Earth Day

By wpdev April 22, 2009

From our beginning in 1973, we have been committed to teaching young people about the joys of living in the out of doors without the luxuries we all take for granted. While the spectacular outdoor ecosystems we have visited have been wonderful classrooms, we have always been sensitive toward our potential environmental impact to them and the need to leave these special places better than we found them. We began teaching zero-impact camping ethics years before the concept became the standard for all outdoor schools and we are proud of that legacy.

As our program has become more global, we have expanded our mission by teaching sustainable travel and the importance of supporting local communities and economies through our low-impact travel on foot, by small boats, and in small groups. We are always welcomed visitors in foreign lands.

Our first wilderness adventures service project in 1973 consisted of replanting shrubs and grass on the shores of Image Lake in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness (pictured above). Since then, our groups have taken on more comprehensive projects, from constructing classrooms in the small villages of Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Fiji, to improving habitat for endangered sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands. Today, every Wilderness Ventures group, including all programs not focused on service, do their parts through small, but important clean-up projects on the lands we travel through. Giving back is emphasized on every trip.

Our 18,500 alumni since 1973 have been our greatest contribution to the environment.  They have all experienced our planet’s fragility and beauty and have had instilled in them a strong environmental awareness and ethical foundation to conduct their lives responsibly.  We are constantly rewarded for our efforts as we hear from our former students each year. Many of them are now making major contributions towards the betterment of our planet through their lives’ work. You can see our impact on the planet in National Geographic’s series on global warming, “Strange Days on Planet Earth,” narrated by actor, environmental advocate, and former Wilderness Ventures student Edward Norton.

Since 1973, we have supported a variety of organizations dedicated to the sustainability of our planet and we encourage our students and families to support these and other organizations as well.

The Cousteau Society
Greater Yellowstone Coalition
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance
Greater Yellowstone Coalition
The Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance
The Jackson Hole Land Trust
National Wildlife Federation
The Nature Conservancy
The Wilderness Society
The Sierra Club
The National Audubon Society
WildAid: The Galapagos Forever Fund
Galapagos Conservancy
Alaska Conservation Foundation
Convention on Biological Diversity
UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Sustainable Travel International
World Wildlife Fund

For more information on these and other Giving Back programs we support, visit our website at