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EXPLORING ECOTOURISM

A Short History of the Colibri Award
by Ron Mader

COLIBRI WIKI

La armonía reside en proteger la vida de la tierra. (Harmony lies in the protection of life on earth).
- Mexico Notebook

Colibri


FLICKR ALBUM: Colibri Award


In 2010 the Colibri Ecotourism Award celebrates its tenth anniversary, making this one of the longest-running tourism awards. The winner receives a trophy and diploma.

Winners include Steve Bridger, Gerhard Buttner, Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, Jorge Chàvez de la Peña, Fernando Garcia Aguinaco, Verena Gerber, Marlene Ehrenberg, Juan Carlos Ibarra, Pedro Martinez, Jennifer Morfín, Allan Rhodes, Antonio Suárez and Francisco Verástegui

CRITERIA

Planeta.com presents the Colibri Ecotourism Award to those whose work in Mexico is exemplary and who share what they learn. Good ideas require good work to come to completion and good work needs to be documented so that lessons can be shared.

Ecotourism depends on bold leadership and the Colibri Ecotourism Award recognizes leaders working in Mexico.

Nominees participate on the Planeta Wiki or contribute helpful editorial suggestions.

Bonus points are given to those who participate on other websites and forums. This is part of our vision to create incentives for communication, collaboration and continuity, all vital elements in the development of the local travel movement, responsible travel and ecotourism.



HISTORY

In 2000 Emilio Kifuri surprised me with the good news that he wanted to fund worthy pioneers of ecotourism in Mexico.

It took us nine months of discussion with various colleagues (some web-savvy, some ecotourism-savvy, some Mexico-savvy) to work-out the selection criteria and judging parameters for the Colibri Ecotourism Award.

The Colibri was timed to celebrate World Environment Day with colleagues at the United Nations Environment Programme.

The selection process needed to be as simple as possible. There would be no application. Instead I would seek advice and confirmation from trusted friends and colleagues. In terms of financial matters, we agreed that 100% of the prize money would be transfered directly from the sponsor to the winner.

WINNERS

The first recipients were Juan Carlos Ibarra and Antonio Suárez, consultants and community activists who had often disagreed with Emilio during the online Mexico ecotourism conference. This was my initial test of the award process. Would I have freedom and discretion to choose? The answer was yes.

In 2002 Marlene Ehrenberg won the award for her excellent work as a guide. 2003's winner was Fernando Garcia Aguinaco, a journalist and photographer.

In 2004 we did something different -- present two awards! The winner of the fourth annual 2004 Colibri Award is Jorge Chávez de la Peña, who developed Mexico's first university-level ecotourism program. The winner of the first Colibri Lifetime Achievement Award is Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, who coined the word ecotourism.

Hector Ceballos-Lascurain: "In 2004, I had the great pleasure and honor of being the recipient of the first Colibri International Ecotourism Lifetime Achievement Award from Planeta.com and Canyon Travel. This was the first public recognition in Mexico of my work in the fields of ecotourism and ecolodge development (confirming once more that ancient proverb 'nobody is a prophet in his own land'), so this was very satisfactory."

In 2005 we presented the fifth annual Colibri Ecotourism Award to Jennifer Morfín Morgan for her work in making high tech tools useful for those developing ecotourism.

The 2006 award was presented to Steve Bridger for his work developing the timely afterwilma.info website which provided unprecedented coverage of recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma.

The 2007 award was presented to Francisco Verástegui, who created Mexico's first city map of notable and historic trees.

The 2008 award was presented to Gerhard Buttner, who has trained guides and artisans in the Yucatán and Oaxaca.

The 2009 Colibri Ecotourism Award was presented to ...

SUPPORTERS

 

From 2001-2009 the winner received a trophy, diploma and a cash award of $1,000 from Emilio Kifuri, president of Canyon Travel.

From 2007-2009 the award has a co-sponsor, Destination Ventures, which contributed another $1,000 directly to Planeta.com for development of spin-off media focusing on the winners.


AUTHOR

Ron Mader is the responsible travel correspondent for Transitions Abroad and host of the award-winning Planeta.com website.


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