Travelers Conservation Trust
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About Us

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers but borrowed from his children.”
~John James Audubon

About Us

Ecotourism is more than just visiting parks and natural areas. The Travelers Conservation Trust [TCT] was created by Wildland Adventures founder Kurt Kutay in 1986 as a non-profit, affiliate organization dedicated to educate travelers in responsible and sustainable tourism. From its inception, TCT has worked to form and strengthen links between environmentally concerned travelers and host-country grassroots conservation groups. Together we are determined to preserve natural areas and cultural heritage by actively involving travelers in the lives of indigenous communities worldwide.


Culturally and environmentally responsible tourism can be a powerful force of change for many people. Tourism can benefit local communities, increase goodwill between hosts and guests, and stimulate authentic cross-cultural interactions. Unfortunately, conventional tourism generally does not facilitate greater understanding and compassion. In many cases, local people do not benefit from increased revenue and only see their natural environment degraded after travelers go back home. The TCT is an ongoing project that intends to show travelers an alternative to conventional tourism, one that enhances and aids local cultures and environments, instead of destroying them.

The Travelers Conservation Trust identifies means by which travelers can contribute tangibly, directly and significantly to global environmental conservation and human welfare at a local level in less developed regions of the world. TCT’s strategy is to recognize and support community level projects and conservation organizations which promote environmental or cultural preservation. The goal being to demonstrate small-scale local level models of conservation and community development that not only educate travelers, but encourage action from private enterprise and wealthier funding agencies on a broader scale.


Because no one wants to damage the very environment they have traveled to see, the Travelers Conservation Trust encourages all travelers to follow the Travelers Code of Ethics. These guidelines will help you interact with nature responsibly, and enhance your experience while you travel.

 Aspire to invisibility

  • Move cautiously a quietly in natural areas so as not to disturb birds, animals and plants
  • Do not collect natural souvenirs. Respect the sanctity and integrity of ecosystems and the terrain on which you walk
  • Do not use recordings, decoys or loud noises to get a better view of birds or wildlife
  • Accept that campfires are inappropriate in areas where wood is scarce

 Leave no evidence of your visit and vanish
 without a trace

  • Do not leave litter, charcoal or footprints
  • Leave extra packaging for items such as film, cloths, toiletries, and foods, etc. at home
  • Do not distribute non-degradable, breakable gifts or items in non-degradable packaging
  • Use provided toilet facilities. If toilets are not available, carry a trowel to bury waste and burn toilet paper. Never dispose of human waste within 100 meters of water
  • Avoid consumption or purchase of animal or plant products harvested from unmanaged wild populations

  Respect local cultures

  • Employ local residents, not foreigners, as guides and outfitters whenever possible
  • Learn a little of the local language and your host staff’s names
  • Determine from your guide the proper local etiquette for greetings, eating, and culturally-appropriate way to reciprocate for local hospitality
  • Evaluated requests for gifts carefully. Understand the cultural context of gift giving. Only give gifts after a relationship has been established
  • Invite local people or guides to visit you in the United States only if you are fully prepared to pay all expenses and compensate your invitee’s family for loss of services
  • Take photographs within the guidelines suggested by your guide. Respect privacy requests. Compensation for appearances in your photographs may be a legitimate request
  • Don’t make promises you may not keep. Like sending photos
  • Purchase souvenirs close to their point of origin, from the original makers if possible. Don’t drive an excessively hard bargain. If moderate discussion does not derive what you consider a fair price on your terms, don’t buy
  • Modesty is always cross-culturally appropriate. Dress neatly and conservatively in your own cultural tradition
  • Don’t wear clothing or jewelry if you do not fully understand its cultural and ritual significance
  • Listen and learn. Provide a balance view of Western material culture and encourage people to appreciate their own cultures and environments
  • Don’t rely on local markets or village food supplies to outfit your trip. You can cause local inflation and food shortages


Unlike many other non-profit organizations TCT does not engage in general fund raising. Contributions to TCT come from Wildland Adventures and its travelers. Together thousands of dollars have been raised for local conservation groups.

TCT has identified local conservation organization in regions of the world Wildland Adventures operates tours. Participants of a Wildland Adventures tour are invited to become international members of a TCT identified organization. An optional, voluntary contribution is added to each travelers invoice. The contribution is donated, in its entirety, to the TCT identified organization. All donations are made in name of each client so travelers receive a newsletter published by the organization and stay involved after returning home.