CITIZEN SCIENCE: Monitoring bears in Sweden.
CITIZEN SCIENCE: Monitoring bears in Sweden. Biosphere Expeditions

Travel for a better world

AS TRAVELLERS seniors can contribute to a better world while visiting remote and beautiful places where learning new skills alongside like-minded people and putting conservation into action can make a world of difference.

The international not-for-profit wildlife conservation organisation Biosphere Expeditions (BE) offers this type of travel through its citizen science and wildlife conservation expeditions.

For many destinations, the research could not be done without the provision of support and personnel from BE, and through its education, training and employment of locals to build their capacity to continue the research into the future.

Some of the expeditions BE takes teams on are to survey snow leopards in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan; monitor brown bears in the quintessentially Swedish woodlands of Dalarna province; survey leopards, caracals and Cape biodiversity in the Cape mountains UNESCO World Heritage Site of South Africa.

The citizen science expedition teams get immersed in these long-term wildlife conservation projects run by scientists embedded locally.

The teams may visit for one or two weeks, but BE will go back again and again until the work is completed.

BE founder and CEO Dr Matthias Hammer explained his organisation has a very close connection to each project, which are selected after whittling down the large number of submissions received each year from scientists.

"It's a very detailed process designed to ensure we can achieve benefit for our participants, local wildlife and people, and our expeditions have a genuinely positive impact and generate real conservation outcomes," Dr Hammer said.

"We then stay intimately involved in the project, sending staff on it each year and supporting our partners on the ground.

"The people who commit to coming with us and helping with wildlife conservation for a week or two and sharing our ambitions; they will have a great time.

"If people come expecting to be served cocktails at dinner time, and be handed safari-type wildlife experiences on a plate, then they won't enjoy the experience."

What are expeditions like?

They are expeditions with a conscience, a sense of purpose and tangible benefits and outcomes.

Each one is a citizen science project, not a package holiday.

Expeditioners live, breath and sleep expedition, working and sharing in the BE vision.

If they go to bed tired after a day's work, then that will only make the experience more enriching, the memories stronger and the sense of fulfilment more real.

Never too old

The typical participant is in his/her mid-30s to late 70s (average age 42.3, spread six months to 87 years) and there are usually many singles and a few couples.

What you eat

BE has a unique vegetarian policy, so only vegetarian food is served on the expeditions.

For expedition dates, destinations and costs, go to www.biosphere-expeditions.org.


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