis on the environment and participants are encouraged embrace various aspects of ecotourism from sustainable We are creating a modern pilgrim route to vie with spain’s, that takes trail building through to the principles of leave No Trace. The experience the Traveller through perils, joys, the despond of drizzle, miseries, will be an education on local landscape, biodiversity, history and culture. great vistas hailed on hilltops, hopelessness, cloud clearances, the Complemented by experienced and professional tour guides both ‘on the sheer wind of a full Atlantic gale; a journey made bearable by sharing ground’ and on board Ireland’s first Bio Fuelled Tour Bus. the good and bad times with fellow pilgrims and the consolation of warm rest in 12 extremely odd hosting stops at the close of day. Donegal Language School of essential importance to this pilgrimage is the night stops which Improve your english language skills whilst enjoying the activity of your are chosen for their extraordinary atmosphere, beauty and loyalty to choice, in the North West of Ireland. Not only will you gain a unique insight the aspirations of sustainable ecology and for their spiritual raison into Irish culture but you will also participate in a range of activities including d’etres. These halting sights are also spread out in such a way to surfing and horse riding. These courses are suitable for 12-18 year olds from create an horse shoe shaped pilgrim route through ever changing Italy, France, Germany and spain who would like to improve their written and and different landscapes that suits the notion of the Pilgrim’s spoken english while enjoying their favourite outdoor sports. The courses moving through different moods, psychic spaces - and unlike are also suitable for those working in a business environment who need to normal tourism - no assumed joy is guaranteed, simply a rigorous achieve a high competency in the english language. challenge, a chance to view life anew. The main themes of the courses are improvement of reading, writing, spoken and listening skills and also improvement in selected outdoor pursuits: Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat all delivered in a fun and enjoyable environment! The courses have been developed over the last 17 years with the ‘english and surfing’ course added settle, soak and stargaze on the seven day ‘Ard Nahoo eco retreat in the last 2 years due to a growing interest in this area. All english teachers experience’. Talk a leisurely stroll around the Ard Nahoo loop walk are local and hold TeFl qualifications and many are full time teachers on and learn about useful “weeds”, healing plants and wild mushrooms their summer holidays. similarly, all activity coordinators hold appropriate on a guided nature walk with Nikki. Discover the secrets of qualifications in their relative field of expertise. In addition to the language “Greening up your home” with architect Peter Cowman (Director and activity components the courses include accommodation and weekly of the living Architecture Centre) or “Walk on the Wild side” with cultural excursions to historical sights and other local places of interest. leitrim Wildlife expert miriam Crowley. Your retreat will also include day trips to sites of local cultural interest such as lough Gill and Orchard Acre Farm Parkes Castle with the Wild rose Waterbus or a walk to Knocknarea or o’rourkes Table. enjoy bubbly in the bubbles at the farewell pool Join us on orchard Acre Farm for a short holiday with a difference. We offer a party. All meals on this eco retreat are made with local, organic and great escape to rural Ireland near the stunning Fermanagh lakelands. There Fairtrade ingredients as far as possible and include tasty breakfasts, are willow weaving, papermaking and wood carving weekends to choose light vegetarian lunches and delicious vegetarian evening meals. from. orchard Acre Farm has teamed up with mahon’s Hotel in Irvinestown; Yoga classes are suitable for all levels including beginners and are a family run 3 star hotel offering you the best in traditional hospitality and fun and rewarding. The theme for the week will be ‘Grounding’ – accommodation. This year the fifth generation of mahon’s to run the hotel reconnecting with the earth energy. For maximum benefit guests has adopted eco friendly standards. orchard Acre Farm serves delicious are advised to attend all classes. hand prepared seasonal and organic foods. Vegetarian is our speciality. In the workshops we guarantee personal attention and tuition. The tutors are experienced, knowledgeable, and have a great sense of fun. There is loads of free time so it is not all “work”. There is time to shop, time to explore the local area; Necarne estate is a few minutes walk from the hotel. We will make excursions to places of natural and historic beauty and you can also enjoy the live entertainment of Irvinestown by night. Ireland EcoTours Ireland eco Tours provide a range of Greenbox adventures in our provided with all the specialised equipment and led by a qualified cave comfortable bio fuelled bus, probably the most eco-friendly tour bus leader. You will learn about the geology and hydrology of the caves, as in Ireland. our ‘Acorns & Antiques’ experience will see you embark on a well the wildlife inhabitants of the cave and the folklore associated with journey that many miss when they visit Fermanagh and if your idea of the area. heaven is walking through woodlands then this is the tour for you. Begin your journey in enniskillen at the Tourist Information Centre and set on the trip participants will experience, walking, crawling and wading off on this day long tour of Fermanagh Woodlands and Nature reserves. through water. You will experience complete darkness and discover our first stop is Castle Archdale Country Park located on the eastern shore sounds and smells of the cave environment. The Caving trip is carried of lower lough erne. This nature reserve is host to castle ruins, remnants out in an environmentally friendly manner and transport to and from the of a World War Two airbase for flying boats, a visitor centre and café. Your caves is shared to minimise environmental pollution. guide will provide you, not only with information on the flora and fauna of this nature reserve but many historical anecdotes as well. The Organic Centre Next stop is Castle Caldwell Nature reserve, also located on the shores of lough erne. This nature reserve surrounds a castle dating back to everyone at some time in their lives should consider a visit to the peaceful 1612 and the estate itself is now a national nature and bird refuge. setting of the organic Centre in rossinver, North leitrim. As well as being Known for its beautiful setting, it attracts many bird watchers and flora located in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland the centre offers enthusiasts. last but not least we visit Correl Glen Nature reserve. A trail the widest range of environmental, organic and craft courses available follows a small wooded riverine cut by the sillees river and ascends onto anywhere in the country. Their purpose built sustainable building is set heathland overlooking panoramic views of the Fermanagh scarplands in extensive organic gardens which provide a natural atmosphere to and Carrick lough. on our way back to enniskillen we pass by the lough set the tone for your day’s activities and you can indulge yourself with Navar viewpoint where panoramic views can be taken in of surrounding gourmet vegetarian food from the onsite Grassroof café. The following counties. are some of the two and three day organic Centre experiences available in summer 2008. Ireland eco Tours aim is to operate with minimal impact on the environment which is why Director Jerome o’loughlin has gone to great lengths to Apples, pears, plums, strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries, ensure that the company’s transport is as environmentally friendly as nuts and a whole range of delicious fruit that may not be so familiar can possible by converting the tour bus to run on Pure Plant oil (PPo). All all be easily grown if you do the right things at the right time. on the waste produced on the tours is recycled as far as possible and organic organic Centre’s ‘Fruit Course and Garden Party Weekend’ you will learn waste is composted. Participants are actively encouraged to follow the the fundamentals of growing your own fruit through a one day course “leave no Trace” code for visiting the Irish Countryside. in establishing a fruit garden and developing it at important points of the growing year. on day two you will learn many secrets of organic Corralea Activity Centre gardening at the Centre’s Garden Party. It is now widely accepted that organic methods do work and are a viable way of achieving a healthy, Corralea Activity Centre’s ‘mountain Bike ancient paths and discover our productive and attractive garden. The centre will be celebrating this fact heritage by Canoe’ Weekend Package is a real gem. You will discover the with a garden party that includes talks, walks, food and music. local landscape, geology and nature of the area on your bike and visit heritage including raths, megalithic tombs and giants graves. After lunch If you want to break out, drop out, downshift, move west, live a more you will change your bike for a canoe and paddle across lough macNean, sustainable life or simply learn to grow and make your own food the visiting a crannog and discovering the legends of the lake and its unusual ‘The learn to live the Good life’ experience could be the start. Hans prison. and Gaby Wieland, supported by the organic Centre staff will guide you through an insightful and exciting five days featuring sessions on Participants are provided with all specialised equipment and are led by a growing vegetables organically, growing and using herbs, growing fruit local guide/instructor. on the trip you will experience cycling along small for the home, making yogurt and soft cheeses, baking and cooking roads, forest paths, and a short walk through the forest to discover relics with wholemeal and storing and preserving. The sessions will be from 6000 BC. After lunch, you will explore upper lough macNean with its complemented by an introduction to yoga and relaxation techniques, islands, history, legends and wildlife. This is a carbon friendly package since a lecture on sustainable building, a seaweed walk on a local beach and you cycle away from the centre and canoe back home. The experience is a visit to an organic farm.The Grassroof Cafe at The organic Centre will ideally suited for adults who are relatively fit, although it can be adapted cater for breakfast, a tasty vegetarian lunch and dinner every day. to suit other groups of people such as families and older people. In the evening you have the option of shopping in the village to prepare your Interested in delicious local, artisan and organic food? Then the organic own meal or book in one of the many local restaurants. local pubs provide Centre’s ‘slow Food Celebration’ will be a real treat for the taste buds. regular music entertainment. You will be accommodated in cottages that slow food was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the have been fitted with solar panels and accredited with the eu Flower eco- disappearance of local food traditions and peoples dwindling interest label, meaning that they are considered among the most environmentally in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our friendly in europe. food choices affect the rest of the world. slow Food is now a network of producers and co-producers and has more than 83,000 members in 107 Alternatively sign up to get down on our ‘Going underground’ package. countries around the world. Join a large group of likeminded souls for a You will be taken into the depths of Fermanagh and Cavan and explore weekend of fantastic local and organic food and wine. A workshop on underground passages, streams and formations. Participants will be saturday will inform about local food communities. This project is part financed by the European Union through its INTERREG IIIA Programme Ireland/ Northern Ireland managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the ICBAN Partnership Always printed on Recycled paper!
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