Last year Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) launched a worldwide effort to educate the public about the threat posed by global warming. Working with Friends of Conservation, Abercrombie & Kent identified projects on all seven continents that help offset the impact of climate change, such as planting trees in Kenya’s Masai Mara and restoring elephant migration corridors in India. In addition to supporting these grassroots efforts, the company also committed to taking direct action by planting a tree on behalf of every client travelling with Abercrombie & Kent in 2007.
“A deep-rooted concern for the natural world is the foundation of every Abercrombie & Kent journey,” explained Geoffrey Kent, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies. “Since we are already seeing the impact of climate change in places like Antarctica and Mt. Kilimanjaro, we decided it was time to
challenge our industry to make a difference.”
Trees Make a World of Difference In Kenya, where deforestation threatens the survival of endangered wildlife, more than 17,522 indigenous trees donated by Abercrombie & Kent’s sales and marketing company in North America are being planted on communal lands surrounding the Masai Mara Reserve and other conservation areas. These native species will provide shade, serve as windbreaks, enrich the soil and regulate water run-off. They are also more resistant to drought than imported varieties. Abercrombie & Kent London is providing 10,215 seedlings to Conservation Clubs at 50 schools in the Greater Mara region, along with orphanages and schools in villages around the country. The goal is to give young people hands-on experience with how trees can make their community a better place to live, moderate climate and help prevent erosion.
The staff at Abercrombie & Kent Australia started with a seed propagation project in the James Whyte Island Reserve, a fully-accredited, greenhouse-friendly carbon forest located just west of Melbourne. This reserve strives to recreate the traditional biodiversity of the region by sequestering thousands of tons of carbon on a property that was severely denuded by over-grazing and the introduction of non-native species. Working with Conservation Volunteers Australia, a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) with 25 years of experience, they collected 2,300 seedlings of native species including River Bottle Brush (Callistermon), Shiny Tea Tree (Leptospermum Nitidum), Poa Grass (Poa Labillardieri Stued), and Raxor Ribbon grass (Lomandra), which will be planted in reserve areas near Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Climate Change Challenge Mission Trips In addition to this innovative tree-planting program, the company also organized mission trips to Antarctica and Mount Kilimanjaro that allowed guests to meet researchers on the cutting edge of climate change. A team of 10 led by Richard Wiese, former President of The Explorer’s Club, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in October of 2007 to deliver the first in a series of weather stations needed by the Kilimanjaro National Parks Service to monitor changes on the mountain. Park Ecologist Ephraim Mwangomo welcomed the group with a ribbon-cutting ceremony near Shira Camp on the Machame Route, saying “Our dream is to have weather stations placed at different elevations to record atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, wind velocity and direction, precipitation and
solar intensity. You have made our dream come true! With this station we will now be able to collect basic weather data automatically, using a computerized data logger than has been set up to collect information every 15 minutes.”
The second Climate Change Challenge Mission Trip set off for Antarctica on December 8, 2007 aboard ‘Explorer II.’ The group of 30 was led by Dr. James McClintock, Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at the University of Alabama – Birmingham, who has been conducting research in polar waters for more than 20 years. Through generous donations from group members, a high definition underwater camera and waterproof housing was delivered to Palmer Station on the Antarctic continent, where it will be used for field marine research on salinity and temperature changes. National Science Foundation researchers organized a behind-the-scenes visit to the research labs and trip participants reported that this was “the single most rewarding donation” they had ever made after seeing the underwater camera in action.
In 2008, Abercrombie & Kent will continue the Climate Change Challenge as part of its company-wide effort to address pressing environmental, educational and public health needs in the regions where it operates.
PARTNERS IN CONSERVATION
Friends of Conservation Founded in 1982 to preserve the decimated populations of black rhino and elephants in East Africa, Friends of Conservation recognized that the long-term survival
of endangered species requires the support of the indigenous population. FOC works hand-in-hand with local communities to provide the knowledge, training and technical support to enable them to continue to co-exist with wildlife as they have for generations. HRH The Prince of Wales recognized the organization’s pioneering efforts by becoming its Patron
Abercrombie & Kent
Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a highly respected company dedicated to conservation and environmentally intelligent tourism,” Abercrombie & Kent (www.abercrombiekent.com) was chosen as “Top Luxury Outfitter” by National Geographic Adventure, “World’s Best Tour Operator-International” by readers of Travel Weekly, “Best Worldwide Tour Operator” by Porthole and “Best Tour Operator Africa/Middle East” by Recommend and TravelAge West. Travel with A&K combines the convenience, service and security of a U.S.-based company with support 24/7 from a network of 50 on-site offices to ensure “by invitation only” access in
A&K’s personalized, low-profile and intelligent style.