New Project Partner – ECOAN Peru

Soon after we launched The Grand Adventure Company, we took the decision to join the 1% for the Planet Movement. This is our acknowledgement that despite the measures we take to minimise our impact on the environment, the nature of recreational travel still creates a footprint. And that if we are still to enjoy these experiences and unique environments efforts should be made to offset any negative impact.

We joined 1% for the Planet wanting to formalize our commitment to giving back to the environment. For our business, 1% of sales is a significant commitment, but we believe that it is an essential component of doing business the right way.

Our strategic giving matches donations to the regions we travel to, offsetting some of our impact and benefitting local communities. Meaning when you book a Grand Adventure you know that at least 1% of the total cost is going towards a specific conservation project in that region.

With that in mind, we are delighted to announce our first 1% for the Planet non-profit project partner:

Organisation: ECOAN (Asociacion Ecosistemas Andino)
Destination: Peru

Who is ECOAN?

ECOAN is a self-sustaining organization, recognised as a leading institution in contributing to the conservation of biological diversity in Peru. ECOAN works in direct and close collaboration with local communities and authorities, key partners in implementing conservation strategies throughout Peru.

To find out more about the work ECOAN do, please visit the ECOAN website.

Specific project to receive funds:

Protecting Polylepis forest and the watersheds at Vilcanota Mountains, above the Sacred Valley of Cusco.

Why this Project?

Polylepis Forests are the world’s air-conditioning system — the lungs of the planet — and we are on the verge of switching them off. They exist in a unique and fragile environment, situated from 3,800m to 5,000m above sea level. Being just below the snow-line the eco-system is particularly vulnerable to changes in temperature due to climate change and is also threatened by expanding agricultural space and other land uses. The forests provide a key balancing force, providing benefits such as:

• Helping to balance carbon dioxide and oxygen levels through photosynthesis.
• During the dry season, gradually discharging the water stored during the rainy season in flora such as mosses and other shrubs.
• Decreasing and preventing the process of soil erosion, retaining nutrients and sediment.
• At the foot of the forests, there are snow-capped mountains, lagoons, wetlands and reservoirs which allow us to regulate and store water.

If nothing is done to protect these forests there will be a loss of unique biodiversity, as well as an increased risk of environmental dangers to the local community.

ECOAN Project Objectives

Long-Term – Create and consolidate a Polylepis Forest Reserve System directed and led by local rural communities, with realistic alternatives conducive to the use and sustainable development of high Andean forests, which will allow for the recovery of critical bird populations.

Short-Term – Preserve the biological diversity of the Polylepis forests in the Cordillera Vilcanota. Provide viable alternatives for the sustainable use of the forest. Support the improvement of the living conditions of rural families. Strengthen the organization of rural communities and generate favourable conditions for the management of the Community Reserve System.

Tasks we will help to fund 

Our donations will fund tree planting with local communities, aimed at regenerating forest habitats.

$1 USD buys 1 tree. The more funds raised, the more trees planted. 

The local community provides the labour through Queuña Raymi (Polylepis Festival), their annual tree planting festival.

What is your impact

This means that for each person booking onto one of our land-only Peru trekking tours around 25 trees are planted in the region. If you also book your flight with us around another 10 trees will be planted.

Which Grand Adventures are linked to this project?

All of our Peru Adventures contribute 1% of the total trip price to this project. This includes:

Ultimate Inca Trail

Ultimate Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

On both of these itineraries, it is possible to visit the project location and see the work that has been carried out or learn more about the communities it benefits. Please Get in Touch if you are interested in visiting or supporting this project.

What we hope for the future

We hope that through supporting this project we help to ensure the ongoing biodiversity in the region and that local communities can thrive alongside sustainable tourism activities, without causing harm to the fragile eco-systems in this area.

We hope that we can continue to be a voice for the environment and encourage more businesses to stand up for our planet. Change is only going to happen if we can all work together! www.onepercentfortheplanet.org/

About Author

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James
Before founding 'The Grand Adventure Company' James worked in a variety of different roles from planning school expeditions around the world to organising high-altitude and remote mountaineering ventures. These roles led to all sorts of adventures from travelling across Mongolia in a 'Russian Forgon' delivering tourism training to remote Mongolian nomads to visiting communities damaged by the Nepal earthquakes to assess damage and setting up community projects in the regions. James is a qualified Mountain Leader, Leave No Trace trainer and expedition leader and holds membership to the British Mountaineering Council, the Mountain Training Association and aspirant membership to the British Association of International Mountain Leaders. In 2013 James cycled solo from London to Sydney. More recently, James completed the infamous '24 hour Bob Graham Round' and can usually be found in The Lake District running and cycling up mountains.

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