Making a Difference

At Wilderness Travel, we believe that tourism can be an extraordinary force for good in the world.

When you travel with Wilderness Travel, you can feel comfortable knowing that 75% of your travel dollars stay in the communities you are visiting—going to the guides, the locally owned hotels, the restaurants, and to the people and grassroots organizations who protect the surrounding ecosystems.

Traveling Responsibly

While we are acutely aware that there can be an unavoidable cultural and environmental footprint when traveling, we have always made it our mission to preserve and empower local cultures, safeguard native wildlife, and conserve the environments that we visit.

Going Carbon Neutral

We are proud to announce that in the past year we have been extremely proactive in limiting our environmental footprint—we are now offsetting all carbon emissions from our land-based trips.

Giving Back

We try to support a community or conservation project in each of the areas we run trips. Many of the efforts that we support were started by our own Trip Leaders and WT travelers. We encourage you to learn more about these great organizations below.

When travel is done thoughtfully and responsibly, it is a powerful force for good. When you travel with us, you will see how impactful that can be.

Current WT Philanthropy Projects

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American Himalayan Foundation

AHF began by providing scholarships for Sherpa children to attend schools built by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust foundation. Since then, AHF has grown to provide vital education, health care, and cultural and environmental preservation throughout the Himalayan region. Through the AHF, Wilderness Travel supports the world's highest dental clinic in Namche Bazaar, Nepal, the Charang Monastic School in Mustang, Nepal, and the STOP Girl Trafficking program, which finds and educates at-risk girls and their families to prevent the scourge of girl trafficking in Nepal. Our Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium in 2002 was a benefit for AHF.

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Tompkins Conservation

Tompkins Conservation was founded by conservation heroes Kris and Doug Tompkins, and works to create parklands, conserve biodiversity, restore damaged lands, reintroduce missing species, encourage environmental activism, and promote ecological agriculture. They have helped conserve more than 14.2 million acres in protected natural areas, embodied in 11 new national parks and four expanded national parks in Chile and Argentina. Kris was a Guest Speaker at our Patagonia: Epic Climbers and Conservationists special event in Patagonia in 2018, a benefit for the organization, and our trips visit parks they have established including Patagonia National Park and Iberá National Park.

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Conservation Travel Foundation

We work with our partners in Namibia and their innovative foundation to identify and support community-based development projects and conservation initiatives that sustain ecological integrity, protect biodiversity, support cultural heritage, and contribute to the social and economic well-being of rural communities. Our funding currently supports the Save the Rhino Trust and the Desert Lion Project. Our 2018 symposium, Namibia: A Vision for Wildlife, featured speakers from these organizations and provided support to them as well as the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and AfriCat.

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The Jane Goodall Institute

Founded by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, JGI is a global nonprofit that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. The institute is devoted to creating healthy ecosystems, promoting sustainable livelihoods and nurturing new generations of committed, active citizens around the world. Jane was a guest speaker at our first two Perspectives on East Africa symposiums in Kenya and Tanzania, in 1996 and 1999, and we have supported the institute and its work for many years.

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Wildlife Conservation Network

Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) is dedicated to protecting endangered species and preserving their natural habitats. They partner with independent, community-based conservationists around the world and provide them with the capital and tools they need to develop solutions for human-wildlife coexistence. Wilderness Travel particularly supports the work of Laurie Marker’s Cheetah Conservation Fund and Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s Save the Elephants through WCN. Laurie was a guest speaker at our Perspectives on Southern Africa symposium in 2007 and Iain was a guest speaker at our Perspectives on East Africa symposium in 2014. We also support the Spectacled Bear and Andean Cat projects in South America and the Saiga Antelope Project in Central Asia.

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Charles Darwin Foundation

The Charles Darwin Foundation is an international scientific organization which has been working in Galapagos since 1959 to provide scientific knowledge and assistance that will help to conserve the environment and biodiversity of the archipelago and that enables decision-makers to work towards a truly sustainable Galapagos. The CDF works closely with the Galapagos National Park and over one hundred scientists from around the world to focus on three areas: Invasive Species, Sustainability and Conservation Management.

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Galapagos Conservancy

The Galapagos Conservancy is dedicated exclusively to the long-term protection of the Galapagos Islands, and represents the largest source of private funding for Galapagos conservation. They are committed to strengthening local institutions and to creating local capacity to ensure long-term protection of the archipelago, by working in close partnership with the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Galapagos National Park, local municipalities in Galapagos, and other NGOs. Wilderness Travel is an active supporter of the Conservancy both directly and through our founding membership in the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association.

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World Monuments Fund

The World Monuments Fund is dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered works of art and architecture around the world. Since 1965, WMF has worked at more than 450 sites in over 80 countries, from preservation of the renowned stone carvings of Easter Island to Angkor’s jungle temples. Every two years, WMF issues its World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites, a global call to action on behalf of sites in need of immediate intervention. Wilderness Travel has been supporting this important work since 2002.

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Global Heritage Fund

The Global Heritage Fund’s mission is to protect, preserve and sustain the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world. Its goals are to preserve the physical evidence of cultural heritage, advance education about endangered heritage sites, advance community involvement and benefits from preservation, and to build a major international conservancy to save our global heritage. Wilderness Travel’s contributions have been dedicated the Banteay Chhmar (The Citadel of the Cats) project in Cambodia, whose Project Director, John Sanday, was a guest speaker at our Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium in 2002 and at The Arc of the Sacred symposium in Cambodia in 2015.

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One of the rare organizations that is actively and successfully working in Tibet, Machik is dedicated to developing new opportunities for education, capacity building and innovation on the Tibetan Plateau. Its work is organized around six program areas: The Chungba Primary School Project, Summer Enrichment Programs, Women’s Initiative, Youth Leadership, Social Entrepreneurship, and Governance. At the heart of the work are direct interventions—building an award-winning school, bringing clean energy and safe drinking water, establishing a library and an organic greenhouse, repairing roads and rebuilding homes, facilitating healthcare missions and caring for the elderly and the poor.

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Common Hope

The heart of Common Hope’s work in Guatemala is education. They provide the necessary resources for over 2,700 children to attend school each year in seventeen villages outside of Antigua and Guatemala City. They understand that education is about more than books and uniforms—a comprehensive approach is critical to help students and their families to reach their full potential. For this reason they also focus on health care, housing, and family development. Wilderness Travel supports Common Hope’s work in Guatemala, a country near to our hearts and site of our series of World of the Maya symposiums.

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The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation

The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the great alpinist Alex Lowe, by providing direction and financial support to sustainable, community-based humanitarian programs designed to help the people who live in remote regions of the world. Projects include the Khumbu Climbing School and the Magic Yeti Library. Co-founder Conrad Anker has been a guest speaker at Wilderness Travel’s Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium, Antarctica: In the Wake of the Great Explorers special event, and our 2018 Patagonia! Epic Climbers and Conservationists special event, and will be joining us again for the 2021 Eclipse in Antarctica. Conrad and Jennifer Lowe first conceived of the foundation while accompanying a Wilderness Travel Ultimate Everest trek.

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Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Climate Generation’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower people to engage in solutions to climate change. Building on the experience of its founder, Will Steger, polar explorer, science educator, and advocate, the foundation engages and empowers emerging youth leaders and educators across the Midwest and beyond for innovative climate change solutions. Will was a guest speaker on our Antarctic Odyssey special event in 2002 and our Arctic Odyssey event in 2006.

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Honnold Foundation

The Honnold Foundation envisions a world where all people have equal access to opportunity and live in balance with the environment. They promote solar as a proven, environmentally sound solution to global energy poverty, and award grants to bold and ethical organizations driving innovation in the solar industry. Started by the renowned climber Alex Honnold, star of the Academy Award winning film, Free Solo, Alex was a Guest Speaker at our 2018 Patagonia! Epic Climbers & Conservationists special event.

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Panthera is the only organization in the world devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems. Utilizing the expertise of the world’s premier cat biologists, Panthera develops and implements global strategies for the most imperiled large cats: tigers, lions, jaguars, snow leopards, cheetahs, pumas, and leopards. Dr. George Schaller, Vice President Emeritus at Panthera, was a Guest Speaker at our Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium in Nepal, for which he led a tiger watching trip in India.

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Adventure Travel Conservation Fund

The mission of the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF) is to directly fund local projects engaged in the conservation of unique natural and cultural resources of adventure travel destinations. The ATCF provides funding, connections, and an international spotlight on projects that protect the cultural and natural resources which underpin the adventure tourism industry. Wilderness Travel is a founding member of the organization, which in 2018 funded the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust, Water for Hwange, Oaxaca Sea Turtle Conservation, and other worthy projects.

Wilderness Travel is proud that many of our clients, trip leaders, and international partners play key roles in a variety of organizations, and we are pleased to support their efforts.

Hodari Scholars Foundation

Wilderness Travel supports the work of the Hodari Scholars Foundation, founded by WT traveler Lois Blalock, who traveled with us to Uganda, continued to travel to East Africa, and was inspired to create an organization to provide secondary school scholarships to Tanzanian girls who are eligible to continue their education, but don’t have the financial means to do so.

Nepal Program for Progress

Wilderness Travel supports the work of Nepal Program for Progress, founded by WT traveler Fran Gordon, who has traveled with us to the Himalayan region many times, and was inspired by her experience to create an organization that seeks to provide educational opportunities for children living in remote regions of Nepal.


Wilderness Travel trip leader Giuseppe Di Giorgio has been instrumental in creating Tulime, an Italian non-profit that promotes a culture of sharing and co-development, ecology, respect for human rights, and improvement in the conditions of people’s daily life, working in Tanzania, Uganda, and Nepal. Giuseppe leads our trips in Sicily and the Alps.

Himalayan Youth Foundation

Wilderness Travel trip leader Steve Webster is the Development Coordinator of the Himalayan Youth Foundation, which supports education projects for underprivileged children from remote regions of the Himalayas—projects which shelter and educate the children while providing food, clothing, love and medical care. Steve leads our trips in Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet.

Many of our generous travelers contribute to worthy organizations through their Wilderness Travel trips, including these:

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Wilderness Travel also supports and recommends organizations such as: