NATURE ACADEMY

(Dr. Anita featured in leading international newspapers and travel magazines
as a leader in Sustainable Tourism in Trang)
   
(Dr. Anita at a Swedish forest excursion and at sea)
The Founder 
         
Nature Academy was founded on January 1st 2000 by  Dr Anita Siaw to give
recognition and importance to Environmental issues which were fast gaining
importance on the world agenda. Nature Academy  serves as an action station
for Nature Lovers around the world and has initiated/assisted many Environmental
projects and provided training in Environmental Management. It also published the
Green Map of Trang as part of a public Environmental Awareness campaign.
Supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand it had the aim of promoting
responsible travel in the Marine Park.
An Honours Law graduate (England) with an MBA and DBA in Sustainable Tourism
 Management (Australia), Dr. Anita has been selected on various occasions to represent 
Thailand in her field of expertise. She has presented papers on Nature Academy's work
 at Japan's International Ecotourism Congress in Fukushima (2001), and was trained in
Sweden for one month under the Swedish Government's Local Environmental Management 
Program (2003).

Dr Anita has also presented a paper at Thailand's 3rd  National Environmental Conference 
(January 2004). She is pushing for legal protection for sustainable management in 
the marine parks. 
‘Sustainable practices should be incorporated into a legal context. This way, the
government will be giving  national importance to sustainable development.
Protection of our natural resources should one day be compulsory, if not mandatory.
However, we must first pass the public awareness stage on environmental
       issues. Only then can there be acceptance and compliance by the public.'
In addition, she designed the original Dugong Tracking Tour adventure - finalist of
the prestigious Thailand Tourism Awards  2002. 
Today, Dr. Anita lives in Trang. - committed to Sustainable Tourism and the
Academy she founded.

'It is our vision that Trang achieves tourism growth in a sustainable way.
Take the first step with us, and together we can make a difference!'
    
The Dugong (sea-cow) an endangered species living off the coast of Libong
Island - assisting German documentary film maker Vox Tours - Dugong Tracking
Nature Lovers  Network & Advisory Panel
Nature Academy acts as a global network for Nature Lovers. Our objectives
go beyond tourism development - it stretches into many different industries.
We believe that knowledge is gained when we open ourselves up to a global
perspective. International Co-operation, International Assistance, International
Exchange of Information. Only through this can we go beyond what we already
know. We should no longer see ourselves as just a resort  owner/ developer, a
restaurant or a sportsman. Our belief in sustainable  construction, sustainable
agriculture or sustainable adventures should guide us  to become teachers and
role models preaching for the cause of the environment. 

Our occupation puts us in a unique position to act as facilitators and teachers
in our respective industries - to enable that learning to take place. Any industry
needs to be profitable, but it must also at the same time be equitable and
socially responsible, as well as environmentally benign.
     
Environmental  Projects
Nature Academy has initiated many Sustainable  Environmental practices for the resorts in Trang.
Especially those located on the islands where disposal of waste is difficult or sometimes near
impossible. The art of reusing and recycling materials can benefit not only the resort by  its end
product but also educate in-house guests and employees through increase in public awareness
 of environmental issues.
One of the most important criteria for Nature Academy was to ensure that sustainable methods
recommended were cost effective. As most of the resorts in Trang are family based and not built
by large companies, the monetary issue was a crucial  factor taken into consideration. Companies
with money can do many things. They  are able to afford hi-tech waste disposal equipments and
expensive eco-friendly materials. 
In order for the resorts to pay any attention to environmental issues, they had to know that it
would not put a  'dent' in their balance sheet.
Here are some examples of Simple cost effective Environmental initiatives recommended &
implemented by Nature Academy for the resorts:
Accommodation
 (1) Use materials that are 97% recyclable. Wooden floors and furniture,
mattresses made from coconut husk and rubber, with as few fittings as 
possible made of chrome, metal or plastic.
         
(2) Ensure that Colors and design are carefully selected to blend in with
the natural surroundings. If building is made of wood, do not support
illegal deforestation.
(3) Use manual low flush design toilets and showers that reduce water flow.
Housekeeping Department
(1) Collect used soap from each resort. Grate, melt and mix with
natural materials, the liquid is moulded to produce new natural
chemical-free soap that can be sold as souvenirs.
(2) Recycle plastic bottles. Cut near the bottom and fill with sand/soil
to be used as candle holders, ashtrays or pots to plant seedlings.
(3) Disposable food solids are given to the local community for chicken
feed or mixed with brown sugar to create organic fertilizer.
(4) Wastewater from dish washing is used to water plants.
(5) Employ local people to encourage local community
Participation & acceptance.
Tour Activities Department
(1) Tour boats are taught to attach their anchors onto mooring
buoys to prevent destruction of coral reefs.
(2) Sea Kayaks and Sea Canoes are chosen over the long tail boat's
noisy engine in exploring the Marine Park. Paddling one's own
craft creates no interference with the eco-system.
(3) Bicycle tours are encouraged as  hey do not release exhaustive fumes. 
(4) On tours all garbage is collected in refuse bags to be disposed of on
the coast. Tourists are prohibited from throwing garbage
overboard into the sea.
  
Exchange of  Knowledge & Networks Program 
Eco-volunteers
Every year, Nature Academy supports more than fifty environmental volunteers from all over
the world. Some  have been guests who stay at resorts in the Marine Park  and others have
been independent applicants. Having witnessed our environmental  initiatives, they have
volunteered to help us in our mission through participation. The resort then acts as a test site
for the exchange and implementation of ideas on environmental management. In the past,
we have been  surprised at how much we can learn from other more developed countries.
         
The Academy also trains students from the local colleges (Eg. Trang Technical College
and Trang Physical Education College) in the subject of Environmental Management for the
Tourism Industry. Each semester more than  thirty students undergo on-site training for two
months with us as part of  their curriculum.
  
Research Assistance
Nature Academy also welcomes all research students whose research is based on environmental
issues relating to marine life, forest protection or similar topics. In the previous years, the Academy
has worked with many American, Canadian & Australian marine biologists researching on the
dugong (the near extinct sea-cow is only located in Trang's Marine Park  and no where else in
Thailand). It was through working together and experimenting on various tours that went  out,
that Nature Academy was able to design the Dugong Tracking Adventure program in the most
sustainable way. For this effort, it received recognition by being one of the top finalists for the
prestigious Thailand Tourism Awards 2002. Researchers can contact Nature Academy  for research
assistance. The Academy provides information material and discussion with experts (in English &
Thai). We welcome any news/ articles/  research papers of interest. 
Please contact us for more information.
Environmental  Fellowship
Nature Academy serves to act as a networking station for nature lovers around the world. Due to
its location on the coast of  an up and coming tourist destination, it has had many opportunities
to connect  and relate to tourists (both Thai and foreign) on its ideals and environmental initiatives.
In many instances, Nature Academy has been able to work with these people in creating
environmental awareness in the vicinity. Their support helped the Academy gain a foothold in
realizing their vision as  most tourists were people who held senior positions in the community.
Nature Academy continues to encourage the exchange of information on environmental issues
from people from all walks of life. Environmentalists, Environmental Clubs or anyone interested
in environmental issues are invited to visit Nature Academy in Trang. So the next time you are
thinking of where to go for a holiday, why  not come visit us? You can come by yourself (we won't
bite!) or with friends. All or welcomed. Human, beast or mammal. Talk to us, expand your networks,
encourage our volunteers and researchers. Teach us something that we can  
implement for the good of others.
Future Projects
We are looking into the concept of Environmentally Friendly lodgings that will utilize the use of
solar energy, composting toilets and CFC Free air conditioning. This project is intended to
demonstrate and helpthe private sector (through research and understanding) enabling them
to respond to mass tourism infrastructure in an environmentally friendly way.
Please contact us if you can provide any assistance. Thank you! 

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The Lifelong Learning Foundation is a non-profit organization legally registered
with the Ministry of Culture, Thailand. License number: 2/2007.