Wild Florida Adventures awarded PLATINUM Level certification by the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (Florida SEE)

Brack Barker, owner of Wild Florida AdventuresFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism

      Gainesville, Florida (June 29, 2015) – Wild Florida Adventures, Williston, Florida, was awarded PLATINUM Level certification at the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (Florida SEE) annual meeting June 26-28th in Gainesville, FL. 

    Owned by certified Florida Master Naturalist, James “Brack” Barker, Wild Florida Adventures was presented with the highest certification level Florida SEE awards, by Certification Chairman, Pete Corradino, and Director of Operations for Everglades Day Safari.   Wild Florida Adventures is the first kayak and nature (day hike) guide to reach Platinum level.  They are also the first ecotour operator to seek certification under Florida SEE’s inaugural program in partnership with the Alachua County Visitors and Convention Bureau, more commonly referred to as Visit Gainesville.  The model program, enthusiastically initiated by John Pricher, Executive Director of Visit Gainesville, provides funding for certification and first year membership dues in Florida SEE for professional ecotourism providers in the area.  According to John, “it is in our best interest to support Florida SEE’s mission and encourage certification of our ecotourism providers as we continue to promote our area as one of the top ecotourism destinations in the State.”

      As the highest level that can be achieved in Florida SEE's four-tiered program, earning Platinum level means the provider met all core criteria, PLUS 90-100% of bonus criteria.  Wild Florida Adventures was awarded bonus points for a commitment to wildlife conservation and advocacy, community outreach, maintaining safety standards, and continued personal development in the professional paddle sports field.  In Brack’s words, “Kudos to Pete Corradino for walking me through the self-assessment process, interpreting the points, what was allowable to be included or not and all the follow up in assessing my business. The Florida Society of Ethical Ecotourism certification process is a great method to be assessed on how one operates and strives to be an ethical tour operator. I would highly recommend this group and their process of certification.”

    Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (Florida SEE) is dedicated to maintaining a professional code of ecotourism ethics in order to encourage an awareness and stewardship of Florida's natural and cultural heritage by: 1) Endorsing compliance with federal, state, and local laws regarding the protection of natural resources and customer safety; 2) Providing environmental education and awareness which encourage behaviors that contribute to the sustainability of Florida's natural ecosystems and resources; 3) Promoting professionalism and integrity within the ecotourism industry by providing and maintaining a certification recognition program for ecotour providers.  Founded in 2000, as the Society for Ethical Ecotourism in Southwest Florida, the non-profit educational organization expanded in 2011 into a statewide organization and launched a highly professional certification/recognition program for ecotour providers throughout Florida. Members champion the concept of sustainable and ethical ecotourism and include citizens, tour providers, tourism accommodations and planners, protected area managers, academics and students, regional tourism destination management organizations and travelers.  Monthly ecotour provider webinars are held to provide ongoing training to ecotourism professionals. Regional ecotourism meetings and “eco-traveler” programs are also sponsored across the state to bring the understandings of true ecotourism to Florida residents and visitors alike.  For more information on membership benefits of Florida SEE, or in becoming the next certified ecotour provider, visit http://www.floridasee.org

    Wild Florida Adventures strives to provide a unique learning experience to their customers or students, whether it is on the water kayaking, or walking the trails and woods, enjoying the flora and fauna of Florida. Using experiential and interpretative programs, we hope to provide visitors with a desire to seek out and to return to continue their exposure to Florida’s great cultural and natural wonders in an ethical and sustainable manner. http://www.wild-florida.com

    Visit Gainesville is the official tourism sales and marketing organization for Gainesville and Alachua County.  Gainesville is located in North Central Florida between two of Florida’s main thoroughfares, Interstate 75 and US Highway 441, is equidistant from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean just two hours north of Orlando and 1-1/2 hours south of Jacksonville.  See more at: http://www.visitgainesville.com