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The Window Seat Bloggers Hit The Road, er, The Rocks

Every so often it’s nice to get together with the people you work with…And that’s exactly what we did this month. The Window Seat bloggers took to the tarmac and we met inthe mile high city of Denver Colorado. Since you’re getting to know us on the blog each week I thought you might enjoy seeing us in our natural state at Red Rocks-visited by many a great performer-and now, visited by us.

It was a gorgeous spring evening at Red Rocks park, we were our own herd, kind of like the group of deer huddled together at the entrance.

In our “herd” pictured here we are holding up Charlie (from left to right): Genevieve, Tasha, Michelle, Cameron, Amy, Rachel, Jenn, Holly and Alison. (Despite what it may look like, I can assure you, no one was hurt in the making of this photograph!)

Spotlight on Mindy Bumgarner, Change Ambassador

Editors’ Note: To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, The Window Seat is devoting this week to exploring some of the world’s natural environments, hereby declaring this Nature Week. Through our Nature Week posts, we hope to inspire all travelers to get outside and interact with nature no matter where they happen to be. For more ideas, visit our collection of Children & Nature road trips and volunteer opportunities.

In May of 2007, Mindy Bumgarner from Chatham, Illinois, was the winner of a Change Ambassador grant through Travelocity’s TRAVEL FOR GOOD program. She went on her volunteer vacation in November of that year, and traveled to Wamba, Kenya through Earthwatch Institute to work on the Medicinal Plants and Community Water Health project. I wanted to profile Mindy in order to share with our readers her excellent work and to encourage you to get out there and volunteer in nature too.

What sparked your interest in taking a volunteer vacation?
I have done a lot of volunteer work in the past, especially in conservation, and when I found this trip, I knew it was something I really wanted to participate in.

How did you hear about Travelocity’s Change Ambassador program?
I was randomly searching Travelocity for a potential trip one day, when I found the Change Ambassador link and decided to see what it was.

How did you find out you had been awarded the grant?
I received a phone call first asking a few more questions, and at that point, knew I had a good chance because they were able to HEAR my excitement about this possibility. Then, about 2 weeks later, they called to say they had chosen me!

Mud-pies, Camp Fires, and Butterflies: Ingredients for Creating the Next Generation of Earth Stewards?

Editors’ Note: To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, The Window Seat is devoting this week to exploring some of the world’s natural environments, hereby declaring this Nature Week. Through our Nature Week posts, we hope to inspire all travelers to get outside and interact with nature no matter where they happen to be. For more ideas, visit our collection of Children & Nature road trips and volunteer opportunities.

I did Disney World. I was five. I remember the haunted house ride because I went on it with my grandpa and I worried the entire time that he would have a heart attack right there in the cart next to me. I remember being absolutely wrecked after running as fast as I could to chase down Goofy to get my picture taken with him only to have him disappear through an invisible door in some fake wall before my little legs could catch up to him. And that’s pretty much all I remember from the Magical Kingdom.

The truth is, the truly magical moments I remember from my childhood didn’t come from any sort of manufactured fun. My most vivid memory from that trip to Florida is climbing a ladder in an orange grove, picking an orange, and having the farmer squeeze the juice right there in front of me and tasting the best thing I’d tasted up to that point in my life. Later that night we wandered out back behind my Uncle Roger’s house to look for the crocodiles that supposedly lived in his pond. The thought of those crocs lurking in the waters made my heart race with a delightful terror the haunted house could never have. No animated characters or movie theater popcorn necessary to create those memories – just the pure beauty and thrill of nature.

When Animals Are Tourist Attractions

Editors’ Note: To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, The Window Seat is devoting this week to exploring some of the world’s natural environments, hereby declaring this Nature Week. Through our Nature Week posts, we hope to inspire all travelers to get outside and interact with nature no matter where they happen to be. For more ideas, visit our collection of Children & Nature road trips and volunteer opportunities.

It’s ironic. Animals like sea turtles, penguins, elephants, and reef fish draw tourists from all over the world, and in so doing, bring in so many well-intended gawkers like me that many of their habitats have been irreversibly changed.

When I was in St. John last year, after I finally figured out how to operate my snorkel breathing tube in a way in which I wasn’t involuntarily gargling salt water, an entire otherworld opened up. With sounds muffled and body buoyant, I wondered at the novelty of sensation with the keen awareness that I was the alien intruder into a bustling, day-glo colored society of gills that thrived completely oblivious of me, yet symbiotic. And I couldn’t help but notice that some of the corals beneath me had gone gray and abandoned.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member adman2u.

Who Will Protect America’s Beaches?

Editors’ Note: To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, The Window Seat is devoting this week to exploring some of the world’s natural environments, hereby declaring this Nature Week. Through our Nature Week posts, we hope to inspire all travelers to get outside and interact with nature no matter where they happen to be. For more ideas, visit our collection of Children & Nature road trips and volunteer opportunities.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. You may think you’ve frolicked on the best beaches of Panama City, Florida, but you haven’t. A long time ago my hometown parceled off a portion of our beaches and gave it over to the tourists who come every year with their boom boxes, cans of Natty Light, and coolers.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member wheretogonext.