Hotel Gives Guests Virtual Seeds to Plant Trees in Fire-Ravaged Chilean Patagonia
Campaign aims to plant a million trackable trees to aid the recovery of four national parks and reserves
Chilean Patagonia has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, with rugged mountain peaks, glacial lakes and forests that seem to go on forever. Sadly, due to extreme weather conditions and dry vegetation, this area is very vulnerable to wildfires and has been affected badly in recent years. A luxury hotel in the area is doing its bit to give back to the land, by giving each guest a virtual seed to plant in regions damaged by fire.
Torres del Paine National Park, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, was ravaged by fire in both 2005 and 2011, destroying thousands of acres of land. Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa overlooks the park, as well as Lake Sarmiento, and it is one of the four reserves that the campaign aims to reforest.
The hotel has teamed up with Reforestemos Patagonia, a non-profit initiative which issupported by Chile’s Tourism Board, Conaf, the Chilean forest administration and Patagonia Sur, the company responsible for the logistics and coordination of reforestation crews.
From September 1, when the hotel reopens after the winter months, guests will receive a personalized email featuring a tree code. By visiting the Reforestemos Patagoniasite, they can use it to plant a virtual seed in Chilean Patagonia, choosing the location on a giant tree chart. They can plant the tree anonymously or include a photo and a message, such as a dedication to someone’s memory.
When they have planted the seed, guests will receive the trackable coordinates and a geo-referenced link in Google Maps, to look up the exact location online. This year, the seeds are being planted in Cerro Castillo and Lago Carlota National Reserves. The campaign also includes Laguna San Rafael National Park.
So far, over 270,000 trees have been planted and the campaign will be helped by the fact that all of hotel guests from last season will also receive virtual seeds when the hotel re-opens.
This campaign is a simple way to let visitors engage with a worthy cause and for tourism to have a positive impact on the region.
For readers who are not planning a trip to Patagonia any time soon, you can still plant your own tree through Reforestemos Patagonia. At just four dollars each, it’s about the same price as a Big Mac, and by taking part you will be helping to restore one of the most beautiful places on the planet.