Friday, March 05, 2010

Interview With Megan Epler Wood

Megan Epler Wood founded The International Ecotourism Society in 1990, the first and largest ecotourism NGO in the world and was its president for 12 years. Under her leadership, TIES developed a membership program in over 100 countries, publications, workshops and stakeholder meetings that reached tens of thousands, and an international communications program that reached millions.

Since 2003, Megan's firm EplerWood International has worked for the World Bank to develop sustainable tourism strategies for some of the poorest nations in the world, and for USAID - developing market-based ecotourism programs in biodiverse regions of Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, and El Salvador.

In the early 1980s, Epler Wood worked for the communications office of World Wildlife Fund-U.S. drawing attention to ground-breaking initiatives in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Subsequently, she worked as an independent television producer for the National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund-U.S., and the National Geographic Society. Her film, The Environmental Tourist, broadcast by the Turner Broadcasting Corporation and PBS in 1991, was the first major television documentary on ecotourism.

Epler Wood is a published author and editor of many titles, including Ecotourism; Principles, Practices and Policies in 2002 for the United Nations Environment Program. Her numerous academic papers investigate sustainable tourism markets, certification, economic growth, alleviation of poverty and environmental conservation.

In 2006, Epler Wood founded NativeEnergy Travel Offsets (NETO) with her business partner, Richard G. Edwards, as a subsidiary of NativeEnergy, a firm that provides carbon offsets using wind and other renewable energy sources. Dynamic growth in the marketplace and growing investment interest led NativeEnergy Travel Offsets to merge with its parent company NativeEnergy in December 2008 to create one dynamic firm. Edwards and Epler Wood are now shareholders in Native Energy. NETO developed a broad range of clients for NativeEnergy, including Hilton Hotels, Wyndham, American Express, Backroads, Ecoventura, the Sierra Club Outings program and National Wildlife Federation Expeditions among many others.

Megan Epler Wood has a bachelor of arts in international relations and communications from Sarah Lawrence College and a masters of science in wildlife biology from Iowa State University.

Watch her clips.

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