We are thrilled to share that we have been selected as 1 of 3 finalists for the Experiential Tourism Category Eco Star Award! The winner will be announced at the Synergy Foundation gala in Victoria on November 9.

Kayaks on a Beach

What is an Eco Star Award?

The awards are hosted by Synergy Foundation as a way to recognize businesses, organizations and individuals on Vancouver Island making a difference with their environmental or social achievements.

The award we are a finalist for, Experiential Tourism, is for companies that are “leading the way in nature-based tourism and creating positive environmental and social impacts in their industry.”

Why we’ve been selected as a finalist:

We have always aimed to be not just a tour company, but an educational experience and impactful community members. As residents and guests on these lands, we’ve spent over 20 years connecting to and learning about this area by listening to the original and present stewards, the Nuu-chah-hulth-aht. Inspired by their generosity of knowledge, it’s been our mission to leave our guests feeling connected to and motivated to care for this place.

In the last two years specifically, we’ve taken a number of actions that qualified us for this award category, here’s a snapshot:

Ocean and Shoreline Clean-Ups

With our various collaborators, The Den, Ucluelet Aquarium, Cameron Ocean Adventures, Rotary club, Surfrider Pacific Rim, and the BC Marine Trail Network we host annual clean-ups from the Ucluelet Harbour to the surrounding islands. On our Broken Group Island Day Trip tours alone, we have removed over 300 KG of marine debris this year! Our regular clean-up efforts help us educate guests about plastic pollution prevention and preserve the natural beauty of Ucluelet. Preserving the natural beauty also helps keep our community well and maintain a positive destination reputation, which is important for our local, tourism-based economy.

We’ve also gone zero-waste on our tours and are always working on being as low waste as possible in our operations!

Wildlife Viewing Education

We are so fortunate to come across a plethora of wildlife from eagles to humpback whales on our tours. We not only model safe, legal and respectful wildlife viewing behaviour while on tour but we also educate our guests on the guidelines so when they’re out kayaking on their own they’ll know how to stay safe and minimize disturbance to wildlife.

Community Care

Getting the future generations equipped with the skills and gear needed to spend time on the water safely is very important to us and why we engage in youth programs. We also love collaborating with the Ucluelet Community Centre and serving on boards for organizations that are in need of our knowledge and skills.

We know we are stronger together and that’s why we are always happy to promote donations to the local environmental organizations and contribute gift certificates for fundraisers and auctions. With our pledge of donating 1% of Multi-Day Trip revenue we have supported Redd Fish Restoration Society’s kelp monitoring project and planted 520 trees with the Blue Green Planet Project.

As for our company ‘community,’ we work to close the pay gap by being an equal opportunity employer and paying the same wages without distinction of gender, race, religion or age. We are proud to have a team comprising 50% of women. From the start we have been Tlao-qui-aht Tribal Park Allies and all new staff receive cultural training from the Tseshaht Nation to learn and follow cultural protocols so our tours can be led with the highest amount of respect possible.

If you’d like to deep dive into all of our initiatives, you can learn more here.

We’d like to thank our partners and our team for making all of these initiatives possible and the Synergy Foundation for recognizing our combined efforts through this nomination.

Kayaks on a Beach

If you’re a tourism professional interested in attending the awards, the event will be held on November 9th at the Inn at Laurel Point in Victoria.

Best of luck to all the finalists!