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Outdoor Economy

Lessons from the Mountain: Outdoor Education for Entrepreneurs

Mountain Morgue

 

Lessons from the Mountain

One of the best places to contemplate is on top of a mountain.  There are so many things that can be learned and applied to one’s business and life from the process of climbing a mountain.  Those that hike with their mind open learn different things from the journey.  There are several schools and education programs that use outdoor skills to teach team building, leadership and life lessons.

Entrepreneurs can learn a lot from climbing a mountain.  About 7 years ago, I climbed Mount Whitney with Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen.  (Mark Victor Hansen is a speaker and famed co-creator of the “Chicken Soup for The Soul” series.  Robert Allen is a renowned author, entrepreneur and real estate guru).  We climbed together with a group of entrepreneurs on a trip organized by my friend Werner Berger, who is a business strategist who once broke the record as the oldest man to climb Mount Everest.  Our group had been watching Mark and Robert speak and teach from a stage over the prior weeks where they were very comfortable.   The hike to Mount Whitney was the first time we had the opportunity to interact in a situation where we all had to overcome challenges together in unfamiliar, treacherous territory.  We learned a lot about each of our strengths, limitations, and the value of teamwork.   It does not matter how much fame and fortune you have attained, when you are crossing a steep, snow covered slope that drops thousands of feet off a cliff, everyone is on the same playing field.  The view from the summit made it all worth it.

Robert Allen often uses his experience of a previous dangerous hike he had taken as a lesson to illustrate the following:

The best fishing holes are usually found in the most difficult to reach places. Those that do what it takes to make the trip and overcome adversary, reap the benefits.

A few lessons that I took from the experience of climbing Mount Whitney were:

Be prepared
It is easier to get somewhere if you know where you are going.  It is smart to study the terrain you will be hiking and get a rough idea of what you are in for.  Make sure you have the right supplies and are prepared for emergencies.  You should also have an idea of who you will be climbing with.  A plan can help you avoid some real problems and help you have a much more enjoyable experience.  If things don’t go according to the plan, be ready to improvise with good judgment.

Keep steady and be persistent
The secret for reaching new heights really comes down to putting one foot in front of the other.  Learn from those who have come before you to chart your course.  Then keep chugging along with dogged persistence.  If you work as a team, your strengths are multiplied.

Bring a good guide
A competent guide is invaluable to help you avoid the common pitfalls and danger zones.  They can help guide you through the rough areas of the hike and get you to the summit a lot easier than if you were to go it alone.   There are many people that are willing to share their experience.  It makes sense to listen to them.

Expect ups and downs
There may be some really steep, arduous cliffs to climb as well as some easy plateaus and dips.  The trail to the top is full of challenges.  Be prepared to meet each one.  Realize that it is all part of the process.  Each time you overcome a challenge, you emerge stronger, wiser, and closer to your goal.

Enjoy every part of the journey
The great beauty of the climb is all around you every step of the way.  Everywhere you look there is something fascinating.  All the ups and downs have something to teach you.  Don’t forget to enjoy yourself along the way.

Take advantage of the opportunities to gain a new perspective
Each part of the journey offers a different perspective.  The terrain, plants, and wildlife often change during an ascent.  You will get to see a different part of the mountain and gain a new understanding if you take time to absorb it. Once you sit on top and look back down over the vast peaks, take time to contemplate what you have done and enjoy the moment.

The natural world has so much to teach us.  I hope you find strength and enlightenment climbing your own personal mountains and share your experiences to help others.

 

Top Scientists, Engineers, and Entrepreneurs look to Nature for Inspiration and Guidance

 

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Who is the most influential educator in the world?

There is no one who has taught more people or created more things that we often take for granted. She has taught every one of the greatest scientist from Aryabhata to Albert Einstien. She showed André-Jacques Garnerin how to make a parachute and taught the Wright Brothers how to fly. She showed Ben Franklin electricity, taught Alessandro Volta how to harness it, and showed Nikola Tesla how to transport it. She has been responsible for the first sparks of fire to the modern match. She is the mother of all inventions from every industry from agriculture to drinking water.

 

Yet she has often been ignored, taken advantage of, and abused.

Now, top scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs are once again looking to her for guidance.

Even billionaire, Sir Richard Branson looks to her for advice on how to direct the many companies of the Virgin Brand. He calls her the “Original Entrepreneur” and insists that it is crucial we learn from her if we are to continue to enjoy the wealth that we have derived from her for hundreds of centuries.

Companies like Boeing, have sent their top engineers to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast to study her in order to come up with solutions for better aviation design. Nike and General Electric have also looked to her to create more effective products and systems.

She is teaching scientists and engineers from the Sahara desert project how to harness energy from the sun and grow food using saltwater in one of the world’s most hostile climates. Projects like these could lead to reforestation of deserts and new ways of sustaining struggling communities.

Mother Nature has had over 3.8 billion years for research and development to come up with innovative systems and designs that are extremely efficient and create zero waste. She is open to teach anyone who is willing to take the time to study with her.

Are we taking time to study?

As people in developed countries spend more time in front of electronic screens, it becomes more important to find opportunities to help them learn from the great educator that lies right outside in the natural world. That is why it so important to create opportunities for young people to learn from her.

More companies are recognizing the value of studying nature as a means for developing systems and design even though it is often counter intuitive for their workforce. Not only can new products and services be developed, but also systems of building a more harmonious relationship between nature and business. As Branson puts it, “…we must recognize the value of the natural assets on our balance sheets” .

In addition to traditional education, we should encourage students to re-learn how to ask questions and look to the great educator of nature for answers. They can then use what they learn to develop new technologies and systems, learn how to profit from her abundance and at the same time find ways to take care of her as she ages.

These are the critical thinking skills that innovative companies will be searching for.  How we use what we learn from the lessons of mother nature will determine our future.

Pay attention because class is in session!

 

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 Richard Branson:  Mother Nature, the Original Entrepreneur

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/4282197

http://saharaforestproject.com/projects/qatar.html

http://www.edinformatics.com/inventions_inventors/

Resources for Outdoor Entrepreneurs

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When an outdoor entrepreneur sets out to build an outdoor recreation venture, they find that there are a number of resources to learn from.  A number of organizations through out the United States and beyond have been formed in order to help the outdoor recreation industry grow and to set standards for risk management and best practices.  One such group is The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP).

SORP is a membership organization with a mission to promote, advance, and serve outdoor recreation professionals in research, planning, management, and policy development.

SORP offers members a variety of benefits such as professional development, networking, recognition, scholarships, news, technical resources,  and an annual conference.

 

According to the 5 year Strategic plan, the SORP has identified a number of ambitious goals for:

  • Communications and Marketing
  • Professional Development and Education
  • Financial Strategy
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Operationslearn more about SORP on their webpage at http://www.recpro.org/

 

 

 

 

The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism (ESTC) Conference 2013 in Nairobi Kenya

 

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is the most well known and respected organization in the ecotourism industry.
TIES describes itself as “a non-profit association committed to promoting responsible tourism practices that benefit conservation and communities.”
There are over 500 organizations that are members of TIES in this global network that reach over 120 countries.
TIES is a global community  with over 1,200 members from professionals  and organizations spanning over 120 countries.
TIES and its members are dedicated to  promoting the principles of ecotourism   defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” (TIES, 1990)
Every year TIES organizes the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC) as a networking and educational event to help stake holders share ideas and form collaborations in order to advance the sustainability goals for the tourism industry.
I was delighted to attend the 2011 ESTC conference in Hilton Head South Carolina near where I live. The number of contacts and educational presentations were well worth the visit.
The local “Gullah” people of Hilton Head island are still talking about how great it was to have the ESTC conference in their home town.  One Gullah woman recently told me “It was one of the first times they met people who understood them.”
The 2013 ESTC conference is being held in Nairobi, Kenya September 24-27.  This is an excellent event for all tourism professionals and ecotourism stakeholders.  Go to http://www.ecotourismconference.org/

 

Finding the Underappreciated Value in Natural Resources

The underappreciated values of natural resources

What are Natural Resources?1319_xf8q9z1orv_m

The definition of natural resources is “a resource (actual and potential) that is provided by nature”

Natural resources are often taken in consideration when evaluating the wealth of a country.  Wealth is measured by the amount of minerals, timber, water, and commercially important animals such fish, birds, mammals, invertebrates that can provide tangible goods are considered for sale on the market.

Their importance is evaluated by what they can provide if they are extracted or harvested and sold.

 

Yet the value of natural resources is much greater than that.

The true value of natural resources is often overlooked.

The economic potential of extracting and harvesting is minimal when compared to what they can provide if they are maintained and nurtured.

When one realizes the outdoor recreation industry is nearly double the size of automotive and fuel industry, the the idea for economic impact could be much greater when one thinks about conserving and nurturing.

Wildlife viewing by birders is considered one the fastest growing recreation activities in the United States (Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America).

Birders spent an estimated $12 billion on trip expenditures and $24 billion on equipment expenditures in 2006.

People will also spend a ton on outdoor photography.

As huge as the outdoor recreation industry is, it is just one small part of the value of natural resources.

Nurturing an active outdoor economy can provide numerous advantages if it is done correctly.  There can be tremendous benefit to education, scientific discovery, and quality of life of the people.

It is the goal of this site to provide intelligent methods and strategies to help communities increase their benefit from their natural resources responsibly.

I hope that this provides you with some food for thought.

Please post your questions here.  Let us know what you would like to learn so we can better serve you.

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