Monday, June 18, 2007

Certified Green Guide Program

A Florida county operates an ecotourism institute and a certified guide program that "aims to recruit those who have a natural talent for providing outstanding nature-based tour-guide services."

The goal of the Green Guide Program is to see the natural beauty of Wakulla County preserved and enjoyed in a way that can economically benefit the residents of the area. A prime example of how enjoying nature in a non-consumptive way can benefit the area's economy is birding. In Florida, non-consumptive bird use generates $477 million annually in retail sales and supports more than 19,000 jobs. In fact, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located in southwest Florida, had an economic impact of $9.4 million on its local communities, according to a 1994 study.
Does your community operate a certified guide program? Do local decision-makers know about the economic benefits of birding in your area? What can you do to educate them?

Great Egret courtesy of U.S Fish & Wildlife Service

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