As soon as employees walked in the doors of Natural Habitat Adventures on the first Friday of 2019, their faces instantly reflected shock, surprise and awe. Employees rushed over to Nat Hab Founder and President Ben Bressler with hugs and tears. The air quickly became one of giddy childish excitement and extreme gratitude.
“It was an overwhelming ‘are-you-kidding-me?!?’ moment,” Adventure Concierge Kristyn Tobey recalled of the morning.
Nat Hab gifted 85 brand new, 7-speed Propella e-bikes to each office employee for the company’s 2018 holiday gift. The bikes, which retail for $1,299 each, can reach up to 18 mph in pedal assistance and have rechargeable electric batteries. Each bicycle, placed next to the respective employee’s workspace, was fitted with a celebratory red bow and hand-written note from Bressler.
“Ben did it again,” Court Whelan, director of sustainability and conservation travel, said. “We always want to be more sustainable, get out of our cars and enjoy our commute.”
Lines quickly formed at the office door as employees rushed outside to try their new bicycles. As Payroll & Financial Analyst Arthur Leforestier pulled up to work, where employees were riding new bikes left and right, he couldn’t believe his eyes. “I was in complete disbelief,” Leforestier said. “It was one of those moments when you’re not even thinking, because you’re so happy.”
Natural Habitat Adventures employees pride themselves on developing ecotourism industry firsts, so gifting each employee an e-bicycle in an effort to decrease their carbon footprint represents yet another innovative conservation initiative. As the world’s first 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company and the creator of the world’s first zero waste adventure, Natural Habitat Adventures is always striving to raise the bar on conservation and influence the travel industry.
Adventure Facilitator Davis English said the gesture displayed how dedicated the company is to sustainable travel on both a commercial level and within the company. “I was ecstatic,” English said. “It was all the more confirmation that I took the right job.”
In 2018, Nat Hab employees biked more than 4,500 miles to and from work, and for 2019, Nat Hab employees are hoping to collectively bike about 24,901 miles—the equivalent of biking around the circumference of planet Earth.
“Our goal is to encourage more and more of our staff to commute to work with as little impact on the planet as possible,” said Bressler. “But more than that, we saw the e-bikes as a fun idea that would challenge other companies—really big companies—to incorporate sustainability into everything they do, even their holiday gifts.”
Natural Habitat Adventures employees strive to be as environmentally conscious as possible, both in designing their trips and in their day-to-day rituals. The Green Team, comprised of 26 employees, works on everything from reducing office waste to eliminating plastic straws on trips in order to make all aspects of the company more sustainable.
Tobey says that being a part of that conservation crew is one of her favorite parts of working for Nat Hab. “Other jobs are just that—jobs. This is a family. This is a movement,” Tobey said.
This guest post was written by Courtney Nachlas, adventure communications coordinator at Natural Habitat Adventures.