Posts Tagged ‘planeterra’

Panda Project

When I was a kid and all my friends had the standard brown teddy bears, I always had a black and white panda. Nicknamed “Andy Panda” it made sense (and that well-loved bear with the rubbed smooth nose is still probably up on a closet shelf at my mother’s house). Pandas are one of the few animals that can elicit an “Awwww” from just about everybody–they’re just so darn cute and roly poly.

With fewer than 1,000 Giant Pandas left in the world, volunteers with Planeterra’s “Project China” voluntour get to participate directly with protection efforts for the endangered species. Voluntourists at the Bifengxia Research Centre will work with trained conservationists in meeting the day-to-day needs of its resident pandas, many of which were relocated from Wolong Center, previously the world’s largest panda conservation center. Wolong was badly damaged by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. In addition to the volunteer work on this 14-day trip, other highlights include visits to Shanghai, Shaolin, Kung Fu Display, Luoyang, Beijing, Great Wall at Mutianyu, Xi’an, Terracotta Warriors, and Chengdu, so you get quite an overview of China’s greatest hits along with doing good.

When you go, tell the big galoots that I love ’em.

Planet-friendly Planeterra

The start of this New Year is a time for new beginnings for all of us—travel planning companies included.

Planeterra is a global provider of volunteer vacations, mixing service work in fantastic locales along with some insider exploration of the regions you visit, so your experience with the community runs both deep and wide.

2010 has new offerings, including volunteering in Sichuan, China at the world’s largest panda preserve and also visiting the Great Wall, X’ian, Beijing, and Shanghai. Or you could opt for the new family-friendly volunteer adventure pitching in at a kid-friendly organic farm in Ecuador. There are eleven new projects in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, plus previous client favorites that are still available, some as group trips and some as private arrangements. Your housing (double rooms, shared accommodation, or sometimes living with a local family), most meals, ground transportation, training and equipment, orientation, and escorted adventure exploration tours are all included, and most volunteer vacations with Planeterra average about $85 per day.

Argentina, Peru, El Salvador, Galapagos, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, South Africa—each provides a new opportunity to help in community improvement programs, education, building projects, animal and habitat conservation, trail building, and more. Planeterra’s Director, Richard G. Edwards, said that more than ever “community development, environmental and wildlife conservation projects around the world need the support of active travelers who are willing to take the time to understand what is needed and how they can help. Our programs are designed with great care, so that everyone genuinely benefits while having fun learning about each other’s cultures.”